An award winning, luxury resort in friendly Cyprus sounds perfect. Travel journalist David Powell experiences the five star facilities at the Aphrodite Hills Resort and Hotel near Paphos …..
The island of Cyprus, a favourite destination for UK holidaymakers, is approximately 4 hours flying time from the UK and here you’ll find a landscape of citrus and olive groves, pine forested mountains, a great climate and miles of sandy beaches and warm clear seas. Paphos, a charming harbour town on the west of the island and bordered by a lovely coastline is entwined with Greek mythology. On my arrival I easily navigated my way through the small airport and was soon in the Cyprus sunshine heading for Aphrodite Hills, a 15 minute journey by road. As the car swept up the driveway I realised this resort was something out of the ordinary.
The brochure says the Aphrodite Hills resort occupies 578 acres on two plateaux divided by a dramatic ravine. Put another way – it’s a fantastic view overlooking the exact spot where Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty, is said to have first set foot on dry land after emerging ‘from the foam of the sea’. The resort combines a 5 star InterContinental Hotel, The Retreat Spa, a Tennis Academy and a Championship Golf Course, all set amidst spectacular surroundings and a fascinating history. Strict environmental considerations devised during construction ensures that the now protected forest continues to surround the resort and the archeological and historic heritage of the site is maintained.
The luxurious, InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Hotel is situated in the heart of the resort with 290 rooms and suites, 183 deluxe rooms, 58 junior suites, a sprinkling of club deluxe rooms and one Presidential Suite.
Whilst no Presidents were visiting during my stay I felt in rather privileged company scanning the long list of celebrity guests who had stayed at the resort before me; James Blunt, Lord Sebastian Coe, Kenny Daglish, Mick Huchnall, Bryan Adams, Kelly Holmes, and Gillian Taylforth to name but a few.
If you’re into luxury and comfort, and let’s face it, who isn’t, this hotel is an ideal getaway for couples and families alike. Children are well catered for with a separate pool area and supervised kids club offering a list of planned activities every day. My room was described as a ‘standard room’, but hey, this is Aphrodite Hills standard! The room had a large sitting area, ample balcony with sea view, plenty of wardrobe space, a super bedroom area and a massive luxury bathroom with bath and a separate walk-in shower.
After a hard day spent relaxing around the extensive pool areas your thoughts will naturally turn to food and you won’t be disappointed at what’s on offer. There’s a wide choice and guests can choose from the informal poolside grill bar called Ifestos; fish and seafood at the Ithaki restaurant, enjoy all-day dining at the Eleonas restaurant, or perhaps afternoon tea and a snack in the Carob lounge. You can also choose Euro-Asian cuisine in the Leander restaurant or a more traditional Mediterranean experience in the award-winning Mesogios where delectable cuisine complemented by a wide selection of both local and international wines is on offer.
The hotel also offers leisure activities and sport, with a health and fitness centre, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, sauna and steam bath, massage treatments, personal training and fitness specialists and tennis courts.
Village Square Dining
Just a short walk from the hotel is the Village Square with some shops and a wide range of additional dining options. Built in the style of a traditional Cypriot village, the restaurants here offer a wide choice of menu along with a great ambience.
Award Winning Spa
The Retreat Spa is located on an elevated part of the resort with spectacular views from the outdoor pool. Close to the Village Square I found this to be a stylish, and elegant spa consisting of two levels with 27 treatment rooms offering a really extensive range of treatments, a private courtyard garden with paired lounges for privacy, two outdoor massage pavilions and a restaurant/juice bar for lunch and beverages. I took advantage of the Spa’s ‘thermae’ facilities which involves a series of heat rooms progressively increasing in temperature tempered with cooling hydro showers. This was followed with a light lunch and several hours relaxing at the rooftop pool – as they say in the Spa “tomorrow can wait …. today is yours”!
Year Round Golf
Everything about this resort is luxurious and the golf club is no exception. The 18 hole championship standard course is a perfect mix of challenging bunkers, manicured fairways and generous tiered greens. Beginners and experience golfers are welcomed and there’s a team of resident PGA qualified professionals on hand.