Travel Journalist, David Powell, visits the stunning island of Cyprus to report for Eurodestination where he finds not only a fabulous climate but also the St Raphael – an award winning, all inclusive 5 star Resort suitable for families and couples alike.

Cyprus is a friendly welcoming island with glorious sun-kissed beaches, stunning mountain scenery, a wealth of historical sites, shopping and an outstanding climate where you can expect sunshine from March through to late October, with June to September being really hot. Famous as the birthplace of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, Cyprus is a very popular destination for UK holidaymakers. English is widely spoken; the people are very friendly and even drive on the left, so you’ll immediately feel at ease.

St Raphael Resort, Limassol

Limassol is the island’s second largest town and boasts a 12km coastline. The St Raphael Resort is situated in the Amathus region on a beautiful sandy beach in a fabulous location. There are amazing sea views across the Marina and Bay and great inland views to the lower Troodos mountains. Limassol town is about 15 minutes by car and it’s about 5 to 10 minutes drive along the coast to the tourist area.

Amenities and Family Friendly Rooms

The main hotel has 272 bedrooms suitable for all budgets and all furnished to a very high standard. Each room has modern facilities and 90% have a sea view. The Executive wing of the hotel has 56 deluxe executive rooms which accommodate families and couples in modern, top of the range style! The pool level rooms mean you can literally pop out for a dip whilst the higher level rooms have extra large glass fronted balconies to maximise the stunning view. Beautifully designed and decorated to provide a relaxing ambience these rooms are particularly family friendly.

Each room can accommodate a family of 4 with room to spare! A good feature are the foldaway bunk beds in the hallway which can be separated from the main bedroom by a sliding door – perfect for a bit of parental privacy. The sea views are outstanding, and to watch the sun set from your balcony is a perfect way to end a relaxing day and set yourself up for the evening!

All Inclusive Features

I had a late flight and although not arriving at the resort until after 11pm I was able to enjoy a welcoming drink on arrival and a hot snack in the restaurant. This indicates the first class level of guest service you can expect from the hotel. Without exception, all the staff I came across were friendly, professional and attentive.

St Raphael call it ‘Ultra All Inclusive’ and all meals and snacks, drinks (unlimited domestic and selected imported brands), sports and entertainment are included in the package. I found plenty of choice making for an excellent dining experience. The Palladium offered themed buffet dinners with live entertainment and the Octagon was perfect for breakfast and the buffet lunch. The Phoenician offered a choice of Arabic and Mediterranean cuisine in lovely surroundings, whilst during the day it was just a short stroll from the pool and gardens to either the Splash Restaurant or Beach Bar for lunch and drinks.

Weddings

If a wedding is on your agenda then you may find the wedding service of interest. During my stay I met Gail and Mark from Yorkshire who got married right beside the beach on a lovely sunny afternoon. I was invited to join them on the Captain’s Terrace later in the evening and they were both very complimentary about the wedding service they had received from start to finish with a relaxing honeymoon ‘on tap’!

For all weddings the experienced team at the St Raphael work with the bride and groom, and to their budget, to ensure that the day really is special.

Children’s Facilities

On a family holiday, I know only too well that unless the children are kept well catered for and entertained then this will impact on the enjoyment of your holiday. The St Raphael facilities for children are excellent. There’s a fully supervised indoor mini-club and outdoor play area and a lovely pool area in front of the Executive Wing with a water slide feature. The Resorts Animation Team are trained to keep all ages entertained throughout the day and early evening. From 8pm to 9pm every night a children’s Disco was in full swing!

Breathtaking Views

The hotel has breathtaking panoramic views with plenty of places to sit and relax. The Captain’s Bar and Terrace, with its nautical theme, is open during the day and evening with a wide range of drinks and snacks to tempt you. Ice cream and coffee on the Terrace during the afternoon, exotic cocktails in the evening, all included.

Ok, after all this talk of food and drink, there’s a fully loaded gym right next to the Spa where you can work off a few pounds! The Spa area itself will be fully renovated over the winter months, scheduled to open in time for the 2011 season offering guests a complete Spa experience in superb surroundings

A complete range of water sports from Pedaloes to Jet Ski’s are also available on the beach operated by Crest on behalf of the Resort.
Location, Location!

The St Raphael Resort has won many travel trade awards over the last few years and from the moment I arrived I could see why. I was impressed with the large, colourful lobby and lounge areas creating a relaxed and welcoming environment. The two outdoor swimming pools and an outstanding 43,000 square metres of landscaped gardens set next to the sandy beach are ideal locations to relax and unwind with the family or as a couple – and where a drink is never too far away!

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