We started off our travelling year in 2011 in January with a trip to see some friends of ours in Cyprus. We had a great time staying in their villa for a while. We visited the fantastic Ttappis Taverna and our friends also took us to visit the north of the island where we saw the bombed out shells of the hotels in Famagusta and, in contrast, we visited the ruins at Salamis, amongst other ‘sights’. However, whilst we hugely enjoy spending time with our friends and socialising, we also wanted some ‘couple alone together’ time.
On a previous visit we had stayed at the Holiday Inn in Limassol with its private beach. We had found this to be OK but the town of Limassol itself seemed rather raucous to us, for example, seeing a local lad doing long wheelies at speed on a motorbike down the main drag gives a poor, but probably quite accurate, impression. Hence, this time, we then moved on to stay at the other side of the island, at the 5 star Aphrodite Hills Intercontinental Resort and Spa, near Paphos, which is described as an “opulent paradise”. We had a gorgeous suite, overlooking the deep azure sea & the clear blue sky, as we were blessed with lovely weather. Indeed, we were able to lay by the pool reading for hours & this in January! As it was the off-season, the resort was largely empty which suited us to perfection as it was extremely quiet and with no children shattering the tranquillity with screeches. I am not sure if that others staying during school holidays would find it as relaxing as we did. The service by the staff could not be faulted. All was as it should be for a five star Intercontinental.
Whilst staying there we visited places such as Petra tou Romiou (the birthplace of Aphrodite), so inspirational to many artists; Kolossi Castle; and we fed carob plants to the rather greedy camels in the camel park.
However, the hotel is located on a sprawling gated complex that includes villas and apartments, a ‘village square’, a delightful little chapel (complete with bell), an 18 hole golf course, the Annabel Croft tennis academy, a spa to die for, plus 15 different bars and restaurants, so there are plenty of options from which to choose without needing to venture off the complex. If you have any disabilities or impairments it is worth checking with the hotel first before booking as it is a large site and I am not sure that it is completely accessible.
Utilising the Retreat Spa, one of the top three Spas in Europe according to Conde Nast, I enjoyed a wonderful Yirri facial (an Aboriginal inspired pressure point facial & massage using Australian native ingredients) & we also had a couple’s session. For 1.5 hours I relaxed with an aromatherapy full body massage whilst my husband, Andrew, lay on the bed next to me having a Royal Thai massage. This was the first time that Andrew had ever had such an experience & afterwards I asked how it was for him. He was seriously unimpressed, saying that the masseuse had tried to press the whole weight of her body into him via her elbow, how his kidneys had been re-arranged by her, and that he was positive his liver was no longer in the correct position! I was in stitches! Poor Andrew.
After our stay in our ‘opulent paradise’ we moved on to stay for one night in Larnaca prior to our return to the UK on the same plane with our friends who were then off to Antigua. However, we didn’t think that there was much of interest in Larnaca. All in all, though, we had a supremely relaxing time and it was a very pleasant holiday – a great start to the year! We can certainly recommend the Aphrodite Hills Intercontinental Resort and Spa plus, of course, many thanks to our friends for their kind hospitality.