Anassa

Neo Chorio, Cyprus Book from Eur378

An ultra-luxe 5* beachside spa resort, which is also truly family-friendly: a place which - if you can afford it - warrants the trip alone
This is the best position on the island: a secluded (and protected) hillside spilling down to the blue waters of Latsi bay, with the unspoilt Akamas peninsula on your doorstep, and barely a building in sight. Lush flowering gardens leap up around you; every whitewashed balcony is draped in bougainvillea, every olive-shaded dinner table is lit with flickering candles.

As you'd expect in a resort of this size, there's a wealth of facilities, from an all-ages kids' club to an award-winning 'Thalassotherapy' spa, not to mention 2 pools, 4 restaurants and a purpose-built Orthodox chapel for private weddings. Best of all, the service is genuinely 5*, with a 1:1 staff-guest ratio, and concierges who can magic up a speedboat or an elusive medicine at a moment's notice.

If you can stir yourself, there are cruises to turtle beaches, jeep tours to cedar-shaded monasteries, catamarans to sail, wines to taste, waters to ski, even floodlit tennis courts. But chances are you'll do as we did: laze on the beach, pop a mask on to spot swarms of silvery fish, stir yourself for grilled sea bream at lunch, and again for raspberry cocktails at sunset, before tucking into exquisite French cuisine, or Cypriot mezes and dancing.

Highs

  • Seven days of this and you'll be truly decompressed; 14, and the real world may as well cease to exist
  • Bedrooms and suites are big and airy, with pampering marbled bathrooms and (in some cases) lofty sea views, plunge pools or both
  • You need feel no guilt at leaving your children in the kids club: besides an Aladdin's cave of toys, there's beach walks, stone painting, water polo and much more
  • The beach, just a few paces away, is long, safe and private, with warm clear waters and all manner of sailing craft (though if you're nit-picking, the sand is rather coarse - definitely not sandcastle material!)

Lows

  • There's no getting away from it: it's expensive, especially the meals and extras - but sometimes the best is simply worth paying for at any price
  • At 172 rooms it's far bigger than most i-escape places, but cleverly spread around the hillside so you don't see more than a slice of it at any one time
  • Cyprus is extremely hot in summer: come at Easter, May half-term or October if you can (but if not, there are lots of shady areas to escape to)
  • Couples in search of a quiet romantic break should try and avoid school holidays; even with a separate pool and family restaurant, it inevitably feels busy with children
  • At busy times, beach sunloungers are in high demand

Best time to go

We recommend visiting in spring or autumn if you can. April-May and Sept-Oct are our favourite months: nicely warm but not too hot, with the choice of wild flowers in spring or warmer seas in autumn. July and August can be very hot indeed (high 30's celsius, occasionally touching 40), but there's A/C in the rooms, parasols on the beach, and lots to do, especially for children. The sea is comfortably warm for swimming from May through to Nov, and fine for a shorter dip in April too. Plunge pools (in the suites) are heated year-round. Bear in mind that in March-April and Nov, some facilities may be closed, such as the open-air Pelagos restaurant.

Our top tips

  • Families should look out for occasional "Free Rooms for Children" offers, which effectively halve the price of your holiday.
  • Couples might want to come in March, when it's very quiet, with pleasantly warm weather and sometimes good deals at the spa.
  • Keen cyclists and runners should ask about their Active Holidays, usually in April, for "fitness fanatics who don't want to rough it". Split between Anassa and sister-hotel Almyra, the week includes scenic runs (up to 10km), outdoor swimming clinics (up to 3km) and guided cycle rides (up to 70km) - all under the watchful eye of Cypriot champion triathlete Kypros Nicolaou and nutritionist Stella Kakouri, who both speak excellent English. Parents need not worry: there's excellent childcare throughout (creche, babysitting etc) - and a spa treatment to reward you for your exertions!
  • Great for...

    Beach
    Family
    Great Outdoors
    Spa
    Wedding
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Luxury Resort
    • 172
    • 4 restaurants (some seasonal) + bars
    • All ages welcome
    • Closed: 9 Nov 2015 - 13 Mar 2016
    • Pools
    • Spa
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Concierge Service
    • Tennis Court
    • Bicycles Available
    • Powerboats + sailboats
    • Squash court
    Room:

    Rooms

    In accommodation as in everything, Anassa offers an almost bewildering choice: simple Garden-View Rooms, Studio Suites with private plunge pool, 2-bedroom family Suites sharing a living room, opulent 1-bedroom Suites with stunning sea views from Jacuzzi balconies and four-poster beds. There's even a 2-storey villa (Residence) packed with original art and antiques, to suit a large family travelling with nanny (and very deep pockets). See the full listings on our rates page, and let yourself be guided by the reservations staff, your budget and availability.

    Rooms are spread across the main hotel building (3 storeys), a couple of smaller annexes, and a rambling ‘village’ of one- and 2-storey residences spread across the 85,000 sq.m. campus, all linked by paved lanes (one of which is just wide enough for the buggy to deliver your bags). All are well screened by rampant foliage: vivid bougainvillea, yellow-and-purple latana bushes, silvery olive trees. Eastward buildings enjoy the most seclusion (as well as morning sun, of course); westward rooms are closest to the pools and beach (better for families, perhaps).

    All share the same classic Med-meets-colonial elegance. Expect parquet or marble floors, cream timbered ceilings (with fan), bamboo-and-wicker armchairs, louvred cupboards and shutters, voile curtains wafting in the sea breeze. Some have a marble fireplace, a vast mirror or a hand-painted dowry chest big enough for the bride to hide inside. Contemporary style seekers might find the décor a little passé (it does date from 1998); and, coming out of season, we found the tabletop lamps too feeble for after-dark reading. But there’s no doubting the quality of materials and generosity of space, especially in the marble-lined bathrooms (all of which, even in the cheapest rooms, have a tub and separate walk-in shower).

    In the main building, we liked the higher Studio Suites for couples (ask for 3rd floor if possible); while in the residences, the One-Bedroom Suite 73/74 (where we were lucky enough to stay) has uninterrupted sea views from its plunge pool and dining terrace, and masses of room for one or 2 children in its spacious sitting room. If money is no object, Adonis (a Presidential Suite) wowed us with its elevated position, giving great ocean views from the private Jacuzzi on the balcony, as well as from the indoor bathtub! Aphrodite is similar but faces the sunset instead of the sunrise.

    Features include:

    • Air conditioning
    • Bathrobes
    • Central heating
    • Cots Available
    • Dvd player
    • Extra beds
    • Fan
    • Fruit on arrival
    • Hairdryer
    • Internet access
    • Internet access
    • Minibar
    • Phone
    • Safe box
    • Satellite tv
    • Slippers
    • Terrace
    • Toiletries
    • Wifi internet
    • Wifi internet

    Eating

    From Cypriot mezes to French haute cuisine, by way of Mediterranean seafood grills, beach BBQs and a swim-up cocktail bar, Anassa has its dining options pretty well covered.

    Of the restaurants, Amphora is the casual, family friendly option, and this is where the sumptuous buffet breakfast is served. Banquet tables are piled high with plump peaches, grapes and plums, thick yoghurts with syrupy figs and pears, cold cuts of turkey and salami, squeaky halloumi and leaky brie. There are pots of jam (coconut and green peppercorn perhaps, or caramel and toffee for the kids) and delicate whorls of butter; breads and pastries of all shapes and sizes, glazed or seeded, fluffy or wholegrain; and a sideboard of cooked items, from pancake triangles with maple honey to scrambled eggs with salmon. The list is endless, but suffice to say you won’t go hungry, and if you have any sort of dietary wish, you will be catered for with a smile.

    The setting is pretty good, too: marble tables on a sea-facing patio fringed by crimson, pink and white geraniums, with silvery olive trees overhead and plaintive cats at your feet. Guests rock up in linen chemises and bejewelled flip-flops, or Maclaren buggies pushed by Bermuda-wearing dads toting tablets. It’s a laid-back and lovely start to the day.

    If you’re around for lunch, grab a poolside table at Pelagos for fresh fish straight from the lava stone grill: sea bream or bass perhaps, calamari or squid if you’re bold, topped up with salads and mezes, washed down with white xynisteri.

    Come dinner time, you can opt for the Amphora buffet again - a predictably lavish spread, though we found that some dishes had lost their freshness by the middle of the evening - or book a table at Helios for more upscale French Riviera cuisine. Half-board guests can choose from a set menu (with a certain degree of flexibility), while others have the freedom of the carte. Either way, expect some exciting flavours (John Dory with barley fennel ratatouille, frogs legs tempura with celery kimchee) among the Gallic flagships (steak tartare, foie gras, oysters, bouillabaisse, Perigord truffle risotto).

    But if you really want to woo someone in style, and hang the cost, adults-only Basiliko offers world-class Asian-Med fusion in a gorgeous candlelit vault, with just 12 tables and a wine list to make your eyes water.

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Children meals
    • Minibar
    • Restaurant
    • Room service
    • Vegetarian menu
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • The pools and the sea are the twin focuses of attention. Youngsters splash and make friends in the kids' pool, while grown-ups cool off between bronzing sessions in a 2-tier affair linked by spouting waterfalls. Down at the coarse-sand/fine-shingled beach (a minute’s walk away), sunloungers, swims and snorkelling are the order of the day. The sea is warm and clear, with swarms of darting fish around the rocky headland
    • On one side is the watersports centre (run by an outside company), offering kayaks, lasers, Dart16 & Funboat catamarans, windsurfers, banana rides and water-skiing lessons with engaging young instructors (mostly English). Their 300hp power boats can whisk you in 10 mins to the astonishing translucent waters of the Blue Lagoon, or to drop-offs and reefs for PADI-5* diving sessions
    • Back on dry land, hiking trails criss-cross the rugged, juniper-dotted bulk of the Akamas peninsula, passing the imposing ruins of a Byzantine monastery. Falcons wheel over sea-washed rocks, lizards scamper through prickly undergrowth, goats stare quizzically down at you from crags, and the millpond sea is broken only by the triangular wake of a passing speedboat. Routes, which range from 1 to 4 hours, start from the underwhelming grotto known as the Baths of Aphrodite, 2km from Anassa
    • At the resort you’ll find 2 floodlit tennis courts (coaching and racquets are available), a squash court and table tennis tables
    • Staff can also arrange golf (there are four 18-hole championship courses within an hour or so), jeep safaris into the Troodos Mountains, wine-tasting tours and indeed anything else that is humanly possible on Cyprus; but, as the owner told me rather wistfully, hardly anyone does. Frankly, I can’t really blame them

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Fishing
    • Golf
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Kayaking
    • Mountain biking
    • Private guided tours
    • Sailing
    • Scuba diving
    • Shopping / markets
    • Snorkelling
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Tennis coaching
    • Water-skiing
    • Windsurfing
    • Wine tasting
    • Yacht cruises

    Kids


    i-escape's Best for Kids Awards 2013
    Winner: Kids' Facilities category

    Children are actively welcomed and every conceivable provision is made for them - from a dedicated, always-warm kids' pool to healthy 'fruit smileys' served by extremely friendly waiters. Above all, the kids' club offers superlative child care from 4 months up to 17 years, divided into 5 age groups. Staff - all English speaking, all NVQ level 3 qualified - are kind and confidence-inspiring, with a ratio of 1:2 (infants) to 1:12 (teens). Charges are reasonable, but you must pre-book and pre-pay; please request on enquiry.

    Best for:

    All ages

    Family friendly accommodation:

    All the Studio Suites can take one extra bed or cot (free for under 12s). If you have 2 or 3 children look out for the occasional "Free Rooms for Children" offers (on all Studio Suites/Garden Studio Suites), which effectively halve the price of your holiday. Otherwise the Family Studio can take 2 extra beds, while the pricier 2-bedroom Suites give you separate bedrooms and an extra bathroom to play with - plus some have a private plunge pool. Some interconnect for extended families

    Babysitting:

    Babysitting with English-speaking staff is available day and night at a reasonable rate - though additional charges may apply after 10pm, or for 2 or more children

    Baby equipment:

    High chairs and cots are available, plus (with advance booking): potties, buggies, car seats, bottles/teats, sterilisers, baby walkers, baby bathtubs, nappies/swimming nappies, swimming aids, wipes, crayons, colouring books and DVDs in various languages. These can all be pre-booked, meaning that they will be in your room on arrival

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Creche/Kid's Club:

    The "Globetrotters" creche has a proper sleeping room, as well as all manner of books, toys, Brio train tracks, big Lego, dolls' houses and play kitchens. For older children, the "Adventurers", "Voyagers" and "Pioneers" clubs have a daily changing schedule of activities such as beach walks, stone painting, monkey football, water polo, origami, and shell and sand pictures. There's also a small playground, with its swings, slide, table tennis and climbing frame. The teens' club, open in July and August, offers movie nights, kayaking, air hockey, Wii, trips to bowling alleys and more.

    Children's meals:

    There are kids' menus at the family restaurant (Amphora , which offers early sittings) and at Meltemi Bar, including mini hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly soldiers, and fruit smileys - though we felt it would be nice to see some more unusual options there as well.

    Look out for "Free Half Board" offers whereby, if you book half board (or full board) for yourselves, your children will get upgraded to the same meal plan at no extra cost.

    Kids Activities on site:

    • All manner of watersports: banana boat rides, waterski lessons, sailing/windsurfing lessons, boat cruises
    • Full-size tennis courts (with tuition if required)
    • 14 acres grounds to explore
    • 4WD safari day out at Akamas National Park

    Families Should Know:

    • It can get very hot (up to 40 celsius) in midsummer
    • Kids' clubs are closed on Wednesdays, and the teens' club runs only in July and August

    Distances:

    • Airport: 1 hour
    • Hospital: 10 minutes
    • Shops: 5 minutes
    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    9/
    Rooms
    9/
    Food
    9/
    Service
    9/
    Value
    9/
    Overall

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