“Our favourite boutique guesthouse in Cyprus: a gorgeous, spoiling hideaway in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains”
They’re grouped around a bijou turquoise pool, with herb beds along one side, a pergola along the other, and a white wall at the end for occasional film screenings. A candlelit restaurant serves superb Cypriot dinners; a rooftop terrace offers bird's eye village views. The location may seem random – midway between sea and mountains, 30-45 mins from both – but don’t be put off. The village is charmingly peaceful: cobbled lanes, stone houses, 3 restaurants and a church, all set amid undulating vine terraces. There are 2 wineries within 10 mins, beaches and castles a little further, and a small but excellent spa with sauna and steam room in the basement.
- This is (as you may have gathered) our favourite hideaway in Cyprus: a place that works on every level, and relaxes you deeply – we loved it just as much on our 2017 return visit
- The spread of mezes which the beaming chef Eleftheria delivered for dinner was the tastiest Cypriot meal of our trip
- The Schoolmaster’s House would be great for a family of 4-6, and you could put the in-laws in the adjoining Gatehouse
- In the cooler months, the candlelit ambiance (with burning brazier and blankets for the courtyard) is truly romantic, especially after Loukas’ massage
- There’s plenty to do nearby – forest trails and waterfalls in Troodos, ancient ruins at Kourion, Crusader Castles at Kolossi and Limassol – but it’s also a sublime spot to do nothing at all
- Rates are a little higher than you might expect for the room size, but when you get there you’ll see why
- The pool is fairly small, unheated and enclosed; but there are loungers and it's perfect for cooling off in the baking Cypriot summer
- It’s not very toddler-friendly (though older children will be fine)
- It’s a shame the 2 separate houses don’t have their own pools – space precludes that – but they each have a shady courtyard for alfresco dining (and it’s only a short hop to the main pool)
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Guesthouse
- 7 rooms + 2 houses for 4-8
- Restaurant (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
The main hotel building holds charming rooms and suites, most overlook the pool, while slightly farther-afield are independent houses (for 4-6) and separate studio cottages (for 2-3). The houses have sitting rooms and kitchens, the cottages have sofabeds and kitchenettes, while the rooms and suites are cosier but have a fridge.
Interiors are the perfect melange of Cypriot vernacular architecture and stylish global accessories, courtesy of Diana’s Limassol-based showroom Thesis. Expect lofty lime-washed beams, white walls with classy black-framed prints, perhaps a Balinese four-poster bed or scallop-handled apothecary's chest. Our favourite touch was the little wooden bedside box: lift the lid to find a stylised room map with green buttons for each lamp.
Barefoot bliss bathrooms have white polished floors, square porcelain sinks (his and hers, in some rooms), sleek Laufen tubs or wetrooms, funky Grohe taps and - Diana's hallmark - candle-snuffing scissors bent form towel hooks.
Our favourite room for a couple was spacious studio Almond overlooking the pool, Provencal in style with pale palette and flagged floor. We also loved Olive, where we slept like a dream on the kingsize bed, with no sounds but the occasional hoot of an owl. For a couple with 1 or 2 children, stone cottage Sterna is ideal: it has a small courtyard, snug double bedroom and a lovely sitting room with kitchenette, balcony and 2 sofas.
As for the houses, Schoolmaster's is a gorgeous luxury escape for a large family, as we can testify on our 2017 revisit. With 3 bedrooms, an excellent kitchen, a wonderful high-vaulted sitting area and small courtyard, you can retreat here in the evenings, and head to the hotel for breakfast (included) and swims (the house lacks its own pool).
- Air conditioning
- CD player
- Central heating or wall-mounted heating
- Coffee / tea making
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Pool towels
- Satellite TV
Breakfast is a yummy spread of healthy delicacies enjoyed in the poolside sun beside fragrant camomile, sage and rosemary. We loved the homemade jams - fig, lemon, hawthorn; fruit salad with pomegranate seeds; medallions of fresh halloumi; sliced tomato and flavoursome lounta (pork loin) atop fluffy home-baked bread; the eggs cooked to order... all of it.
But dinner stole the show. The charmingly modest Eleftheria produced the most delicious mezes (mini-dishes) that we tasted on our trip. Ramekins of garlic-beetroot dip and smoky pureed aubergine, crisp-fried anari cheese still soft in the centre, slow-cooked kleftiko lamb with caramelised onions which fell apart in the fingers... She used to be the chambermaid until, one day, Vakis asked her to deputise for his highly qualified but underwhelming chef - and the rest is history. The coup de grace were some syrupy, hot loukoumades (pastry puff balls) offset by mastic ice cream - think slightly bitter vanilla - and a shot of signature herb liqueur (behind which lies another story).
We urge you to prebook half-board at a reduced rate , unless you're in one of the houses and set on self-catering. For more variety, head to one of 3 local restaurants, or to Limassol (30 mins) for a choice of international and Cypriot fare.
- Children's meals
- Coffee / tea making
- Organic produce
- Restaurants nearby
You're in the undulating, vine-rich foothills of the Troodos Mountains, between the pine-forested summits of Chionistra and buzzy Limassol on the coast:
- Upwards takes you past the mountain town of Platres for signed trails and mountain-biking tracks to hidden waterfalls, graceful Venetian bridges and imposing Orthodox monasteries, such as Trooditissa
- Downhill brings you to Kolossi, where the Crusaders built a chunky castle; it combines nicely with the Greco-Roman ruins at Kourion
- A little further west is Pissouri, one of Cyprus' nicer beaches (with mixed sand and pebbles); and beyond that the iconic sea-washed rock where Aphrodite herself emerged from the waves
- Staying in the foothills, Ayia Mavri winery (5 mins' drive away, in Koilani) has great muscadet, while Vlassides offers tasting tours
- Lofou itself is a pretty, sleepy village of 3 restaurants, 1 church and countless cats; most of its 2,000 inhabitants left when the local sherry market collapsed, but its handsome stone buildings are now being restored as summer houses. After a stroll retire to the small basement spa
- If you tire of village life, head to Limassol for some beach-and-bar action; or prebook Vakis' skippered yacht for a day cruise to Lady's Mile beach, with picnic and watersports
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Cooking classes
- Historical sites
- Mountain biking
- Museums / galleries
- Wine tasting
This is a good option for older or more adventurous children who like hiking, exploring villages and valleys, and returning to a comfy house or cottage with a (shared, unheated) swimming pool on tap. But don't expect any organised family activities at the hotel. There are chunky discounts for longer stays.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
The three-storey Schoolmaster's House is perfect for a family of 4-6, with 3 bedrooms (a double and 2 twins), generous living spaces, and a well-equipped kitchen. If there's more of you, book bijou cottage Gatehouse as well, as both can share the courtyard. Archontiko is slightly smaller (2 bedrooms, a double and twin, plus a double sofabed) and cheaper. Both have private courtyards, flatscreen TV/DVD, and board games (including backgammon) for the evenings
Staples such as pasta can be cooked to order if your child isn't up for sampling the excellent Cypriot fare in the restaurant (as ours wasn't)
Kids Activities on site:
- Shared swimming pool
- Board games (including backgammon)
Kids Activities nearby:
- A great water park at Fasouri outside Limassol (open May-October), and another in Paphos
- There's also a zoo at Limassol
Families Should Know:
There are plenty of steps and levels for very small ones to navigate
- Airport: 60 mins (Paphos)
- Hospital: 30 mins (Limassol)
- Beach: 30 mins (Kourion)