For the October half-term our Kids Collection Editor, Nadine, took her 2 children – Esme (10) and Cormac (6) – to Cyprus in search of winter sun.
We were excited to leave dreary old London for blue skies and seas and to discover a whole new country. We decided on a beach – mountain – beach structure for the week, which worked excellently, giving us contrast and insight into this hospitable land.
We flew in to Paphos, arriving at elegant Anassa on the NW coast late in the evening. The golf-cart ride to our room gave an impression of classically-inspired porticos, and distant swimming pools. Esme was tickled at the children’s slippers and we all slept soundly in great comfort. In the morning we opened the shutters of our Junior Suite for a breathtaking view across serene sparkling seas.
We ran to the restaurant for breakfast, exclaiming at bougainvillea-festooned buildings and scampering lizards, the kids eager to explore. But first, a veritable feast of a buffet, including local honey infused with nuts, and a whole table of pastries, much to Esme’s delight.
The day passed blissfully poolside. Cormac splashed about with pool toys in the shallow Mosaics pool, Esme preferred the main pool with its waterfall and swim-up bar. I reclined on a shaded double lounger, book in hand. Later, we ventured to the golden beach and had an ice cream. Played table tennis. Chilled. We had sundowner drinks on the terrace, then attacked the seafood buffet before wandered through the lit paths home.
Our next stop was dramatic Pissouri Bay, home to Columbia Beach Resort, a delightful all-suite affair designed, with 2 sensational swimming pools – the largest is an amazing 80m long! Both have semi-circular toddler pools attached, perfect for non-swimmers like Cormac.
Our Two-bedroom Bay View Suite had a lovely living area, long balcony, and 2 sleek marble bathrooms – but the kids were completely absorbed by a signature ‘cigar box’ of lighting controls.
There are also green lawns to play on, a Blue Flag beach (next time we’ll try the watersports), and delicious food in the Cypriot restaurant (one of 6 eateries, all looked amazing). Top tip: try the local white wine. Service was out of this world.
All too soon it was time to head an hour inland up through the arid hills, past vineyards and farms to the charming small town of Lofou, and stylish guesthouse, Apokryfo. Spread across a cluster of restored stone houses by renowned architect Vakis, and decorated with flair by his interiors queen, Diana, the guesthouse also has a small deep pool flanked by pergola and tables.
We stayed in the 3-storey Schoolmaster’s House which has delightful views across the town. Dinner on the atmospheric pool terrace was a wonderful tasting menu under a canopy of stars.
Next, further up into the cool pine-scented mountains, where twisting roads and long panoramas finally ended in spa village, Kalopanyiotis. There, boutique hotel Casale Panayiotis is the brainchild of John Papadouris, who made his fortune overseas, then used his wealth to revitalise his home village, doing up the houses, reviving traditional crafts and building an amazing spa with a snow room!
Hotel rooms are within 7 buildings across the town, our contemporary Junior Suite was in Maratho, near the main restaurant (there are 3 to choose from including a pizzeria).
We loved our time in the mountains, a cool contrast to the coast. It was a novelty to wander through village walkways, to pluck fruit in the extensive orchard, and to walk through golden leaved-trees to find the sulphur springs. The Byzantine Saint John Lampadisitis monastery was the highlight of my stay; Cormac’s was fishing in the trout stream and catching 2 whoppers.
A drive back down through historic villages brought us to our final stop, Almyra. This crowd-pleaser worked brilliantly for us: we had a swish Kyma suite overlooking the sea, and spent our days by the main pool which gently slopes to depth so good for all levels of swimmers.
One night there was a thunderstorm and the kids watched ET in the movie room; in the daytime we strolled along the promenade into Paphos to check out the fort.
They also enjoyed the playground, devouring books, the extremely well-run kids club, and made a den on our semi-private terrace.
Nadine’s travel adventures include an epic self-catering camping trip to Leningrad in 1973, dancing on a float in Sydney’s Mardi Gras, and running towards a bear in Yosemite National Park while 8 months pregnant. She adheres to a diet of an adventure every month and cartwheels wherever she goes, which by turns enchants and embarrasses her two children with whom travel adventures have become that much sweeter.