Casale Panayiotis

Kalopanayiotis, Cyprus Book from Book from £105 per night

A boutique spa hotel uniquely created across several restored houses in a historic village high in the Troodos Mountains
As we travelled ever upwards and onwards from the coast, through vineyards and forests, along increasingly twisting roads, authentic Cyprus came into view. And at last, our driver indicated we had arrived - to a unique set-up: a boutique hotel constructed across 7 dwellings in a historic village. Cascading down the hillside, with long views down the Setrachos valley, Kalopanayiotis has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries for its healing sulphur springs and the fascinating Byzantine Saint John Lampadisitis monastery. After years working abroad, John Papadouris returned to his village to find it neglected and run-down. Investing his own money, he embarked on an ambitious restoration project, not just renewing crumbling buildings, but also cultivating local produce and resurrecting cottage craft industries, thus preserving mountain culture. And creating a hotel along the way as a means of achieving all of the above.

Although more is in prospect (including a mountaintop winery and swimming pool), the results to date are wonderful: 41 immaculate hotel rooms, a choice of restaurants serving traditional Cypriot fare (and more universal options in a third), a stunning spa, and activities offering an insight into local life. After two hours strolling the village we felt at home, after two days we wanted to make it our home.

Highs

  • We loved exploring the tranquil village and its valley, along cobbled pathways, alleyways and over bridges; the views are high and long
  • Unique personal restoration project by the owner and his family who are still very much involved, which imbues the whole with a delightful sense of community
  • Outstanding spa with treatment rooms, a snow cave, hydrotherapy pool, sauna and steam
  • A good range of accommodation within 7 different 'houses' throughout the village, from studios to 2-bedroom suites, so solo travellers, couples and families are all catered for
  • Smiley, friendly and unpretentious service

Lows

  • It's an hour from the coast and those hair-pin bends are not for the faint-hearted (you may prefer to take a transfer as we did)
  • Some may not go for the diffuse nature of the hotel, spread through the village, and prefer a more compact set up
  • Some steep sections within the village but there's a mountain elevator to take you to the upper sections
  • The only swimming pool is in the spa and under 16s are not permitted, an outdoor pool is planned for 2019

Best time to go

Each season has its undoubted charms. Springtime sees a profusion of flowers and greenery on the slopes. Summers in the hills have more refreshing temperatures than those on the coast. Or walk through the valley in glorious autumn colour as we did, though temperatures do begin to plummet in the evenings. Come in winter for robust hiking and skiing on Mount Olympus.

Our top tips

Don't miss the monks' tour of the icon museum and UNESCO-listed Saint John Lampadisitis monastery, which has three distinct styles of fresco and an extraordinary history. We found both absolutely fascinating and the monks are so knowledgeable and friendly.

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Spa
  • Boutique hotel
  • 41
  • Restaurants on site
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Stay in one of seven dwellings spread throughout the village; most are restored houses, a couple are new-builds. Two are on the upper village road, the rest dotted down the slopes of Kalopanayiotis to Byzantino restaurant. Choose between four categories of rooms and suites, varying from open-plan Standard Studios (those below Byzantino restaurant have cute canopy beds on mezzanine floors) to Junior Suites with a private balcony or courtyard, and 2-bedroom Family Suites (in Heliako in the old town).

We stayed in Maratho (named for wild fennel), beside reception, most of whose rooms have a flower-studded courtyard or balcony, fireplace and beamed cane ceilings. Our Junior Suite had views our private balcony across rooftops to the valley beyond and a sleek contemporary shower bathroom. Details in all rooms include a nod to traditional village crafts as seen in copper bowls, carved figurines, or locally woven bedspreads.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

As befits the village set-up, eateries are spread throughout Kalopanayiotis; you'll need to walk to eat at some point, wherever you're staying.

Byzantino, centrally positioned next to the 'village square', will be your first stop as the buffet breakfast is on its lower floor in the Troullino dining space. This features continental fare such as cold cuts, cheeses, yoghurts, hot dishes and baked pastries, all with a Cypriot slant (real honeycomb!), much of it local; we ate our fill on the pretty terrace enjoying those valley views. Above is a cafe for lighter lunches (we partook the goats cheese and pomegranate salad), and adjacent restaurant for traditional dishes; from the three-course menu we liked the simply grilled chicken and smoky aubergine sides chosen from the buffet. An a la carte menu is available too.

Alternatives include elegant Loutraki grill restaurant on the upper valley road, which has great panoramic vistas of the steep-sided mountains. Further along, we had a family meal in Pantheon which serves crowd-pleasing fare such as burgers, salads, ice cream and pastas. For special celebrations you can hire out the atmospheric wine cellar and cocktail bar Cava, which has an underground dining hall.

Other eateries within the village which are not part of the hotel include Theoxenia Restaurant, Palio Cinema and Tsimpimatouthkia.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • This is a historic spa village. Pay homage in the excellent Myrianthousa Spa which has wonderful valley views, 7 treatment rooms, hydrotherapy pool and foot baths
  • Take a guided walk round the village and valley for the ancient watermill, sulphur springs, the breathtaking UNESCO-listed St John Lampadistis monastery (a venerable place of pilgrimage since the 10th-century) and icon museum
  • This is a great base for discovering the Troodos Mountains. Take a picnic and strike out on foot or bike for Mount Olympus, Cyprus' highest peak (1952m), with a ski resort on its northern slopes; look for the shy sheep, moufflon or agrino, unique to Cyprus
  • Discover local foodie culture via a cooking class, a halloumi-making workshop, or pick your own in the orchards and fish for trout, meet local wine-makers

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Abseiling
  • Bee keeping talks
  • Cooking classes
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Quad biking
  • Rock climbing
  • Traditional cultures
  • Trekking
  • Well being
  • Wine tasting

Kids

This is a great option for families with older children who don't want to a beach resort to be their only Cyprus experience. Here you get an insight into the history and culture of the mountain villages, there are interesting activities including bee keeping and trout fishing, and kids will enjoy the novelty of roaming around a village rather than being in a conventional hotel. Baby cots are free of charge, staff are unfailingly nice, and there are different accommodation options for every size and shape of family. And a swimming pool is promised for 2019!

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The 2-bedroom Family Suites are best; smaller families can have an extra bed put in to a 1-bedroom suite. In Loutraki, 4 Superior Studios can interconnect to make 2 family suites. Some of the Superior Studios can take a baby cot. We suggest the lower houses (Maratho, Heliako, Ayia Marina) are slightly better than the ones higher (Loutraki, Helianthus) in the village for families as then you're closer to the main restaurant for breakfast

Baby equipment:

  • High chairs
  • Baby cots

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

Children's meals:

A kids menu is available in both Byzantino and Pantheon; our kids had burger and chips, ice cream and brownies in the latter and loved sitting out on the terrace overlooking the town

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Mountain biking
  • Geo trekking
  • Rock climbing
  • Abseiling
  • Hiking
  • Visit the beekeeper
  • The monastery and icon museum
  • Basket weaving and other local cottage industries

Families Should Know:

This is a mountain village so be prepared for lots of steps and some uneven surfaces. There is a road connecting through the village so a stroller will be fine, but you may be taking the long way round rather than cutting through via walkways consequently. Note that no babysitting is available. And that the spa pool is only open to those over 16 years of age

Distances:

  • Airport: 90 minutes (Larnaca)
  • Hospital: 60 minutes (Nicosia)
  • Shops: 2 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

{{ review.rating }}/10, {{ review.firstName }}Anonymous{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},

Rates for Casale Panayiotis