“Sex and the City Cyprus-style: an achingly hip waterfront hotel on the edge of buzzy Limassol”
Bedrooms and suites - 68 of them, spread over 7 floors - are cool white cocoons with dark-wood furnishings and sliding glass windows to sea-view balconies. It's worth paying extra for the front-facing rooms (but not on the 1st floor, as you'll get noise from the restaurant and bar): you can pool-watch from your balcony, or enjoy warm sunset hues and the twinkling lights of distant ships. All rooms are more than spacious enough for a couple on a short break, but if you want extra square footage (nearly double), the suites come with a sitting room and, in some cases, a second bathroom.
Everything is finished to exacting standards - solid cherry wardrobes, high-thread-count sheets, designer lamps in plastic-fibre egg or hourglass covers. We liked the ingenious partition wall with its rotating TV console, so you can watch from bed or sofa. And we loved the Molton Brown toiletries, not least the ziao jao shampoo, and the super-thick robes and towels. Grey netting curtains and blackout blinds let you block out all light, or just the fiercest rays, as you prefer. A white wavy-corrugated headboard lends texture and, on the bed, a plump carrot- or tomato-shaped cushion adds a welcome touch of humour.
Giovanni Caracciolo, the 2012-appointed chef, has transformed the menu into a delicate, Italian-based, food-as-art experience. Each dish is presented like a canvas, with swirling shapes, dots of colour, or perfectly arranged offcuts (crayfish pincers, basil leaves) to remind you what's inside. My aubergine soufflé came as a puck-sized disc, whose crisp skin revealed finely puréed eggplant and molten caprino cheese: smooth and comforting. The house salad of tender octopus chunks, snow-pea strips and cherry tomatoes looked as lovely as it tasted, though we found the diced potato a little overcooked.
There's a wide range of pasta starters - gorgonzola gnocchi, cod-filled tortelli, classic risotti - many of them using superb local fish, tomatoes, raisins and cheeses. Mains include a faultless chicken breast with pine kernels and fresh spinach, or a simpler seabass with chips on a tomato, basil and olive backdrop; and there's steamed salmon fillets for the figure conscious.
Desserts are a sweet and creamy experience, with the odd chocolate sculpture or a Jackson-Pollock-style coloured coulis to add visual clout. The tiramisu was one of the best I've tasted; the "revisited cannolo", with its all-chocolate cone and granular ricotta, too saccharine for my taste. Overall we felt that the chef showed great flair, with inventive menus and carefully sourced ingredients, but one or 2 dishes were not quite there yet. Given Jochen's eagle-eyed management, we expect they will be by the time you read this.
The breakfast buffet is wide ranging and healthy, with some unusual options to start the day. There are petite poached eggs and grilled cherry tomatoes (or cripsy bacon and hashbrowns if you prefer); multigrain bread and nutty parma ham; or an excellent diced peach and apple salad. Hiding behind your shades on the sea-facing terrace, while chilled tunes and white-linen clad staff waft about, it all feels very in keeping with the hotel's urban-Zen style.
The hotel accepts children of all ages, and during our stay we did meet a couple of families, both with toddler/infant-aged offspring. But in truth the style is more suited to couples sans kids (or taking a break from them).
Babies (0-1 years)
The Side View Suites can take an extra bed; all rooms can fit a baby cot.
Babysitting is available upon request.