Thursday, April 21, 2011
WE HAVE JUST BEEN TO CYPRUS, part 2, Almyra
FRIENDLY SEAFRONT HAVEN
Almyra gazes over the Mediterranean and the fishing harbor of Paphos (Pafos), facing the sunset. Just one little sign marks “almyra” at the entrance to Poseidenos Avenue. And already you know it is modest and tasteful.
A Design Hotel, Almyra is unpretentious yet stylish, with those little features that show a designer was here making all this simplicity. Almyra is all about straight lines and Mediterranean flat roofs, comfort, oodles of light and blue sea views…
Friendly and hospitable to children, the hotel offers endless connecting rooms, kid’s menus, kid’s clubs and so on. But it also has enclaves for adults only. Next door lies sister hotel Annabelle, and between them they offer 8 restaurants. Close by are many more restaurants in the town and on the beachfront, as well as cafes and bars. Plus shops of course, with rather low prices. And then others with not such low prices…
Both hotels lie in gardens that stretch down to the beach walkway with their own beach restaurants and views over the blue bay and the castle, walking distance from the famous archaeological sites of Paphos.
A pleasant walking promenade lies between Almyra and the sea, leading round the bay to the port, castle and ruins. Almyra fronts a small sandy beach, nestled between rocks. But it has all the pools you need (four). Annabelle also has pretty lagoon pools and waterfalls.
The Almyra pool area lies on the beachfront. The main pool has a dark floor so it retains solar energy. All the swimming pools are heated at the moment except for the Infinity pool (SPA outdoor pool). This is a serene place for adult's only, with a view over the blue bay. The spa also has an indoor pool open for parents with small kids during the winter until 15:00 or when weather is chilly in spring and autumn till 13:00.
"The spa has an adults-only concept," explains hotel operations manager Michael V. Papaioannou. "But when the weather is not so good and kids are not so comfortable in the main outdoor pool we allow them to use the heated indoor pool at the Spa at certain times. But again this depends on weather conditions..."
The spa is also the place to get wonderful massages and other treatments - or have your hair done.
The top suites at Almyra are Kyma. We found our Kyma suite a perfect spot for listening to the sound of the waves or staring out to sea. Mesmerizing. The Kyma suite has a sofa just inside the wide glass frontage, well placed for sea gazing, and opens onto a small verandah with more seating, and a grass terrace with your own two sunbeds and parasols. Though you can’t see the path just below, you can sometimes hear voices above the sound of the waves.
The other special thing about a Kyma suite is the flat rooftop patio. You have your own patio for each suite, lying side by side with other private sitting areas on the rooftop. From there the view goes across the bay to the Paphos castle. Kyma suites can take one extra bed, or can interconnect to suit larger families.
If you don’t want kids as neighbours, you will enjoy an Atheon room – in a block of adults-only rooms (see our snapshot). Or if you do have young children, a Superior Seaview room offers 28 sqm of space and can interconnect with another room. There is no balcony - instead the balcony space is incorporated into the room.
Then again, for familes wanting private outdoor space you have a choice of a terrace room or a verandah room (28 sqm including the balcony).
To delight families there are loads of connecting rooms for family intimacy but always on request. All room types except Veranda Sea View and Aethon rooms interconnect. You might connect a terrace room with a junior suite for example.
The junior suite has a sofa bed and can accommodate a child in the extra bed and also a baby cot – in a total of 35 sqm. One-bedroom suites are 55 sqm including a separate lounge. The two-bedroom suite has most space – 73 sqm.
Wi-fi is complimentary at Almyra – good news for those who find it difficult to pay for something that these days seems as natural as air.
But don’t get stuck. We do recommend you go out and see the mosaics of the Unesco archaeological site. Even if just to see the flowers popping up between the ancient stones…
Paphos is an outpost of ancient Greece and Rome. Aphrodite goddess of love and beauty is said to have come out of the waters off Paphos – various spots on the coast claim her birth happened there. But more concrete is the Unesco site House of Mosaics, with the ruined villas of various noblemen spread out among grass and flowers, surviving as fallen columns, mazes of broken walls, and very beautiful mosaics. Albeit damaged by time the site is under constant renovation and reconstruction. In addition there are three museums in Paphos telling ancient tales.
Almyra was the first of the Thanos family hotels built in avant garde minimalist style. Next Thanos hotel was Annabelle, which moved out of minimalism to a more classical hotel style.
Annabelle was an immediate success and to date 80% of its guests are repeaters. So Thanos went a step further in the classical direction. They built Anassa – on its own beach a 40 minutes to one-hour drive over the mountains, beside the Akamas peninsula nature reserve. Not just classical but UBERclassical and luxurious. See our earlier blog.