Sleepover: The Anassa
A bed for the night in Cyprus
Sunday 21 November 2004
Asprokemnos Beach, one of the most beautiful bays on the Akamas peninsula with views of the unspoilt, and woefully under-visited, north coast of Cyprus. The nearest town is Polis, the nearest city Pafos - its bright lights and noisy Brits a merciful 35 kilometres away. The hotel has been carefully designed to resemble a Cypriot village, with white-washed walls, clay roof tiles and wooden shutters. Each room is like a cottage and instead of corridors there are lanes of bougainvillea between the rooms. If only real Cypriot villages were like this. The Anassa's interior cleverly reflects the varied cultural history of the Akamas peninsula - Greek motifs, Roman mosaics and Venetian frescos. Before the Anassa was built the owners commissioned an environmental report to see how they could minimise its impact on the bay.
The village theme is carried over into a central square in which there is a traditional church, St Athanasia's, with its own bell tower. It is open for services and can be hired for weddings. Water, a precious commodity on Cyprus, features strongly throughout. It is filtered and recycled, flowing not only through the 7,500 square metres of grounds but in channels along the lobby to keep the guests cool. The ultimate oasis.
The comfort factor
Oh yes indeed. The interior design company Wilson, of San Francisco, specified that the beds and sofas be hand-made in Cyprus and stuffed with down. Room service will make sure you never want to leave. The hotel's ethos is efficiency, quality food and romance.
Products by Bulgari and Acqua di Parma. The dressing gowns are so luxurious you'll be tempted to inquire about buying one. For the last word in pampering, try the hotel's Roman-style spa which offers thalassotherapy - that's baths prepared with algae and other elements from the sea. Other facilities include steam baths, a heated pool, a fitness room, squash court and hair salon.
The food and drink
There are three alfresco restaurants, Helios, Amphora and Pelago, all overlooking the bay. Helios is the most expensive à la carte restaurant and is only open for dinner. Pelagos is the cheapest and serves Mediterranean cuisine with a local flavour. There is also a gourmet dining room, Basiliko, decorated to resemble a vaulted monastery but very intimate. The lighting is all by candle and the seating is on large sofa-chairs.
The Anassa was built by the hugely wealthy Alecos Michaelides, a former foreign minister of the Republic of Cyprus. His children oversee the day-to-day running of the hotel. Their company, Thanos, named after Michaelides's son, has been running luxury hotels on Cyprus for 24 years now, catering mainly for visitors from the UK, Germany, France and Italy. The American-trained staff have just the right blend of friendliness and efficiency.
The Baths of Aphrodite are almost walking distance from the hotel. Aphrodite was born on Cyprus (allegedly) but is said to have enjoyed a watery romp with Akamas in this natural pool. Today, it is somewhat overrun by tourists but it's still worth a look.
There is access for disabled guests throughout. Children are welcome.
Get seven nights for the price of six from £82 per person per night, based on two sharing, with breakfast.
Anassa, PO Box 66006, 8830 Polis, Cyprus (00 357 26 888000; www.thanoshotels.com).
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