Boutique hotel: a phrase that's become so elastic in definition that if it were stitched into underwear we'd find our drawers round our ankles. The Thalassa, while not quite displaying utter bare-faced cheek, is not, by the original definition of the concept, boutique.
It's not small or unique: it has 58 rooms and suites all decorated with identical colours and standard mid-range hotel furnishings. There are no special design features, save lilac-painted cornicing to ward off evil spirits (as Cypriot folklore goes) and you won't be overwhelmed by its architectural beauty: from the outside it looks more like a car park than a hotel.
But what the Thalassa is, however, is a smart, well-appointed and beautifully located hotel with a cracking spa. And like the crop of other (perhaps more genuine) boutique hotels that have grown up around Paphos in the past few years, affording the resort a certain glam buzz, this hotel does have top service (every guest is appointed a personal butler) and the enormous spa menu is designed for discerning types who come specifically for the spa. The hotel itself sits uncomfortably near the naff, bucket-and-spade resort of Coral Bay but makes up for it by having an entire promontory, jutting south into the Mediterranean, complete with sunset and sunrise sea views and an ancient archaeological site, all to itself.
Four categories of room, from standard doubles to Jacuzzi suites, each with private balcony, marble bathrooms, timber floors plus his and hers bathrooms in all but the standard double rooms. There are Krups espresso machines, mini-bars and a generous range of toiletries from the Greek homeopathic pharmacy Korres.
The food and drink
Of Thalassa's six restaurants and bars (some seasonal) including a lovely beachfront grill, we dined in the main restaurant, Ambrosia, which sits on a promontory. Good-quality buffet breakfast with plenty of local fresh fruit; dinner of local grilled fish, grilled lamb in refined Cypriot/Mediterranean style plus a bottle of impressive local white.
A small cinema/screening room, conference room, two swimming pools (indoor and out) and gym. The hotel's gardens step down to a secluded, serviced section of Coral Bay's seashore – a stellar stretch of sand by Cyprus's pebbly beach standards. The Anagenisis Spa menu has a homeopathic focus with spa cuisine available for those following a programme. Sodashi and Darphin products are used.
There is wheelchair access to all areas of the hotel. Only children over the age of 12 are welcome.
Double rooms cost from €290 (£230) per night, including breakfast.
Thalassa, Coral Bay, CY-8099 Paphos (00 357 26 881 500, thalassa.com.cy)
Sarah Barrell travelled as a guest of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (020-7569 8800; visitcyprus.com)