24-Hour Room Service: Le Meridien, Cyprus

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The Independent Travel

Mark Antony gave Cyprus to Cleopatra, a dame famed for her picky bathing routines. Little wonder, then, that the emphasis at this beach-side spa resort, 15km from the centre of Limassol, is on wallowing.

Mark Antony gave Cyprus to Cleopatra, a dame famed for her picky bathing routines. Little wonder, then, that the emphasis at this beach-side spa resort, 15km from the centre of Limassol, is on wallowing.

The menu of 125 treatments, carried out by a legion of 64 sweet-smelling therapists whose efforts will soon have you purring with pleasure, naturally includes a milk bath. The more adventurous, however, may plump for a solution of salt and magnesium chloride. But banish all thoughts of explosions during chemistry class - you'll take this bath in the first of four outdoor thalassotherapy pools, which aim to improve the skin, relax the muscles and ease the mind. Forget your tiresome life back home as you float on your back in these tiny lagoons tickled by bougainvillea, or let a water jet pummel your limbs while the scents from the herb garden flutter past your nose. Then head off to drip in the hammam.

The outdoor spaces are what make this resort truly memorable. Someone wisely cottoned on to the fact that being surrounded by pesky kids in water-wings is not everyone's idea of a relaxing holiday. Far from the family pool (and its entertainers) are two restful interconnecting freshwater lagoons. They are strictly for adults only, with plunging waterfalls and caves to swim through. Next to them is a large and tranquil seawater pool, which nudges the cinder-coloured beach.

The resort, which was recently restricted to residents only in order to improve privacy, is a relaxed affair. No eyebrows are raised if guests appear at reception in their robes.

For those less interested in indulging in heavenly pampering, there is a daily timetable of activities including yoga and salsa lessons, a gym, a water-sports centre and numerous land-based workouts - if you can really be bothered to be that energetic.

LOCATION

Le Meridien Spa and Resort, Old Road, CY-3308 Limassol, Cyprus (00 357 25 862000; www.lemeridien-cyprus.com).

Time to international airport: a 30-minute taxi drive from Larnaca, which costs 25 Cyprus pounds (£30) during the day and CY£27 (£32) at night. The resort offers a complimentary shuttle-bus service at regular intervals.

COMFORTABLE?

There are 329 rooms, garden villas and suites. The adults-only Royal Spa Wing includes six rooms with Jacuzzis just a short stagger from the bed. The two Presidential Suites have a Jacuzzi in the bathroom and a heated swimming pool and whirlpool bath on the terrace overlooking the sea (but avoid looking left at the cement factory). Guests in the elegant Palm Court Garden Suites share their own freshwater swimming pool. The rooms in the main building are decorated with Kenzo fabrics and have wooden parquet floors.

Freebies: A bottle of local wine, a fruit bowl and a bar of Crabtree & Evelyn soap. Suites have some of the Hermès range.

Keeping in touch: direct-dial phones and internet access.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Double rooms at Le Meridien start from CY£191 (£228); a one-bedroom Palm Court Garden Suite costs CY£432 (£515); and a Presidential Suite costs CY£1,281 (£1,528). Prices are per room and include breakfast. Planet Holidays (0870 066 0909; www.planet-holidays.net) is offering seven nights bed and breakfast in a twin inland-view room from £1,029 per person between 16 and 29 September, including return flights from Heathrow to Larnaca in Helios Plus class and private taxi-transfers to the hotel.

I'm not paying that: Cyprus Villages (00 357 24 332998; www.cyprusvillages.com.cy) has a range of traditional lodgings in villages across the island. Studios cost CY£18 (£21.50) per person per night and one-bedroom apartments cost CY£21 (£25), all of which include breakfast.

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