Sitting atop sloping green hills that gently meet the sandy beach at its base, the stoic facade of the Anassa gives the impression that the hotel has been here a long while. So comfortable is it in its surroundings that I'm surprised to learn it only celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. Just an hour’s drive north of Paphos and east of the vast Akamas National Park, the grandiose structure looks proudly across Chrysochu Bay, away from the hectic bustle of Cyprus’s popular tourist hotspots. The elegant and airy reception that welcomes us is the perfect precursor for our journey through corridors with high arched ceilings that wend their way through the main building, before leading us out onto twirling pathways flanked by tall Cypress trees and lined with sweetly scented jasmine and honeysuckle.
The hotel’s rooms, suites, and villas disappear off in various directions. We’re staying in one of the garden studio suites — it’s delightfully spacious with gorgeous high ceilings that lend an airy feel. Through the terrace doors, a calming sea view unfurls before us. The suite boasts its own private pool too, nestled within the surrounding green foliage.
“He only lives, who living enjoys life” reads a card placed alongside a purple flower on the sideboard quoting Greek playwright Menander. Its meaning is apt: you're only really living if you are making the most of life’s pleasures. Here at Anassa, that means designing a holiday that is as active or as relaxed as you like — be it making pottery, wine tasting, taking a day trip to the nearby Blue Lagoon, or having personal training sessions in the hotel's well-equipped gym.
As if the setting couldn’t make us any more chilled, my partner and I indulge in a couple’s treatment at the spa. Our bodies are buffed with Anassa’s signature body scrub before a full body massage slowly kneads the nine-to-five routine of our busy London life out of our tense muscles. Next, we are lathered with a body balm, and a Glow Giving Facial is the finishing touch. As glow-ups go, this one is the queen bee.
Later that evening, we take in the sunset in the Armonia Bar, where bar manager Takis Antoniou talks us through the cocktail menu he devised. In common with many of the team here, Takis has been part of the hotel since it was first opened by Natasha Michaelides, the corporate affairs and communications director and daughter of Alecos Michaelides, who founded the hotel group. Takis is delighted to meet us — two tequila lovers — so he wastes no time in introducing us to his Cypriot twist on the classic margarita, which we joyfully dive into.
Dining at Anassa is equally elevated. Basiliko, an intimate restaurant located in the vaults of the hotel, offers a tantalizing menu blending Asian inspirations with Mediterranean accents that has been impeccably designed by executive chef David Goodridge. Alaskan king crab tempura and wild Sicilian prawn ceviche prepare our taste buds for mains of Atlantic Black Cod Miso-Yaki and home- smoked Beef Tataki.
Breakfast presents us with an unrivalled buffet, one of the best I've ever enjoyed at a hotel. It'd be rude not to indulge! We spend our last day by the Meltemi Bar pool before taking a walk along the bay.
Further along the beach from Anassa are the mythical Baths of Aphrodite, a small grotto beneath an old fig tree that is believed to be where the goddess of sexual love and beauty bathed and where she met her lover, Adonis. It seems that the ancient aura of the island’s most famous resident continues to radiate out from the Baths, through their surroundings and into present-day Anassa. Bliss.
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