Cyprus rises elegantly from the Mediterranean Sea, a mountainous island framed in dramatic sea-carved cliffs and sandy beaches. Its premier luxury resort, the 177-room Anassa, overlooks the blue sea from a rocky perch on the Akamas Peninsula, above Chrysochou Bay.
The pine forests, mountainsides and miles of coastal cliffs and coves
of the Akamas Peninsula are largely protected as a nature reserve, and the owners of Anassa went to great efforts to respect that landscape, even to limiting all the resort's landscaping to native plants.
The series of low whitewashed, tile-roofed buildings connected by walkways look at home in the natural landscape, and this sense of place continued as we stepped inside the stylish entrance to find Roman mosaics, classical arches, Greek decorative motifs and Venetian frescoes – all part of Cyprus’s rich artistic and historic heritage.
These classical touches play well with the cool and creamy modern Mediterranean style in the spacious and airy guest rooms. Pale tones of off-white with touches of peach, aqua and coral are visually joined with the sea and gardens through large windows. Marble floors and un-fussy furnishings of natural wood, rattan, stone and wrought iron complete the air of serene luxury.
Even the smallest, the Garden View rooms and Studio Suites (which is where we stayed) have a sitting area, marble bathroom and private balcony or terrace with teak tables and chairs. Furnishings are handmade by local craftsmen.
Larger suites have terraces with private pools, and three Presidential Suites also have outdoor whirlpool tubs overlooking the sea. In addition to the comfortable sofa and overstuffed chairs, larger suites have a marble dining table for in-room entertaining.
The two-story Alexandros Residence features a full-sized swimming pool that is heated in the winter, and a study/library and kitchenette. The villa is furnished in antiques and original paintings, and each of the two bedrooms has its own balcony.
True to its concept as a Cypriot village, the resort sits around a town square, with a chapel, whose bell-tower is the tallest structure on the property. Like the lodgings, these are built of native materials, in local architectural styles. In summer, weekly Cyprus evenings here include a buffet of local foods, crafts sales, traditional dancing and music
Dining, too, reflects Cyprus’s traditions, offering the best of new Cyprus cuisine. Menus in all four restaurants are firmly based on seasonal produce from local farms and herb gardens and on locally-caught seafood. All the restaurants feature vegetarian dishes.
A Roman-themed Thalassa Spa offers a complete range of health and beauty experiences using Organic Pharmacy’s 100% chemical-free products. Thalassotherapy combines seawater, algae, sea mud, salt, seaweed, even the moisture-rich coastal climate for health and beauty. The spa swimming pool, thalassotherapy pool, Jacuzzi, steam and sauna rooms are for the use of all hotel guests, as is the gym.
A children's pool, club and special menus follow Anassa’s philosophy that the best vacations are family vacations. The Smiling Dolphin Kiddies Club, open April-October and at the Christmas holidays, provides painting, water sports, cooking and other activities for ages 4-11. Babysitting is available.
Watersports -- parasailing, canoeing, windsurfing, kite surfing, jet skiing and sailing -- are arranged through the water sports center at Asprokremnos Beach, just below the resort and considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Cyprus. In the summer the hotel provides beach chairs and umbrellas. Cyprus has exceptional diving, and Anassa’s diving center has boats for rapid transport to the caves and reefs.
Anassa’s high season rates for rooms begin at $300 a night for two, and suites range from $425 to $2225. The Presidential Suites are $2800 to $6550. (Telephone: 800-323-7500, Fax: 357-235-1918). Cyprus Airways and British Airways fly daily between London and Cyprus; British Airways connects daily from US gateways to London.