Anassa Hotel. All photos by NHYM Copyright 2016.
For my mother’s birthday this year, I decided to take her on holiday somewhere warm in April. I called up Scott Dunn, my trusted travel advisor, with my list of requests: 1) Somewhere warm 2) within 5 hours of London (I don’t need any long haul and jet-lag battles for a while) 3) kid friendly (I was taking them along after all) and granny-friendly 4) A nice spa 5) A beautiful hotel with sea views.
Views from the main pool. NHYM 2016.
Immediately, they wrote back to me recommending Anassa, a five star, LWH (leading hotels of the world) hotel in Cyprus. I had never thought of Cyprus as a destination, but I had heard about Anassa from a few friends who had been, and had thought quite highly of it.
View from our room. NHYM 2016.
We arrived late night (with Sleazyjet, I know, but it had the best departure times) and woke up to a very beautiful view, as seen above and below. We had interconnecting suites, one Junior suite, and one regular studio suite, which worked very well for a family. The rooms were spacious, with neutral tones and had wonderful sea views:
View from our room. Amazing. NHYM 2016.
The only minor gripe I had with our room was that the pillows were on the hard side. (Who knew I would ever need a pillow menu to rectify this). The service in the room was very good, with two services per day. The rooms are not heated at this time of year, but heaters were brought to our room as soon as we mentioned this. When one of us forgot our toothbrush, a toothbrush was sent right away, indicating true 5 star service (which also came with expensive ironing services, but there you go, you pay for what you get).
Breakfast Terrace. NHYM 2016.
The first day there, it was too cold to eat outside so we had to sit inside, next to screeching children sitting next to us and I did wonder whether this hotel was a little too ‘child friendly,’ but the next day, the terrace was open and the setting was absolutely gorgeous. Any screaming children were soon forgotten when faced with this view. The breakfast buffet was very good and offered a nice variety of fruits, pastries, omelettes etc… The cappuccino was good, which it sometimes isn’t – I was recently at a 5 star hotel that served machine-made cappuccinos – huge let-down.
The main hotel view from the grass below the main pool. NHYM 2016.
The hotel grounds are really beautiful, from the inner courtyard, the chapel and the amazing views from anywhere in the hotel. It is not a small, boutiquey, trendy type hotel (if you’re looking for that, it isn’t it), but it is bold, big and beautiful. Such a large hotel could be tacky and resort-y, but Anassa manages to remain beautiful and has lovely Cypriot touches.
Inner Courtyard. NHYM 2016.
There is even a Chapel where baptisms, marriages and Easter mass take place.
Anassa Chapel 2016.
The location and the views are truly beautiful and are probably the best part of the hotel. Just walking through the hotel is a sublime, uplifting experience, with spring flowers blooming everywhere you look.
Spring Flowers NHYM 2016.
Clementine Tree with succulent, sweet clementines. NHYM 2016.
There are three pools; two unheated pools and a small heated ‘kids’ pool. Since we were in prime Easter Holiday season, there were a lot of British families and kids at the Kids Pool. It’s a shame the kids pool is not bigger, but you can’t have everything. More on kids later…
View from my sunbed with pool bar nearby. Feet and nails done by Margaret Dabbs, Spa NK Notting Hill. NHYM 2016.
The views from the main pool are really quite stunning, with the sky, sea and pool all blending into one blue infinity. Once I found a sunbed with this view, there wasn’t much that would take me away from it. The only thing I would mention is that the main pool area is not very big, relative to the number of hotel rooms so I did wonder how busy it gets in the summer/high season months.
There are five main restaurants to choose from at Anassa. Amphora is the main, buffet-style restaurant which serves breakfast buffet and dinner. Generally, we are not huge fans of buffets, and we weren’t huge fans of the Asian buffet, but the other buffets, Cypriot, seafood and Mediterranean, were actually all very delicious and pleased all of us.
By the pool, there is a pool bar serving light lunches, as well as a more formal restaurant Pelagos, which served fresh, grilled fish and had -more- beautiful views. The snack bar menu was very light and could be more extensive, but they also served a children’s menu that we often ordered from.
Basiliko restaurant in caves. NHYM 2016.
For fine dining options, Helios served delicious Mediterranean options, which allows children, who were spoiled with chairs pulled out and napkins applied on their laps and who were served freshly made linguini and prawns (there weren’t very many people that night, I assume it gets busier during high season). Basiliko is the Asian fusion, romantic restaurant (no kids allowed), which served really tasty and inventive foods. The menu did not do it justice.
Sunset on the Terrace. NHYM 2016.
The upstairs terrace showed off 180 degree views of the stunning Cypriot coastline and could not be criticised in any way. (The inside lounge was less interesting, so I would opt for the outdoor terrace if at all possible. In April, bring jackets and pashminas for the night as it gets a little chilly).
Indoor pool at the Spa. NHYM 2016.
The spa was also a very grand and relaxing affair. I booked us in for some Chakra healing treatments, which ‘healed’ our chakras and left us completely relaxed and happy. My mother came out with a big smile on her face and I knew that this was a perfect birthday present.
Rooms with private pools. Near kids pool. NHYM 2016.
I would be careful choosing a room with a private pool as they are situated around the kids pool and if you don’t want to hear kids screaming all day, I would stay away. We had lovely rooms in the main hotel, far from the pools, which were very private and peaceful. Just how I wanted it.
The crowd was distinctly British, from SouthWest and West London (Battersea/Clapham/Fulham and even some Notting Hillers were spotted) with children called Olly/Alexander/Saskia/Izzy/Bella. As it was school holidays, there were a lot of children (it is very family friendly) so if you are traveling without children, I would come outside of school holiday time. Apart from the Brits, there was a smattering of Russians, Swiss Germans, Israelis, French and Danes. The day we left, at the end of the Easter Holidays, the demographic changed from families to couples and from Brits to the rest of the world.
Playground in front of Kids Club. NHYM 2016.
Kids Club by Scott Dunn
The Kids Club at Anassa is run by Scott Dunn, which does provide a high standard level of care. It is in a kid – friendly area of the hotel, with a playground and ping pong tables nearby. My children were separated in their respective age groups, and although I understand the reason for separating the groups, they were somewhat disappointed not to be in the same group. There weren’t that many children in the over – 5s group, so my eldest didn’t enjoy it as much as she could have. I think the reason was that the grounds were so family friendly that older children can easily entertain themselves in the pool/playground area without supervision. Nevertheless, they enjoyed the playground, swimming time with the kids club, playing by the beach and the arts and crafts i.e. aliens out of aluminium foil and crocodile paintings out of foot prints.
Anassa beach. NHYM 2016.
Speaking of beaches, there was a nice, quiet, pebbly beach at the hotel with a watersports centre nearby (not run by the hotel but they work closely together).
View from the boat. NHYM 2016.
There isn’t a huge amount to do outside the hotel. The hotel is the main draw of the area, but one day we ventured out on a boat trip to see Aphrodite’s rocks (where Aphrodite is meant to be born), the Cypriot coastline and the Blue Lagoon, with shallow beautiful waters. It was a lovely day out on the water.
Translucent blue waters of the Blue Lagoon. NHYM 2016.
We had a wonderful trip to Anassa this year. We were certainly not disappointed by the hotel, the rooms or the location. The children loved it as did my mother, so I succeeded in keeping everyone happy. To find summer sunshine in Europe in April, Cyprus is a very good option and we were lucky to have 5 out 6 very sunny and warm days, reaching 24 to 25 degrees Celsius. It really felt like summer. At Anassa, don’t expect trendy and hip, but expect very nice spacious inter-connecting rooms for families, wonderful views from everywhere in the hotel, super staff and service, and lots of great amenities, making it a granny, mummy & kiddy pleaser. My children are already asking if we can go back tomorrow. And so is my mother.
Thank you Scott Dunn for organising our trip and Anassa for treating us so well!
** I paid for this trip but Scott Dunn organised it and provided perks and discounts. **