Five-star deluxe resort, 184 rooms
By Patricia Keegan
After five days exploring the beautiful island of Cyprus, a two-day visit to the Anassa Hotel is a perfect ending to a soul-filling adventure. For several miles in Polis, which lies north of Phapos in the Akamas region, noted for its variety of flora and fauna, I could frequently see the distant Anassa Hotel situated along a sweeping, sandy bay. Around each bend I was getting closer to this mirage of drifted snow mounds against a backdrop of green hills facing the blue Mediterranean. After a long trip, it sure looked inviting.
My first sense of the snow drift architectural style was brought to perfection when I entered this strikingly beautiful hotel where marbled archways meet the high gleam of marbled floors. Clean spacious curves, no straight lines, no dazzling color, nothing ornate, nothing imposing, windows everywhere looking across embankments of delicate flowers, a myriad of color flowing towards the blue of the sea. There are frescoes of St. Paul and St. John and mosaics that reflect the colorful history, mythology and rich traditions of Cyprus. The sound of harp strings floated gently, echoing from the pinnacle of a winding wrought iron staircase complementing the water-like flow of the music. The Polish harpist, Ladwija, is a favorite of the guests, and even the children come to curl up on a cushioned armchair to listen to her music.
Each evening brought a spectacular sunset, which shed a pink glow across the terrace of my suite overlooking hills and sea. Rooms are cool and airy with sensitive attention to detail. My four-poster bed is adorned by a spread of silken threads, reminiscent of the Cyprus weaving tradition. The marble bathroom is spa-like and spacious with an abundance of soft towels and all the extra amenities of today’s finest resorts.
They say, and I believe from experience, that the best way to judge a hotel is by its cuisine. To say that the menu at Anassa is good would be an understatement--the high quality of each item, from figs to bread rolls, is indisputable. The hotel boasts three restaurants--the Basilica, the Amphora and the Helios. On the first of my two evenings, I dined in the super elegant Basilica, which feels and looks like a candlelit corner of a monastery. Here I enjoyed a memorable dinner where I selected a fish curry served in a beautiful earthenware bowl with all the delicacy of the fusion of Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. Local fisherman from nearby Latchi supply a daily catch of fresh fish.
Service throughout the hotel is gracious and efficient. Johnny Mathis, the hotel manager, comes from Switzerland and brings to Anassa years of experience in some of the world finest hotels. Fine cuisine is one of his priorities, so he brought along one of his best executive Swiss chefs, Mr. Sperling, who has 25 assistants all doing a fine job. The buffet breakfasts and the casual buffet dinners in the relaxed setting of the Amphora are abundant in original and inviting presentations.
One of the glories of the Anassa is its Thalassa Spa with its Olympic size swimming pool and an impressive range of therapies and treatments. Facilities include a gym/exercise room, an exercise pool, sauna and steam bath, hydrotherapy, a choice of massage, reflexology and aroma therapy.
After a revitalizing spa session, I particularly enjoyed a scenic hike along trails leading to the Aphrodite baths. One of the more unexplored areas of Cyprus, the Akamas peninsula is a landscape of dramatic gorges, secret bays and rare wildflowers. Anassa also has access to two 18-hole championship golf courses.
Located 45 minutes from Phapos airport, it is an ideal stopover for people continuing on to the Middle East. It is even better and more culturally enriching to take some time to explore the incredibly beautiful island of Cyprus.
The architect of this masterpiece in hotel design is Sandy and Babcock of California. Interior designer James Northcutt Associates is also from California.
Anassa is a family-owned hotel and a member of the Thanos Hotel Group in the UK. They can be reached at Tel: (357)26 888 000 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check the website at anassa.com.cy .