Pictured left to right outside the new store are: Paul Hardwick, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Director of Retail; Emma Bailey, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Tutti Taylor, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Councillor Candy Vaughan, Mayor of Eastbourne; Trevor Ridler, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Business Development Manager; and Shirley Waters, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents..
Jemma White, Trainee Travel Advisor at our Woodbridge travel agents, got the chance to see some of the luxurious hotels Cyprus has to offer. Here is her report from a trip that included plenty of delicious, local food.
(Hotel names/Ship name): The Golden Bay 5*, Larnaca - The Four Seasons 5*, Limassol - Columbia Beach Resort 5*, Pissouri
Duration: 4 nights
Cobalt is a little Cypriot airline with only six planes in total. Therefore, it was understandable that the check-in desk was hidden in the corner in comparison to the other mighty airlines flying out of London Heathrow. We were given our boarding passes swiftly and were able to explore Terminal 3 in good time. Terminal 3 has a mixture of designer high-street shops and duty-free �� an experience that definitely set us up for the luxury holiday we were about to undertake. Boarding was very swift and easy too.
The interior and general feel of the plane was nearly exactly the same as flying with Ryanair. I would advise, if you were to fly with Cobalt to Cyprus, to buy food and drink before boarding the plane as the food cart could get very expensive and you do get hungry on a five-hour flight.
The Golden Bay 5* - I'd describe this hotel as a little outdated and in need of refurbishment due to the simplistic and old-fashioned rooms and lobby. There is a Cypriot restaurant especially for Cypriot evenings, lovely addition to the other entertainment each night. It caters for both children and adults thanks to a variety of facilities that include two brand new tennis courts, a free kids' club and a spa. What stood out was the sunbed system, which involves can reserving (and practically owning) the same sun bed for the duration of your stay by placing a green card into the top of the sunbed.
The Four Seasons 5* - This hotel, described as 'The Rolls Royce of the island', did not fail to amaze. There are over 300 rooms, 25 different room types and four restaurants known for being the very best on the island �� the facilities are immaculate. The latest technology and designs transform this hotel by making every experience from opening the curtains on a tablet computer to adjusting the colour of the 'sensory lighting' to suit your mood. The food choices and 'dine around' options cater for all and make sure all is provided within the hotel.
Columbia Beach Resort 5* - In comparison to the corporate feel of The Four Seasons, the Columbia Beach Resort was a completely different 5-star character. The resort, having recently undergone a thorough refurbishment, is set-up and designed in a very traditional Cypriot way; it is a little village with different gardens, areas and traditional taverns that build an experience celebrating the culture and country. The hotel is positioned overlooking the cliffs and a beautiful beach too. We were all made to feel very much at home, with the same standard of facilities and catering for everyone.
Our priority on this visit was to see and experience the different hotels on offer. All hotels were to a high standard and concentrated on providing everything. And due to the vast amount of competition in these resorts, they were all trying to find unique ways to out-shine each other. Every hotel was positioned on the beach apart from the Aphrodite Hills.
The Lordos Beach Hotel 4*, Larnaca - Situated next door to the Golden Bay, we all felt that this hotel was of a better standard in comparison, due to its very recent refurbishment and modern design. White walls and a unique character are found throughout every room and this provided a more 'homely' feel to make the hotel stand out in comparison.
The Royal Apollonia 5*, Limassol - Also recently refurbished, The Royal Apollonia mixes traditional Cypriot style restaurants and spa facilities with very clean and modern standards. As with the majority of these hotels, the sea view rooms are definitely worth the extra cost compared to the inland views.
The Grand Resort Hotel 5*, Limassol - Positioned the furthest out of all the hotels in Limassol, you would need to pay at least 15 euros to get into the main town via taxi. However, again, all is provided and there is a variety of different restaurants and entertainment for all ages. The seafood restaurant on the beach, in particular, was a special place and very romantic.
The Mediterranean Beach Hotel 4*, Limassol - Another newly refurbished hotel, the rooms here very white, modern and clean. They have 100 joining rooms available, making this hotel well suited to groups of families and friends. Located next door to The Four Seasons, the spa facilities and treatments are three times cheaper.
We visited Limassol old town, a little traditional village with small restaurants and bars. The shops were particularly nice to walk around and features different 'touristy gifts' and Cypriot ornaments. Cypriot bakeries and cafes are great to experience outside the big hotels.
The Amathus Beach 5*, Limassol - Owned by the same company as the Four Seasons, The Amathus Beach collaborates to allow their customers to experience both hotels and the 'five best restaurants on the island' through the 'dine around' option. This hotel competes for the same modern trends and standards as The Four Seasons but described themselves as being 'more easy going' in comparison. I'd say it caters better for families with small children due to being smaller and having a designated children's play area and pool with slides. They also currently have an offer of 'children under 12 stay for free'. The spa was voted 'The Best Spa in Europe' in 2017.
St Raphael Resort 5*, Limassol - We were all a little disappointed with St Raphael. When compared to the five-star standard of the other hotels, it needed some TLC. However, an extensive refurbishment is said to start December this year. I'd say this hotel is the best for big weddings, due to the huge garden overlooking the beach. It is very spacious.
Londa Boutique Hotel 5*, Limassol - The Londa was the most central hotel and within walking distance of other restaurants, shops and entertainment outside the hotel. It is a lot smaller and sells its personality and boutique style design. Suited more for business travellers and couples, the hotel is a lot more relaxed and quiet. It's very casual and friendly.
Aphrodite Hills Holiday Residences 5* - The Aphrodite Hills are 'home away from home'. Positioned far away from any town or beach resort, you would need to hire a car to get around. However, they've built a village (850 units) that includes all the facilities needed such as a supermarket, restaurant and spa. If families wanted a relaxed, quiet escape with an environment very similar to home (they have a Costa on site), this is the place to come. There are lots of opportunities for everyone with the best sports facilities including horse riding, tennis and football camps. Parents have the option of childcare all day, every day and there are golf and spa facilities for the adults.
Dinner at the Columbia Beach Resort was definitely a highlight. Traditional Cypriot food was served accompanied by traditional Cypriot music. We felt very comfortable and it was an experience unique to Cyprus and not just another five-star hotel gimmick. Just beautiful!
Refurbishment of the Golden Bay five-star and the St Raphael Resort five-star? Otherwise, nothing.
I would definitely recommend Cyprus to holidaymakers. Especially to anyone seeking guaranteed sunshine in the summer, incredible food and hotels where everything is delivered at impeccable standards. The wealth of hotels available through Cyplon cater for everyone; there's a hotel for all.
Must see? The Four Seasons hotel rooms
Must do?A traditional Cyprian night
Must try? Feta salads
If you would like to plan your own relaxing trip to the sunshine shores of Cyprus, our team will be happy to help find you the perfect holiday.