For those of you who, like me, are dreading the onslaught of winter, I’ve some good news. The solution to continued wellbeing for us sun-junkies is a trip to the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus – where temperatures stay up in the 20s well into the winter and it is only four hours on a plane from London.
More specifically, if it’s beauty, quietness and authentic luxury you’re after, try the Columbia Beach Resort. This enclave is situated in Pissouri Bay in the south-east of the island, only 20 minutes’ drive from Cyprus international airport. Laid out like a typical Cypriot village and decorated in upmarket, local style, it’s easy to feel abroad-yet-at-home simultaneously in this five-star exclusive resort. With watersports and cycling (road bikes and mountain bikes) available, there’s little reason to venture further afield for activities. Food-wise, the Apollo taverna near the beach in a great on-site option for more relaxed traditional dishes, and the smarter main restaurant in the hotel, reserved for no more than 30 people at one time, is where head chef Yiannis Giakoumides cooks up high class delights.
Because of the Columbia Beach Resort’s innovative layout, the rooms, which range from junior suite to executive suite and panoramic suite (with private pool), are never exactly the same. Most are within spitting distance of the vast outdoor infinity pool, which unlike most hotel pools is longer than most training pools (and has a swim-in bar right beside it). Yet perhaps one of the hotel’s most unexpected delights is its tiny beachside ‘All Saints’ chapel, which has walls exquisitely painted in colourful religious frescoes by British artist John Corbidge and which is available for both civil and religious marriage ceremonies.
Of all the four hotels I visited during my week in Cyprus, Columbia Beach Resort really was among the very best. You’d better book fast though – thanks to huge upcoming renovations, Columbia beach is going to be raising the bar even higher – offering suite-only accommodation, five restaurants and upgraded facilities in each room (particularly when it comes to tech and devices). This means the property is closing between December 2016 and September 2017, after which it’s likely that prices will rise significantly. Right now though, it’s a stylish bargain.