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Babygoes2: Cyprus

Trips to Cyprus in April, June and November showed us quite clearly that the wonderful Island of Aphrodite really is a perfect year round destination – yet only a 4.5 hr flight away from the UK. The weather in November was still a lovely 29C with sea warm enough to swim in (just!), and when we visited earlier in April, it was around 25C and the children were in the pool. The island really does have something for everyone – the Troodos mountains and villages, crystal clear seas, a wealth of historical sites, national parks, endless orange groves, unspoilt towns, great sports facilities, and more.

Cyprus also has one of the widest choice of family-friendly accommodation options, from traditional, comfortable and well established hotels with excellent facilities, to a chic, design led boutique hotels, and villa resorts with on site childcare to exclusive, secluded, five star luxury.

We’ve tried them all out this year – and here’s our guide to the best: what we like about them and what differentiates them from each other.

If you have any queries regarding Cyprus options or any info in this guide at all – just contact us and we’ll help you find the right hotel to suit you and your family.

Aphrodite Hills Resort and Spa
The Almyra
The Anassa
Le Meridien Limassol

Aphrodite Hills Resort and Spa

In a nutshell

  • 10 mins transfer from Paphos airport
  • hotel and self catering accommodation sleeping from 2 –10 people
  • superb resort facilities for adults and children inc golf, tennis (lessons available) riding, walks, spa, playground, creche (May-Oct and at Easter) and kids club (4-14 yrs round) and teens club and activities, school holiday periods
  • small shingle beach in front of the resort or beach club (shuttle,15 mins)

New poolAphrodite Hills is a 5 star hotel and resort about 20 mins from Paphos, close to the small, unspoilt village of Pissouri. It has probably the most extensive range of sports and leisure facilities of all the hotels. These include tennis (courses for adults and children)golf, riding, football/basketball, spa, indoor and outdoor pools, walks through the ravine, numerous restaurants, huge childrens playground. Also a kids club from 3 years all year and then creche from 6 mths, running from May to October and at Christmas and Easter. It’s unique in that it offers a choice of hotel accommodation (the 5 star Intercontinental) or self catering – everything from apartments to detached villas with private pools – all with access to the same extensive facilities.

# The hotel
The style of the hotel is a mix of modern/traditional, and the rooms are especially spacious and comfortable. Our interconnecting rooms were great – very spacious with comfortable seating corners. Good quality all round in fact – very soft Egyptian bed linen. Our rooms faced the pool and the sunset – which was spectacular and made the balcony a great spot for an early evening aperitif. There a very wide range of room types for families however, from the interconnecting rooms we had, through to one/2 bedroom suites with/without private pool and ‘club’ facilities. There are also ground floor rooms with little terraces which are very close to the gardens/childrens pool/crèche and kids club, which are popular with families. The food in the hotel is excellent. There are several restaurants to choose from, and they were all good – the half board ‘buffet’ restaurant was top notch – and there was plenty to tempt children. This was certainly a big success with our children, who were remarkably quick off the mark to present themselves at the tureens, plate in hand. The outdoor pool is freeform and large, so it doesn’t feel crowded and the indoor pool is a good size too - with an outdoor section which children really enjoy swimming in and out of. In general, the hotel has a very friendly, informal yet luxurious ambiance. It doesn’t feel too huge or impersonal - we felt very relaxed and ‘at home’ here.

# The apartments and villas
This resort varies from all the others in that as well as the hotel it has an array of apartments, townhouses and villas all situated in small ‘villages’ yet with access to all the sports facilities, creche and kids club, spa and resort restaurants. The self catering accommodation ranges from simple one bed appts with communal pool (great value) to 2 bedroom terraced villas with/without private pool, to luxurious 3-5 bed detached villas with gardens and private pools. This accommodation option gives the extra space and flexibility of self catering along with all the facilities of a resort hotel – an ideal combination for many families.

# The villas closest to the resort facilities are popular with families as they are within walking distance to the facilities of the hotel and the village square. We stayed in a detached 3 bedroom villa which was over the other side of the ravine to the resort facilities however. It meant a 5 min drive to get to the resort, but this didn’t bother us, and there was always plenty of parking. It’s very quiet and peaceful on this side of the resort and feels quite rural – lots of birdsong in the morning. All the villas vary in style and décor - our villa was very spacious, with a large lounge, dining area and a well equipped kitchen. Bedrooms were also very spacious. It was attractively and simply furnished. Our villa had plenty of terracing and garden around the pool, which the children spent a long time playing in. There was also a terrace on the first floor, which again, was an ideal spot to relax and watch the sun go down.

# When staying in the villas we used the restaurants in the resort rather than the hotel. Again there is plenty of choice – Greek taverna, Italian, bistro, Japanese etc. Booking ahead is essential however, as they are all very popular – we were caught out a couple of times and it was only April….. There is a small supermarket on the resort – which as you’d expect, is very convenient but of course expensive. There are plenty of alternatives within a 10 min drive or so however.

# Things to do
The extensive resort facilities at Aphrodite really sets it apart. The children had soon compiled a ‘must do’ list which included kids club, riding, tennis lessons and football. For older children there is also golf, and a teens grotto which has video games pool etc. For MUCH older and lazier children (ie parents) there is the spa – which is one of the best we’ve been to. Set in its own separate building, with some really interesting treatments (thermae experience for example) and massages – we sampled an Indonesian massage which was very different – but fantastically relaxing.

# Beach stuff
The resort is set just off the road from Paphos (no road noise) and on the other side of the road, there is a small shingly beach. You can walk here or there’s a hotel shuttle (5mins).The main beach however is a 15 minute hotel shuttle away, and is sandy and unspoilt (backed by fields) and is long enough for a good stroll. There’s a beach club here, which has a restaurant, seating/lounge areas, comfortable loungers with comp towels and water. We had a car, and about a 30 min drive brought us to Coral Bay – a long golden sand beach with crystal clear seas.

This resort is ideal for all age groups and interests – as well as the kids clubs and creche (complimentary to hotel guests) – there is a teens Grotto club giving teenagers the freedom to have space of their own to enjoy without younger ones cramping their style.

A great combination of self catering, hotel and fantastic facilities.

The Almyra

In a nutshell

  • 20 mins transfer from Paphos airport
  • superb seafront location – and right in the centre of Paphos, so car not essential
  • stylish with minimalist, contemporary décor
  • good interconnecting rooms (first or ground floor) and luxury Kyma suites with furnished roof terraces – right on the seafront, and can interconnect
  • excellent food
  • crèche from 6 mths and kids club from 4 yrs (April – Oct)
  • baby goes lightly equipment/supplies pre ordering service

# Stylish and contemporary
As soon as you walk into the lobby, you leave the heat and bustle of Paphos behind you and enter a world of cool, calm sophistication.

The Almyra differs from most of the other hotel options in that it’s very contemporary in style. The lobby and lounge areas are full of sleek modern furniture in natural tones with accent colours highlighting the different areas, orange in the bar, aubergine at the internet booths, leather and stone colours in the lounge. It’s stylish – but also genuinely baby/child friendly.

# Rooms and suites
The rooms are minimal in design, mainly white in colour, with comfortable beds, leather chairs. There are garden view options – good value but they face the garden, which backs onto the road, and there can be some traffic noise. Also, one of the special things about the Almyra in our view is the proximity to the sea: the seaviews here are really very good – the sea is so close you can hear the waves lapping gently on the shore - quite unusual, and very relaxing.

There are superior seaview options on the first floor, and here the floor to ceiling windows slide open (safety grille) so that the whole room opens up to the fabulous views over the sea and towards the harbour.

# The seaview terrace rooms open onto a little patio which leads directly (no fencing) to a large grassy area. These are ideal for families as you can sit on your terrace with an aperitif, listening to the waves lapping gently while your children run around on the grass letting off steam. Another very useful advantage of the terrace rooms, is that you can pull up your sun loungers directly outside the room – and still enjoy the sun while your little one's take their nap inside.

Both rooms types can interconnect, and there’s usually a discount for the childrens room. There are also one bedroom suites and the VERY chic Kyma suites (one large room) which are right next to the sea and have their own patios and also furnished roof terraces. A couple of these interconnect too - expensive, but VERY special.

# Great food
The food at the Almyra is excellent – the restaurants retain the style of the lobby/rooms – the main restaurant is very chic, there’s a relaxed seafront taverna and also a restaurant overlooking the sea, where you eat under floaty white awnings…. In fact, the floaty awnings theme continues around the (fashionably slate-lined) pool area - where they provide welcome shade for families. Around the pool there are double day beds which are ideal for the whole family to set up camp on. There’s also a shaded slate-lined baby pool and both pools are heated outside summer season so you can comfortably swim year round.

# Design conscious but genuinely child friendly
You might think that all the modern design and crisp white interiors wouldn’t be an ideal combination for families with young children - but it actually all works exceptionally well. The rooms, facilities and beach are close to each other – it’s not a big sprawling hotel – which gives an intimate and contained feel. Staff are attentive and friendly, and children AND their parents feel at ease. It’s the kind of place where the staff remember the childrens’ names and the sort of ice cream they prefer.

# It’s a genuinely child friendly place – they offer a baby go lightly service where you can pre-order a wide variety of baby/child equipment and services, from nappies to baby gyms, buggies monitors etc. There is a good childrens menu – favourites but all freshly cooked which is available in the restaurants (early sitting for children if preferred) and via room service at any time. Food was a big hit with a variety of fussy eaters amongst us – of both the child and grow up variety.

The Ofsted registered creche and kids club offers excellent childcare. It’s quite a small facility – but there’s a great schedule of activities and good staff - in our experience you practically have to drag the children out of there!

# New spa and lap pool
The brand new spa is an excellent addition to the hotel. The new glass and whitewashed building that houses the spa, has a cool, calm feel to it with wood, slate and navy blue furnishings. The treatment rooms overlook the sea and the indoor pool is a welcome escape in cooler weather. There is also a fab infinity lap pool which and sun deck. The spa restaurant offers healthy snacks and drinks. The spa area is reserved for adults only, so has a sophisticated and quiet feel. The perfect place to de-stress and unwind while the children are happily occupied in the kids club.

Sister hotel the Annabelle (more traditional in style, and with some good restaurants and several tiered pools) is right next door, and residents of both hotels have signing privileges in each. Paphos itself with its bars, restaurants and shops plus harbour and castle, is just minutes walk away.

Beach stuff
The beach outside the Almyra is narrow but sandy, and has rock pools at either side. The sea is crystal clear and usually calm. It’s not a beach you can stroll along, but it’s perfect for relaxing, paddling, swimming and making sandcastles.

A perfect holiday choice for families wanting the feel of an exclusive, stylish up hotel with the option of being able to walk everywhere.

The Anassa

In a nutshell

  • 55 mins transfer from Paphos airport
  • unspoilt location
  • wide and long sandy beach
  • exclusive, contemporary and friendly in style and ambiance
  • crèche from 6 mths and kids club from 4 yrs (April – Oct)
  • baby goes lightly equipment/supplies pre ordering service. Complimentary baby puree on room service
  • wide choice of rooms and suites,somewith privatepools. All spacious and luxurious

# Contemporary calm and elegance
Travelling up the coast, over the hills to the Anassa – the island becomes noticeably greener and more lush. The unspoilt town of Polis with its traditional restaurants and tavernas gives way to Latchi, a small seaside area with fish restaurants and watersports, and beyond to the Anassa. The hotel is immediately recognisable as the white-washed exterior rises out of the landscape, surrounded by cypress trees and gardens. The approach to the hotel reception is lined with orange trees and when we were there in Spring, these were in blossom and smelt delicious.

#The hotel has a completely different feel again to the Almyra and the Aphrodite. Stylish, expansive and calm, with muted colours, the whole hotel exudes a sense of sophisticated, contemporary luxury. The staff are friendly and very professional yet unobtrusive, and the overall service is excellent. The hotel is surrounded by lovely gardens, which makes strolling around the resort a pleasure. The 3 pools are on different levels, so it rarely feels crowded around the pool area.

# Rooms and suites
There is a very wide variety of suite types at the Anassa. All suites (all with either private balconies, terraces or pools) overlook the sea, and are spacious (larger than the rooms at the Almyra) and stylish, with supremely comfortable beds and luxurious bathrooms. Ideal for families are the interconnecting studio suites (main building) or garden studio suites (garden location, closer to the pool/garden/kids club) – there is usually a discount on the second room for the children. Alternatively there are one/two bedroom suites, with or without pools. These all come at quite a price – but they feel very special and are definitely worth it.

# Varied dining options
The dining options are a good mix, and include an intimate cellar restaurant ( Basiliko ) reserved for adults only, with candles and only a limited number of tables. This does not mean though that children are not welcomed, with early dining for children and dining rooms with private areas, perfect for more private family dinners. We liked it that even the large, main restaurant is still an attractive and stylish place to eat. There is the same excellent childrens’ menu as at the Almyra and room service offers complimentary baby puree.

# Beach stuff
The beach here at Anassa is also good – much wider than the Almyra’s – a long stretch of beach, a mix of sand and smooth pebbles– with very clear water, shallow enough for children to play in. There’s good beach service and also a watersports area. The hotel is right next to a national park, where loggerhead turtles come to lay their eggs. There are boat trips from the hotel to the Peninsula – which makes an exciting excursion for slightly older children.

The Anassa has the same mix of sophistication and genuine child friendliness as the Almyra. There’s a smaller heated pool - ideal for children - lots of lawned areas for playing and the Smiling Dolphins creche (from 6 mths-3 yrs))and kids club (4 yrs +) with supervised activities for all – good schedule, well-run, spacious. The baby go lightly equipment pre-ordering service is also available here.

# The award-winning Thalassa spa is a divine, tranquil space with large indoor pool, exercise pools with water jet stations, gym, treatment rooms, sauna, relaxation area. It really is a hugely relaxing place to unwind and recharge.

The Anassa is a superb option for families looking for first class service in luxurious and stylish, yet child-friendly surroundings.

Le Meridien Limassol

In a nutshell

  • larger hotel with family rooms, interconnecting rooms and suites
  • just outside Limassol, around 45mins transfer from either Paphos or Larnaca airports
  • excellent creche and kids club from 6 mths – open all year
  • extensive family facilities for all ages – tennis,10 pin bowling etc
  • long sandy beach
  • wide choice of restaurants and dedicated childrens restaurant
  • award winning thalassotherapy spa
The 5 star Meridien just outside Limassol, has a really wide range of facilities for both children and adults – and is very family oriented.

# Rooms and suites
It’s not as contemporary in style as the Almyra or the Anassa, and more traditional still than Aphrodite Hills. But it does have a really good range of accommodation options – everything from standard rooms, through to large family rooms or one or two bedroom suites. We stayed in a Palm Court suite which was very comfortable and spacious – 2 bedrooms upstairs (separated by sliding doors) and a lounge downstairs. These suites surround their own private pool area – which means it’s very easy to take a quick dip without having to pack your poolside survival kit, and as it’s only for the use of Palm Court guests this pool remains very calm. The water is deep though – no shallow area for toddlers, so flotation aids essential!

# Facilities
The main hotel however has numerous pools – including a very large shallow childrens pool, with a small slide, which kids love. It’s a large hotel, and this means extensive gardens – and sun loungers /parasols are dotted about in the gardens as well as round the pools – so it rarely feels too busy or cramped. When not stationed round the childrens’ pool, we would set up camp in the grass overlooking the beach- lovely sea breezes, easy to watch the children playing on the beach. The beach is dark golden sand, and a long stretch of beach – ideal for strolling. There are plenty of rocky areas with rock pools which again, children of all ages love to investigate.

# Great adult and child dining options
Food wise there are plenty of options, and the standard is good. For children there is a dedicated restaurant which is a huge bonus. It’s an attractive space – with brightly coloured childrens furniture, plenty of high chairs/kids cutlery etc. It’s like a mini version of the adult buffet, with lots of healthy childrens favourites plus local dishes. It’s open exactly when you’d want it to be – and our 4 yr old absolutely loved it.

# For children
The hotel has everything covered in terms of childcare or family activities. There is a combined crèche and kids club from 6 mths of age. It’s a large, dedicated facility which is run very professionally. There’s lots of grassy space (for football etc) a playground, its own pool, and both inside and outside space for activities. The schedule is interesting and varied – lots of emphasis on craft and fun activities. For older children, there’s a family centre with plenty of computer games, table football etc and even 10 pin bowling – plus tennis courts and many other sports. There’s an entertainment team that stroll around the hotel scooping up any children who look at a loose end, and involving them in any impromptu activities.

# There’s evening entertainment too – a little amphitheatre, where there are regular shows – everything from dancing to magicians, to musicals. It sounds a tad cheesy, and you can easily avoid it of course – but when we were there it was hugely popular with children.

As a welcome antidote to all this activity, there’s an award winning thalassotherapy spa. This has lots of different thalassotherapy pools and also a wide range of massage and beauty treatments. We can vouch for the aromatherapy and pedicure!

# The hotel is on the outskirts of Limassol – which isn’t the prettiest town in Cyprus, but it does have plenty of facilities and a choice of restaurants. The hotel is well placed for trips into the Troodos mountains which are very impressive, and there are some lovely villages to explore.

All in all, we really enjoyed Le Meridien. It may not have the style element of say the Almyra or Anassa, but it has the edge in terms of the sheer range of facilities. We think that for low season stays (when the weather may be more variable) or for families with a variety of age ranges, it works exceptionally well.

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