Hotel hopping in Cyprus from Israel for a few days

With a flight that takes less than an hour, Israel’s neighbor is a convenient place to visit.

 THE ANNABELLE outdoor pool. (photo credit: Gadi Zaig)
THE ANNABELLE outdoor pool.
(photo credit: Gadi Zaig)

Cyprus has always been a popular vacation site for Israelis. With many kid-friendly hotels, families often travel together. Other travelers may go alone as soon as they are released from the IDF. The flight between the two countries is extremely short – only 45 minutes to be exact. And Israeli travelers can expect a luxurious and carefree vacation.

I had recently spent a few days there to stay at some hotels belonging to Thanos Hotels and Resorts, which is a “privately owned collection of lifestyle hotels that conveys the energy and essence, serenity and style of the Mediterranean,” according to their website. The hotel chain is owned by Thanos Michaelides who was among former president Shimon Peres’ close friends.

The three hotels I visited were Almyra, Annabelle and Anassa, all located in Paphos, a coastal city on the southwest side of the island.

Almyra

We got to our first hotel close to midnight. Being extremely exhausted, we went straight to sleep and only experienced the hotel starting the next morning. The good news was that it was only a ten-minute drive from the Paphos Airport.

Almyra recently underwent a large renovation that cost €4 million, and it certainly shows in the high level of quality and hospitality that the hotel provides. The massage and guest rooms of the hotel were the most memorable moments of my stay.

In the morning, the hotel provided us with a great buffet. I also received a tour of the place, where I learned that it also provides accommodations for guests with dogs with its very own dog park. It’s also suitable for kids, as there’s a special kids club in the hotel for children aged four months to 13 years while the adults can have some relaxation time. Also during the tour, I was shown a rooftop, especially for couples – where they can talk and dine. Some have even had wedding proposals done there.

While staying at Almyra, I went with my group for a short walk to the beautiful Antasia restaurant, located right next to the beach, where we had dinner. The restaurant opened last year and both the architecture and hospitality of the establishment were fantastic.

 THE ANTASIA Beach Club. (credit: LOUISA NIKOLAIDOU) THE ANTASIA Beach Club. (credit: LOUISA NIKOLAIDOU)

Prices at Almyra start at €179 (NIS 625) per person.

Annabelle

The Annabelle Hotel, located right next to Almyra, offers a rooftop pool, bar and restaurant, a spa and a fantastic view of the Mediterranean Sea. It has offers a gym, a beautiful indoor pool and a sauna. The most impressive aspect of the hotel was definitely the view from some of the rooms of their outdoor pools with the Mediterranean Sea in the background.

Prices at Annabelle start at €157 (NIS 550) per person.

Road trip

The day we left Almyra, we went on a road trip on our way to stay at the next hotel. It was interesting to see that the drivers drive on the left side of the road (unlike in Israel and the US). My group and I stopped at multiple places to take beautiful photos of Cyprus’s rural areas.

We also stopped at Tsangarides Winery to taste the multiple kinds of wine that are manufactured in Cyprus. 

Anassa

This was a much larger and fancier hotel where we stayed in northern Paphos. I was really impressed with the high level of hospitality, as well as the amazing view of the Mediterranean Sea I had from my room. While the hotel is farther away from the airport, it is one of the most famous and beloved ones in Cyprus. One of the first things I noticed upon arrival was its expansive gardens, clear water and the great hospitality offered by the staff immediately as we walked through the door.

The hotel is only about 24 years old, has 166 rooms and is open only  part of the year – often from April to November – which gives the workers more time to keep the hotel in shape. One of the main attractions of the hotel is the award-winning Thalassa Spa, which, like the one at Almyra, was a very relaxing experience. Known for its outstanding facials, the spa offers treatments based on the innovative and market-leading products of Augustinus Bader – which won awards and praise from critics worldwide and from many magazines such as Vogue.

During our second day at Anassa, my group and I were taken on an amazing boat trip with Latchi Charters. The boat took us decently far into sea. We sailed past Aphrodite’s Rock – a coastline steeped in mythical legend, all the way to the Blue Lagoon – Cyprus’s most famous bay which is best known for its crystal clear, turquoise water.

Nearing the end of our trip, we had dinner at Helios – an incredibly fancy restaurant that included live music with a very talented pianist. There, we were greeted by Sebastian Wurst, Anassa Hotel’s general manager.

“Last year was the most successful year that Anassa hotel had despite the pandemic,” he said.

In my opinion, the most impressive course served at Helios was actually its dessert – which is called “A Story About Apples” – an apple-flavored dessert where the main course is shaped like an apple but is actually filled with cream.

In Anassa and Annabelle, there is an option to order kosher food because of an arrangement they have with the local Chabad House.

Prices at the hotel start at €395 (NIS 1,400) per person.

The writer was a guest of the hotels.