Cradled by hills and fronted by ocean, Anassa's lap-of-luxury location isn't even the best thing about it: this impeccably groomed family-friendly hotel in Cyprus is a regular nominee for World's Best Spa, has inspiring childcare facilities and delivers deliciously grown-up dining, too.
Noon, but flexible (subject to availability and additional cost). Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £402.54 (€481), including tax at 9 per cent.
Rates include a generous international buffet breakfast, including freshly cooked temptations such as omelettes and pancakes.
If you've a serious spa programme in mind, get it booked in a fortnight ahead. The Basiliko restaurant is a big draw on the island: make reservations at least two weeks ahead in high season.
Annually from mid November until April.
At the hotel
Thalassotherapy spa, beach with watersports, restaurants, bar, crèche, kids club, playground, tennis courts, landscaped gardens and chapel, boutique, DVD library, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD player, mini sound-system, espresso machine, minibar, Acqua di Parma toiletries, slippers, bathrobes.
Our favourite rooms
There's a huge choice of room and suite types, some with their private outdoor plunge pools, but don't fret: they're all nice. Garden Studio Suites are located in the landscaped gardens – handy for quick access to the pool. The Family Suite in the main building is most practical for a family with two or three children; it has a separate living room, three balcony terraces, one with a picnic-style table for four; a twin (or double) bedroom and master bedroom with a king-size bed, both ensuite. Two-Bedroom Suites or Interconnecting Studio Suites are another option. Junior Panorama suites (201 and 207) have lovely soothing decor, fantastic views, and private balconies with room for two big chairs and two sunbeds: perfect for sundowners, stargazing or sunbathing. Room 201 looks over the pool towards the mountains, so it gets the sunset sea views; 207 is at the opposite end of the building, with sunrise views. They can be interconnected with the larger bedroom of Two-Bedroom Suite 206. The best-looking rooms are the honeymoon-worthy presidential suites, Aphrodite and Adonis. Extra black-out blinds or curtains can be added to any rooms on request.
There's a lovely indoor spa pool. The main split-level freshwater pool has Roman steps and shallow areas; from the small top section, water cascades into a larger infinity pool. It's surrounded on all levels by wooden sunbeds, and grounds also feature towel cabanas, the Pelagos taverna, a little pool bar (Meltemi) and ice-cream/granita stand.
Voted one of world’s best spas, Thalassa has a lovely indoor Roman-style pool; a tranquil chill-out area; thalassotherapy pool; and a serious menu of detox and anti-ageing programmes, aromatherapy, therapeutic massage, couples' and pregnancy treatments – book well ahead if you can't endure a holiday without pampering. The gym provides personal training, including group or private yoga sessions.
All the usual hot-holiday fare will be useful at Anassa, where the family vibe is informal. Don't worry if you forgot to pack your favourite garment: Anassa's boutique stocks Miu Miu, Etro and Prada, among others – you'll soon find a fashionable NBF.
Anassa's public areas are all wheelchair accessible and, on request, rooms in the main building can be adapted for guests with mobility issues with ramps and handles.
Anassa is very child-friendly and has lots on offer for kids. Under-12s staying with parents on a half- and full-board basis are free (over-12s pay a daily supplement of €64 for half-board and €120 for full-board).
Amphora's terrace for lunch; Pelagos for between-dips meals and alfresco suppers; sit on white-cushioned bench seats in Basiliko's brazier-lit walled courtyard for romantic apéritifs.
Amphora has a relaxed atmosphere, while Basiliko and Helios are more formal.
Amphora is the relaxed main restaurant (though it still has marble floors and tabletops), for hearty buffet breakfasts and all-day dining; get your fresh omelettes and pan-fried fish from the cooking stations, or pick from the (mostly) Mediterranean à la carte menu. Tables spill out onto an olive-shaded terrace looking out to sea. Accessed either by a walled courtyard in the chapel square or a candlelit stone spiral staircase, Basiliko is the hotel's intimate, romantic (and always fully booked) Med-fusion restaurant; its low vaulted ceilings, whitewashed walls and soft lemon accents make it feel like a traditional wine cellar. For formal fine-dining, Helios has a grown-up menu and serious wine list. Open in summer, jaunty little taverna Pelagos flanks the pool terrace. Both Helios and Basiliko are usually pretty child-free.
In summer, beach barbecues at sundown let you imagine you're at an ancient feast, with bouzouki players to serenade you, and torches throwing their flickering light onto linen-draped couches and low tables. Once a week, a Cypriot-style 'village fête' is held outside the chapel.
Cosy and lounge-like inside, and with sunset-spot banquette booths outside, Armonia is the main bar, with late live jazz sessions in season: mocktails and bar snacks make it laid-back enough for children until early evening, and there's an all-day menu on offer 10am–11pm. During the day, pool bar Meltemi offers drinks, ice-cream and a granita stand in high season; and of course you can have a tipple in the lobby lounge or wherever takes your fancy.
The bar closes when the last guest leaves. Amphora is open from 7am–10am; 12.30pm–3pm; and for dinner. Meltemi operates noon–5pm; Helios 7pm–10.30pm; Pelagos taverna offers lunch and sometimes supper; Basiliko open from 7pm for five nights a week.
The 24-hour service offers hits from the à la carte menus.
Anassa's isolated location on the westernmost tip of Cyprus near the fishing village of Latchi is beautiful: at the edge of the verdant Akamas Peninsula, it's cradled by rugged hills, Mediterranean forest and overlooks a wide arc of coarse-sand beach.
Paphos airport is the most convenient, less than 50km (about 40 minutes' drive) from Anassa. Larnaca is further – 185km away (add an hour).
Driving's a doddle in Cyprus, and a hire car is handy if you prefer to explore independently and avoid paying for taxis whenever you want to escape the hotel. There's free on-site parking at Anassa. From Paphos airport, take the A6 to Paphos (Pafos) A6. Follow the signs for Polis as you through Paphos town. After about 30 minutes, as you approach Polis you will see an EKO petrol station on your left; 150m further up the road, take the first left, following the signs to Latchi (beware the unmarked speed humps just outside Latchi). Follow the road signposted for the Baths of Aphrodite – you will see the hotel appear on your right-hand side. The entrance (look for the Anassa sign) is to your left; when you get to the hotel entrance barrier on your right, buzz the intercom for access.
Worth getting out of bed for
Chill on the beach or around the pools; ride bikes; hire catamarans or go hiking; retreat to the award-winning spa; play tennis or squash; go scuba diving off St George's island to spot turtles and sea sponges – there's never a dull moment at Anassa (unless you want one). Don't miss Lara Beach: this unspoilt stretch of sand is home to nesting loggerhead and green turtles, as well as the occasional monk seal. It's only accessible by four-wheel drive, and to protect the nesting sites, beach paraphernalia is not allowed. Lawn-lined pathways dotted with succulents, citrus trees and aromatic shrubs lead down to the hotel's beach. Technically it's a public beach, but we'd fall off our sunlounger if we ever saw a non-guest along its pretty stretch of coarse sand and shingle. There’s a steep drop-off, but it's safe to swim in and there's miles of room in the naturally contained bay. The independently-run watersports centre offers sailing, windsurfing, waterskiing and the like. Anassa's five-star PADI dive centre offers everything from dives off St George’s rock to see sponge beds, wrecks and lagoons to beginner’s courses and even ‘Bubblemaker’ taster sessions for kids aged 8 and above. Anassa also has a squash court and two tennis courts, with coaches who can help improve your forehand. Hire bikes (from €20 a day) and cycle to the Baths of Aphrodite; charter Anassa's private yacht to explore hidden coves; join the sommelier for private wine-tasting sessions; or go fishing. Anassa can also arrange Jeep excursions to monasteries, vineyards, turtle-breeding stations and the Akamas Peninsula. Thisnational park harbours sea caves, spectacular wild-flower carpets (especially in spring), plunging gorges and the pools Aphrodite herself is said to have bathed in; explore on foot or by mountain bike to find your own perfect picnic spot. The Archaeological Museum of Marion-Arsinoe is only a 10-minute drive away in the town of Polis – pop in for some impressive pottery, statuettes and funerary stele. To the south-east, you can potter around the traditional villages of Loufou, Lania and Omodhos in the foothills of the Troodos mountains; spot Byzantine rarities at the monastery of Ayios Neofytos or sip monk-made wine at Chrysoroyiatissa. And about 45 minutes' drive from Latchi, the Unesco-protected archaeological site at Paphos includes remarkably well-preserved Roman mosaics and underground tombs hewn from solid rock. Golfers can tee off at a brace of championship golf courses: the Minthis Hills Golf Club is about half an hour's drive away; the Secret Valley Golf Club is an hour.
This rugged patch of western Cyprus has natural beauty and cultural wonders in spades; the isolated location does however mean there's not much in the way of walkable places to eat, so don't plan on eating outside Anassa unless you're happy to drive or take a taxi. There's nowhere local to eat bar a handful of basic tavernas in the fishing village Latchi, just along the coast, the most appealing of which is Porto Latchifor its seafood and mezze menus.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from their Mediterranean holiday in this Cypriot sanctuary and unpacked their herbal teas and straw hats, a full account of their bliss-filled break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Anassa…
Aphrodite was onto something when she picked the Akamas Peninsula for her trysting and time outs: this is a spectacular location justly deserving of its place in legends of love. Today, were the goddess looking for a modern des-res, we imagine she'd make straight for Anassa: its marble-columned thalassotherapy spa steals headlines; its secluded arc of coast is hidden from tourists; and its grounds are planted with elegant trees and aromatic shrubs. Whether your idea of heaven is underwater adventure or a quiet afternoon by the pool, Anassa has a five-star solution for everything. Diversions from the slothful to the gluttonous make this an almost sinfully indulgent escape, and the hotel's attentive concierge means you're less stressed before you've even arrived.
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