I and some of the team from James Villas were privileged enough to be taken on a VIP trip to Cyprus’ wonderful Holiday Resort – Aphrodite Hills – for five days of holiday bliss on the island of love. And what a five days they were…
Stepping off the plane, we were met with a welcoming blast of warmth before being whisked off to the Aphrodite Hills Resort, and the magnificent Villa Ouranos. This 5 bedroom villa is part of James Villas’ ‘Luxury’ collection and it’s easy to see why. It had a gym, sauna and the most amazing infinity pool, looking out over ravines to the glistening Mediterranean. Donning our swimwear and relaxing on the comfy sun loungers, we would have been forgiven if we had done nothing else for the next 4 days. It was incredible.
That evening we ventured into the hub of Aphrodite Hills – the Village Square – with its shops and restaurants. We ate at the Anoi Pub, with its array of different options. I chose the steak salad with Roquefort and pomegranate – it tasted like heaven!
After a lovely evening of cocktails and great food, breakfast at the Golf Club enjoying the views over the course was a great way to start the day. Once we’d finished we ventured out to the rear of the resort and entered a world of natural beauty and tranquillity. Following the track road for about 2km, we came to the Aphrodite Hills Riding Club.
We ended up spending the whole morning here. Pat – who owns the club – chatted with us and talked about her horses with great affection. We met Stan the mule – who was a real character – Penny the Shetland pony, then out came our own horses for a gentle walk through the countryside. As we were all fairly inexperienced riders Pat walked alongside, explaining how to ride and talking about the local area. I would definitely recommend making a visit – you can book even if you aren’t staying at Aphrodite Hills. They cater for a range of ages and abilities, with lessons as well as the riding trails.
The ride had worked up our appetites, so we headed back to the Club House for more delicious food – can you see there is a pattern evolving? It was then time to visit some villas on the resort, and I’m very excited that we’ll be featuring them on James Villas’ website soon…
That evening we headed out to nearby Paphos to see more of Cyprus. A lovely, bustling town, Paphos has a historic waterfront and teems with shops, bars and restaurants. We enjoyed the friendly atmosphere, taking in the sunset before heading back to the comfort of our villa.
Having breakfast delivered to our front door was a real luxury and the rolls, pastries and other treats were quickly consumed before we headed out to the beautiful little resort of Latchi.
Very different to Paphos, this sleepy harbour front with its relaxed restaurants and promenade is the perfect place to wile away time over a glass of wine. However, none of that for us – we hopped on board our own hired boat (easy to arrange and reasonably priced), complete with an enthusiastic skipper, to discover the breathtaking Blue Lagoon.
We followed the coastline and took in the beautiful views, but arriving at the Blue Lagoon was like arriving in paradise. People travel thousands of miles to find places like this – if only they knew this was just a short 4 hour flight away. The water was only waist height where the boat dropped its anchor, so this trip would be perfect for families with children too. Other boats nearby were bobbing while people read and sunbathed, enjoying the views. With tiny fish racing around our legs, the sun on our faces, and the warm Mediterranean Sea all around, it was enough for all of us to want to stay there all day.
But leave we must, although any disappointment we had in going was brought to an end by our next stop – the Baths of Aphrodite restaurant with its fabulous host, Dinos. It’s the sort of place that doesn’t have a menu, displaying instead the freshest catch of the day for selection. Perched on a cliff face, with views over the sea, red checked table cloths and traditional wicker chairs, this taverna was utterly charming. Then out came the endless food – mussels, octopus, prawns, Greek salads, potatoes, humus, olives… The list goes on. It’s almost impossible to have self-control in Cyprus when the food is that incredible.
Later that night back at our villa, we were spoiled yet again by the new “in villa dining” offered by Aphrodite Hills. With this service, the chef and sous chef arrive at the property and prepare the food while you unwind. Everything is freshly made – amazing salads, pork and chicken kebabs, Tahini, Tzatziki… The night was relaxed and informal – everyone gathered around the outside table, laughing, eating and drinking. It’s one of my fondest memories of Cyprus.
We had so much planned for today – lunch at the beautiful Shipwreck restaurant in nearby Coral Bay, followed by a few hours on the beach, before heading back to Aphrodite Hills to the spa…
However, after a late night of feasting we just couldn’t get going, so a morning by the pool quickly passed and before we knew it, it was lunchtime. A quick visit to the onsite supermarket later and we were back at the villa, whipping up mouth-watering salads, grilled halloumi and dips – perfect with a chilled glass of Persephoni wine. Dining al fresco with no dress code required, we went from our loungers to lunch in our swimwear – bliss.
We did manage part of our planned day – a visit to the fabulous Retreat Spa, with its vast choice of treatments and a lovely chill out and pool area to enjoy. An few hours later we returned back to Villa Ouranos feeling rejuvenated, having had a magical massage.
For our last night we had drinks on our terrace once again – enjoying those fabulous views – before heading out to Italian restaurant, Zimi Trattoria, with its great selection of pizza and pastas and a lovely al fresco dining atmosphere.
I was up very early and watched the sun come up over the pool. One by one everyone else made their way out to join me, to enjoy the wonderful breakfast platter (delivered every morning). We spent the morning here – swimming and sunbathing and just taking in the beauty of the location. It was very hard to drag ourselves away to get ready for the short trip to the airport and it was with heavy hearts that we boarded our flight back home. Our most amazing Aphrodite Hills adventure had ended, but with many memories to keep and treasure.