Our faces are kissed by a cooling breeze, as we lie down on the sumptuous outdoor sofas at the Notios Restaurant. The children’s’ hair is still damp from swimming. That’s hardly surprising, as there are hardly a dozen steps from the pool to any of the three restaurants. The grilled octopus, special kiddie pizzas and a giant platter of Sushi – courtesy of a Japanese chef – are all delicious. The stunning view of Paphos Bay helps to heighten the atmosphere.
Almyra being ranked highly on a culinary ‘coolness’ scale is no wonder. Ashley Goddard, our welcoming general manager, used to be a chef himse lf. His words ooze passion, as he explains his plan to turn the 5-star hotel Almyra into an essential foodie destination: “We want our guests to feel completely comfortable, and delicious good food, in a relaxed atmosphere is a huge part of that.” The children take to the combination of Mediterranean and Asian food, too, and ask for a second helping, which is rather out of character for them.
For anyone who visits Almyra sans children, and who’d love to escape the school holiday crowds which can flood the hotel, there is relief to be found in the separate – and closed for under-18s – spa with infinity pool and gym, a place with an unforgettable sea view for anyone working up a sweat. Exercise is a key part of Almyra. They even have their own swimming and triathlon coach. Even guests who are less inclined to competitive exercise, can be spotted cautiously swimming lengths across the secluded bay in front of the hotel.
Almyra has quite a Zen vibe in its design. Wide loungers with oversized white sun umbrellas line the green-coloured stone-hewn pool, evoking the look of an on-trend Miami beach club. It is, however, a beach club with little spades floating in the water and children licking away at their ice lollies. Almyra stops just shy of being the ultimate design heaven-on-earth; the main building is a square cube of a building, a familiar sight in many a concrete-clad holiday village. The difference is that it is paired with visually more pleasing separate pavilions. You could almost assume the retro-look to be intentional.
Those very pavilions are where you find the roomy Kyma suites. Their special bonus is a shared roof terrace, with concrete lounge sofas and enormous white cushions to match. Perfect for an evening drink, particularly at sunset.
The cool factor aside, this is truly a family hotel. In order make life easier for all those visiting parents, not just during their stay but beforehand, too, the hotel is famed for its ‘Baby Go Lightly’ programme. You can book ahead all the possible accoutrements which you need for your infants, so that you needn’t overextend yourself with your luggage en route. And they really do mean everything you could possible need: from a buggy through to diapers. Just let the hotel know in advance, and they will have it all ready for you when you arrive.
The English-speaking experienced nannies of the Globetrotters Club are experts at keeping children aged 4 months to 2 years happy with age- and weather-appropriate entertainment. The great Adventurers Club is for children aged 3 years to 4 years, with creative, locally inspired activities such as designing their own mosaics, baking Cypriot cakes and playing traditional Cypriot games in the garden. Then there's the fantastic Voyagers Club for children aged 5 years to 7 years; a team keeps them busy in an interactive programme of cultural and sporting activities from Cypriot dance moves to beach visits. For children aged 8 years to 12 years Almyra offersthe Pioneers Club, with a programme of resort-wide sports and activities. And finally there's Escape: a dedicated hangout for 13-18 year olds featuring a pool/table, tennis table, air hockey, Nintendo wii and darts as well as a chill out area for catching up with friends. All clubs are open 11 month a year, and in winter it is on request.
Almyra is located in tourist hotspot Paphos; hardly the epicentre of good taste, though there is a wealth of little shops where you can browse the pretty wares on offer. You must remember to visit the famous Ancient Roman mosaic, a short walk from Almyra along the wide promenade. Though you will find plenty to do in the hotel and in Paphos, if you feel like a change, a 20-minute drive will bring you to small, but enjoyable zoo.
# Modern design, every single detail seems to have been considered. However, everything is functional, so there is no reason to feel like you’re staying at a modern art museum.
# Exceptionally friendly and very laid-back staff. Children are immediately recognised and addressed by name. When our daughter needed a bandage on her tiny injury, three members of staff joined in to jokingly help each other put it onto her knee.
# Delicious food in the various restaurants. The Ouzeri tavern, on a floating pontoon in the sea, serves the best Mezze all day long. A range of small tasty bites, which never fail to please, and are delightful to children and adults alike.