A big smile underscores the words of Thanos Michaelides, “We see guests and staff as one big family”, and his hands make a gesture encompassing all of idyllic 5-star Anassa. His very own Anassa. One of the three hotels which make up the family business his father once founded, and which Michaelides himself and his sister now run together. As we sit at a table on the Pelagos terrace – one of the four restaurants within the resort grounds – his sociable personality is never out of touch with his staff and passing guests.
“We encourage our staff to stay true to themselves, we want them to be authentic no matter what. Obviously, we do train them in a range of skills, but letting them use their own mind is absolutely key.” A beautiful seabass and delicious Carpaccio are set before us. Two suntanned little boys come to greet us politely. “These are my nephews, maybe they will be the owners one day” Michaelides smiles.
To be sure, there are worse places for a child to grow up. Anyone staying at this resort feels like the king or queen of Cyprus. By no means a coincidence, as Anassa is the Greek word for queen. The drive through the grounds, the reception in a spacious lobby, it all adds up to a feeling of being in an exceptional place. The real sense of magnificence doesn’t hit you until you are on the balcony of your condo or villa. Anassa is situated at the feet of the gently lapping Mediterranean waves, on the shores of the Akámas Peninsula. The peninsula itself has been nominated to become a national park. The area can only be reached by boat (for rent on the resort beach), or 4-WD, and is stunningly beautiful.
Before the resort was built in 1996, this plot was a cheap piece of building land with a handful of olive trees. They have been carefully incorporated, interspersing the impressive congregation of white buildings. When you spy the golf cars, you can be sure: this is a sprawling set-up. It is never overwhelming, though; the beautiful garden with its bounty of flowers is a softly rolling backdrop for the various low buildings, and brings harmony to the whole area. Luxurious is an understated description; this is surely what a royal family experiences on holiday.
Not in the mood for exploring? The resort itself has plenty to offer you. Its pleasant vibe means that families with children feel particularly at home. First of all, there are an impressive four different swimming pools. A specially heated outdoor pool (for children), two additional pools in that same stunning garden, connected by a waterway, and an indoor pool to round things off, situated in the same building as the spa and gym. Children are only allowed there during morning hours.
The level of service is unparalleled; the staff-per-guest ratio is virtually one-to-one. Breakfast, in particular, showcases this fact (‘Look Daddy, 26 sorts of jam!’); staffers recognise you after a day and greet you cordially. Service is top-of-mind for them, but thankfully there is none of the stiff obsequiousness which is often part of the five-star hotel experience. Two of the restaurants offer special children’s menus, where dining is possible from 5.30 pm and where there are colouring books and more, to engage the little ones. Speaking of engaging: the smoothly running junior entertainment club offers a range of activities for three different age groups, from tiny tots of 4 months up to hyperactive teens. Graffiti workshops, beach treasure hunts, table tennis tournaments and many other activities ensure that parents are able to enjoy their reading time guilt-free. The best spot to do just that is the amazing and enormous roof terrace, where Takis, the head bartender is never without a smile, as he clearly revels in his reign of the bar. You must try his famous ‘Rose Petal Mojito’, or any of the other six ‘signature cocktails’ on offer. Then lean back in the soft loungers on the terrace and watch the sun drop behind the horizon. Could life be any more perfect?
# Stunning location on one of Cyprus’ most beautiful beaches.
# More than enough entertainment on site, for children and parents alike.
# Luxurious atmosphere throughout the guest rooms and all of the resort, without the design being over the top or overdone – picture lots of white, cream with a hint of blue.
# The beachside water sports centre has small speedboats for rent, amongst other things. Contrary to common (our) expectation, you are allowed to take these out without having a navigation licence, a regular driving licence is sufficient. Do make sure to carefully study the map provided, because of shallow pockets, on both sides, where you could run aground in the coral – not what you want to happen by any means.
This destination can be booked through The Leading Hotels of the World.