Anassa, an exquisite resort on the north-west coast of Cyprus, sits prettily on the edge of the scenic Akamas Peninsula National Park.
The hotel is famous for its crystal clear Mediterranean waters, vast gardens and unbelievably chic design involving serious sea views and a pleasing amount of very expensive marble. Come for the winter sun, stay for the sheer bliss of this level of luxury, says Anna Van Praagh
Anassa’s award-winning Thalassa Spa, based on a Roman-style health retreat, offers a wide range of therapies, from one-off treatments to 10-day detox programmes. There’s a heavenly indoor pool and a wondrous thalassotherapy Jacuzzi. Add in a deep tissue massage by super masseuse Jadwiga, who will pummel you until you feel 10 years younger, and you won’t even remember the word Covid-19. Damn, she’s good.
A boat trip to the Blue Lagoon is pretty much mandatory. There are precious few places in Europe where you’ll find water so turquoise. A trip down miles of dust tracks to Lara beach is also a must. Consider hiring a Jeep for this, although I did it in a Nissan Micra rental car and it was fine (just about). The beach, hemmed in by mountains, is pretty epic.
The resort has plenty of perfectly appointed swimming pools and is set on a picturesque bay with its own watersports centre offering activities such as paddle-boarding and paragliding. If sunning yourself on a four-poster lounger while waiters bring you cocktails is your thing this place will work very nicely for you, too. But you’re right beside a national park, so pick up a bike from the hotel and go for an adventure — or allow the hotel to put together a delectable hamper for a picnic in the hills.
The hotel takes its dining very seriously and has a right to be proud of its many restaurants, which include the romantic, gourmet Asian fusion Basiliko and the al fresco fine-dining restaurant, Helios. A special calendar of beach-side BBQs and Cypriot village fairs celebrating local culture is on offer throughout the season: don’t leave before trying the absurdly delicious bouillabaisse. A scenic drive east, overlooking the dreamy port of Pomos, is Kanalli fish restaurant, where for €19 you can feast on the seafood special of mussels, clams, crab claws and sea bream.
B&B garden view rooms at Anassa start £423 based on two people sharing (anassa.com). British Airways flies to Paphos, Cyprus, from London Heathrow and Gatwick from £88 return (britishairways.com)