Travel: Postcard from Cyprus

Soon-to-be first-time parents Elysha Krupp and her husband head to Cyprus to suss out what a baby-friendly hotel is really like

When my husband and I decided to try a baby-friendly getaway I was becoming acutely aware – at over seven months pregnant – that my life was about to irrevocably change. It was just the two of us this time but soon we’d be three and our hectic travel routine would change dramatically. I wanted to know how the other half lived before then – were baby-friendly hotels all screaming toddlers and pool pavement sticky from popsicles half-eaten and melting in the sun? Or was there any glam to this brave new world I’d soon find myself in?

Off we went to Cyprus’s Almyra Hotel & Spa, a luxury family friendly hotel on the southwest coast of the island. About a 15-minute drive from Paphos and a four-hour flight from London, it’s a quick trip if you’re after guaranteed autumn/winter sun.

Image4Upon arrival I stood looking out over the sea from the lobby and breathed a sigh of relief. The family-friendly pool and poolside bar was just below me with the sea a few metres beyond. Olive trees and sun loungers snaked throughout the property’s vast lawn, providing shade to couples and families brunching at the main restaurant Mosaics and, a few metres beyond, for kids playing among the grass next to the pool. It’s all very Amalfi-esque without the pressure that if your baby started screaming you’d have to slink sulkily back to your room.

The family checking in next to us had taken advantage of the hotel’s Baby-Go-Lightly service and pre-ordered all their infant essentials before arriving – it’s around a 50% mark-up, but it does conserve precious luggage allowances. The port is only 700m away and just off a popular coastal path, within walking distance of most shops and restaurants and having great views back to the harbour. So if you’re craving the kind of R&R where you literally don’t leave the hotel for three days, no one will judge you (we did just this). But if you want to take a walk to get some ice cream or need a pharmacy close by, you’re covered.

Image3Despite Almyra’s size – hosting two pools, four restaurants, and an adults-only spa, it feels surprisingly intimate. We stayed in one of the hotel’s bright open-plan Kyma Suites on the seafront, with a private terraced lawn, close enough to hear the gentle lapping of the waves (‘kyma’ in Cypriot).

We spotted a few young families but equally young couples and older groups (in cooler months the hotel plays host to triathletes who come to train in the mild climate). With a kids’ club on the premises during high season, we’ve already discussed returning with our little one when he arrives. This time, though, we ventured off to the seafront restaurant, Ouzeri, for a light lunch of Greek dips (hummus, tzatziki, Taramosalata), warm bread and Greek salad. There’s been a new French chef in place since 2015 so you can equally enjoy a tasty souvlaki as you can a homemade pasta with fresh lobster. Watching the sunset from our table I was sure I never wanted to head home.

Image2The next day I went straight to the adults-only AlmyraSpa and pool area. My Mother-To-Be Indulgence treatment (€145 for 90 minutes) completely rejuvenated me, comprising a 60-minute full body massage incorporating lavender- and chamomile-infused oils to induce relaxation, followed by a 30-minute nourishing rose essence facial. The spa personnel (including a personal trainer on call) are extremely professional and properly trained and, after having a look around the sauna, steam room, Vichy showers, yoga deck, mani-pedi station, hair salon, and heated indoor pool, I was convinced I could have been at a luxury spa in central London. I spent the rest of the day by the outdoor infinity pool and had a very un-Greek but delicious lunch at the poolside restaurant, Eauzone: a club sandwich.

With that our short weekend getaway was coming to an end, but one thing was for sure: I was leaving certain I could do this with a baby, and maybe even come away more relaxed than when I’d arrived.