From first meeting my, now fiancée, he kept going on about Cyprus and Coral Bay and that he had the best holiday ever there. This apparently topped Florida, Disney World and Vegas… the last one had me curious. So after 15 maybe 20 holidays later we finally booked Cyprus. But this time we agreed to go to Paphos. The main reason being that his family have a friend there who is a jeweller and has designed all the engagement and wedding rings for the family. I was under strict orders to visit him and quite frankly you never say no to the due to be mother-in-law, unless you want to be single pretty darn quickly.
Anyway, after 4 and a half hours of the worst flight I have ever been on; there was turbulence was from the minute we took off from Gatwick until we landed. We arrived at night and after a 20 minute private transfer, I think we booked with Thomson who organised this for us, and it wasn’t long until we were being shown our room. We had booked the Hotel Annabelle, now due to having stayed at the 5* Baia Lara Hotel my expectations were high, you can read my short review of the Baia Lara to understand why. The room was a little dated, but we had the most homely welcome upon arrival to a hotel; there were refreshments in the room of fresh fruit and water. After that flight, I needed a drink so we decided to head to the harbour and have a little stroll.
When you first get out of the hotel and head to the harbour, you are approached by young lads trying to entice you into Bar Street. As a young couple we must of looked like fresh meat, they didn’t approach older couples. But a simple no and they walked off so nothing to really worry about and they never approached those with children. We found a little bar on the corner where it was still happy hour and we, well I, took full advantage of it. From here we saw Paphos castle and I instantly fell in love, we left exploring it to another day which you can read about in another post on the castle. After a few drinks, we took a stroll around and found more restaurants and tavernas where the locals seemed to position themselves, so they were all added to our list for when we decided to dine out.
Drinks, now this became a bit of a love hate relationship with the hotel’s prices as they were more expensive than the harbour. They didn’t have an all inclusive option and an iced coffee was in the region of 5 euros. But I found a Starbucks across the road so I would spend my mornings eating breakfast; to which Hotel Annabelle had a wonderful selection of fresh omlettes made to your request, fresh fruit and juice and so much food your eyes would pop, then darting across the road for a skinning grande latte.
The pool bar at the hotel was amazing with polite and friendly staff. The area has lots of sun, but with some shading so if you want to hide out from the sun for a while you can do so; it’s also great if you’re travelling with children as there is a small cave by the bar to hideout in. The hot spot was a little ledge in front of the bar where the most golden brown GODS would walk away from. So I made my mark there daily and needless to say came home looking like a different culture.
Whilst we were there, they were holding a wedding, and to say it was stunning is an understatement. Hotel Annebelle decorated the exterior grounds beautifully. With rose petals over a walk bridge and flowers all over with the glistening ocean as a backdrop; it really was just perfect. If you’re looking for a wedding venue in Cyprus, I would definitely suggest this hotel, just based on how the staff looked after us and we were just their normal holiday guests. You also get a baggage increase, we know this as we accidentally received the grooms call stating they increased their allowance for their return flight; perfect for taking back those extra presents!
We spent most days by the pool, walking along the beach and dining out for lunch. But we had a cooler day so decided to visit the jeweller and check out the town. It’s a long walk and it didn’t stay cool for long… about 15 minutes. We were no where near a bus stop nor did we know where the taxi rank was. So sweating more and more as we ventured up hill, practically downing ice poles, we arrived at Marias Jewellers. Considering this was a jewellers and we were potentially looking for my engagement ring, I looked a state. So much so even I wouldn’t propose to me. After a couple of hours, he showed me his latest design and it was “the one”. A year later and hand delivered I was presented with a beautiful ring, the band I chose with a diamond my fiancée hand-picked, of course I said yes; I’d been waiting 7 years for him to ask me to marry him!
After the shopping we stopped at a little taverna and had lunch, luckily my Greek came in handy as nothing was in English. The view was stunning – we could see right across the bay. After cooling down we headed back to the hotel and found a restaurant that was voted as #1 on Trip Advisor. So he suggested we walk there as it was “just down the road”; this is why we never listen to men. A mere 1 hour and 15/20 minutes later we were still walking. To be fair, we were strolling so we could have done it in about 45 but that is not the point. Ladies and Gents, when you do not know an area, get a cab! When we arrived at Ficardo, we were welcomed with a trail of candles and seated to a candle lit table. The food was some of the best I’ve ever tasted and the wine and desserts… wow. I left there a stone heavier and very happy. The long walk home was definitely needed.
As you may have guessed by now I love history; the stories behind cultures, artefacts and what’s made us who we are today. And to find out that the hotel was steeped in history, made me extremely excited. They had chests dating back to 1800’s, vases, plates and statues all on display. I went off exploring much like a kid in a candy shop.
We spent the next few days just completely relaxing by the pool and were looked after extremely well by all the hotel staff, so much so they changed our room without a question and moved all bags for us, upgrading us to a full sea view room… with a view of the castle. The only thing I didn’t do and a reason as to why I want to go back is see the Tomb of Kings. The holiday was so relaxed it was indescribable and to date has been one of the best holidays we have been on together. Also… for those who want to get married abroad, you can get married in the castle for under 2,000 euros including 15/20 guests, not that I have researched this.
If you haven’t been to Paphos before, then I suggest you visit it on your next holiday. Like me, you may never want to go back home.