After I had two kids, I thought my luxury hotel experiences with family were over – at least until the kids were much older. Then we went to the Anassa in Cyprus and I realized that I could have it again at a hotel… five-star luxury with all the conveniences needed when travelling with children. It was as though a fairy godmother had waved a magic wand over a luxury resort and sprinkled family-friendly fairy dust everywhere.
The picture in my mind I keep returning to is relaxing on a white queen-size daybed draped in airy white cloths to provide just the right amount of shade, while a waiter brought me a cocktail, roasted nuts, and cooling washcloth, all while watching my children play in the pool at my feet which was stocked with pool toys.
The Anassa has a collection of “best family hotel” awards, and it is easy to see why. The differences begin way before you arrive. First of all, there is a huge selection of different family rooms. They have not only suites and villas but also interconnecting rooms which you confirm at the time of booking, a rarity, especially among European hotels. Second, the Anassa offers what it calls “Baby Go Lightly” service. This feature allows you to pre-book a wide array of baby and child necessities, meaning that you have to bring much less with you. Their website states:
“available items include: car seat for airport transfers, potties, training seats, high chairs, carriers, buggies, bottles and teats, sterilisers, bottle warmers, baby gyms, baby walkers, baby bathtubs, dry/swimming nappies, nappy bins, toiletries (including baby lotion, powder and wet wipes), swimming aids, crayons, colouring books and a range of story books and DVDs in various languages. If you think of anything else, just let us know!”
While there is a charge for some items, such as renting strollers or having them provide baby food and diapers, much of it is provided at no cost. Some items included in the price are car seats for taxis, cribs, baby gyms, story books, and even nightly delivery of cookies and milk for the kids.
Upon arrival, it became even more apparent how great the resort was going to be for families. Our room was already set up with the crib and baby-changing table we had requested. We also found that the bathrobes in the room were sized for our family (two adult and two of the most adorable kiddie bathrobes I’d ever seen!). They also left sand toys and English-language story books.
We had booked the most basic accommodation offered for the four of us, which was two interconnecting rooms. This was plenty of space, and each room had its own balcony. There were also fridges in each room (essential for all my kids’ snacks and food), and they even provided a special blocker so that no one could accidently lock the door between the two rooms.
While we were at the Anassa for only 4 days, we really enjoyed the activities. We spent most of our time at the beach and pool. I was pleasantly surprised, as was my son, to find a giant box of community beach and pool toys to borrow. The beach was lined in European style with comfortable loungers and umbrellas to provide plenty of shade. One downside is that the beach, instead of being sandy, is filled with tiny pebbles. I would recommend bringing water shoes to keep out little pebbles, as flip flops did little to protect our feet. There are also several pools, the smaller of which served as an unofficial kiddie pool.
The Anassa has a great kids club, which accepts kids from 4-months old. There is a fee for using the club, but it is reasonable. We dropped our kids off one afternoon while my husband and I rented a jet ski from the water sports center on the beach. We then jet skied to the surrounding coves along the neighboring national park. There were beautiful bays to explore and snorkel in, and it was an activity I would highly recommend. From the water sports center we also hired kayaks and took them out in the waters in front of the resort.
The resort also has a lovely spa which offers an assortment of treatments, including junior treatments. There are a variety of sports available such as golf, tennis, and squash. I had wanted to rent quad bikes to explore the Akamas Peninsula National Park that borders the resort, but time ran out. You can also go sailing or waterskiing.
There are a number of dining options at the resort ranging from family-friendly buffets, to lovely outdoor dining patios, and adults-only gourmet restaurants. We found the food to be good, but quite expensive. We enjoyed driving to nearby Latchi and dining at the local restaurants. We had some delicious and very reasonably priced seafood at one of the many waterfront restaurants. On another evening we enjoyed some authentic Cypriot cuisine at a local taverna.
The level of service throughout the resort is impressive. For example, we had requested a babysitter for our two children every evening. They arranged the same lovely, English-speaking woman to be with us every night. At breakfast, the waitstaff was extremely friendly and helpful with the children. The overall level of service was consistently high.
I think any family looking for a relaxing quick getaway in Europe would find the Anassa to be a wonderful escape. There is plenty to do for all ages, and I believe it would be a relaxing experience for everyone.
A seven day, six night bed and breakfast package for 2 adults and 2 children in interconnecting rooms at the Anassa Resort in June 2017 starts at €3352.