The Amara hotel in Cyprus boasts everything you need for a laidback luxe holiday
When it comes to Cyprus, one tends to think of package all-inclusive family holidays to crowded beach resorts in the sunshine, or all night-partying for the 18-30’s crowd, but in recent years the island is being rediscovered as a deluxe destination with a burgeoning food and wine scene. One of the jewels in Cyprus’ luxury hotel market is undoubtedly the five star AMARA on the Northeast coast of Limassol. This chic, coastal haven is an alternative destination to UK travellers seeking a laidback luxe retreat from the hustle and bustle of more popular coastal resorts such as Pernera or the infamous clubbing capital, Ayia Napa.
Opened in June 2019, the stunning property, designed by Architects, David Rockwell Studio and WA Interiors mixes sleek Asian-inspired design whilst honouring its proximity to an archaeological site dating back to 1100 BC and known as the most significant ancient city kingdom in Cyprus. (For the budding classical historian, according to mythology, the site was founded by King Kiniras and it was here where Thesus left pregnant Ariadne to be cared for after the battle with e Minotaur.) The ancient ruins are incorporated throughout the hotel and are particularly visible in the gorgeous spa (more on which later.) The magnificent entrance of the property feels simultaneously grand but also instantly makes one feel serene and relaxed. Entering through an oasis of ancient olive trees and tropical plants, surrounded by water you are guided to the sweeping and extraordinarily triple-aspect lobby overlooking the infinity pools and out to the volcanic beaches beyond. And of course, the warm welcome of the supremely kind and helpful staff.
Who is Amara For?
It caters for everyone: from families to business travellers or couples, it would also make a fabulous destination for a girls’ weekend away. Within easy reach of either Paphos or Larnaca airports, the hotel is enough of a destination in itself to be enjoyed even out of season in winter, which is when I travelled there.
If you are there with a family, Amara offers a kids club 7 days a week as well as babysitting services and a great selection of water sports in the high season. There is also a water park a mere 10 kilometres outside Limassol, which the concierge can easily arrange day trips to.
What does Amara offer for foodies?
Where to start? Prepare to leave the Amara a little heavier than when you arrive (unless you make daily use of the fantastic gym of course) because the food is some of the best I have tasted in Europe. With two of the biggest names in Michelin starred world-cuisine attached to the hotel: Nobu Matsuhisa and Giorgio Locatelli, you will understand why I say it’s some of the best food I’ve ever tasted. The hotel has 5 dining experiences: Matsuhisa Limassol, serving the unique Japanese-Peruvian fusion that has become so associated with Nobu and boasts a whiskey bar for private events and a Teppanyaki Table, the famous open Japanese grill that is open twice a week. Some highlights from this menu include Yellow Tail, Jalapeno and Caviar, Salmon and Shitake with Miso and Wagyu Beef with Wasabi. Nobu’s legendary Black cod must not be missed. Then with a more European offering, is the Ristorante Locatelli which has a more simple, Mediterranean / Italian menu with homemade pasta and delicious risotto all with outside seaside dining. I particularly enjoyed the roast monkfish. Armyra by Papaioannou is an open-air seafood and restaurant serving the freshest of fish with favourites on the menu including, grilled tuna fillet with aubergine puree and seaweed cracker and ginger sauce or wild fish fillet with Salicornia and spicy sea urchin sauce. As we experienced, the hotel can even arrange for you to visit the nearby fish market in the morning to choose from the freshly caught haul what you wish to eat for dinner that night. All day dining is where you will find breakfast and lunch, the more low-key, family friendly dining space with indoor and outdoor seating and The Dining Room, equally low-key serves more traditional Cypriot food.