Gardens of Irini

Beylerbeyi/Bellapais village, Kyrenia, Cyprus

Cottage Plaque

By Marc Dubin, your Kyrenia expert

I write for AA Spiral Guides, Berlitz .... Read more
#7 of 7
expert-rated hotels in Kyrenia
Expert overall rating:4.2 out of 5
Location:
4.3
4.3
Bedrooms:
3.8
3.8
Eating/drinking:
4.5
4.5
Public areas:
4.1
4.1
Leisure facilities:
0
N/A
Service:
4.6
4.6
Value for money:
3.9
3.9
Recommended for:
Couples, Culture vultures, Foodies, Seasoned travellers, Design and architecture, History, Relaxation, Sightseeing

Expert review of Gardens of Irini

Bohemian Bellapais redolent with Durrellian associations

During the early 1950s, John and Vivian Guthrie were the first foreigners to buy property in abbey-graced Bellapais; both early-retired doctors, he was a composer while she painted. Their daughter Deirdre effectively grew up here; there’s a photo of her aged 13, taken by Lawrence Durrell who was a firm family friend. Both parents died young, and Deirdre came back from America in 1987 to sort things out – and stayed. The ancestral homestead, with modifications, has now become a unique B&B, with some of Vivian’s artwork still adorning the walls. Deirdre has led an even more interesting life – including a long sojourn as a flamenco dancer in 1960 Spain – and is an excellent raconteur.

Location: 

Near the top of the ravine bounding the village on the east, some 100m beyond the house which Lawrence Durrell made famous in his book Bitter Lemons.

Bedrooms: 

Just two: The Studio, originally Vivian’s workshop, and Lily Cottage. The Studio comprises a separate, fully equipped kitchen, and a bedsit room with en suite bath. Lily Cottage, once a villager’s dwelling, has a large bedsit area upstairs with kitchen and bathroom downstairs. Don’t expect contemporary touches – these are 1960s-to-1980s time capsules. Wall-mounted air con and heating are on the funky side – the latter provided by catalytic gas-can units – and there are no curtains; you close the shutters at night before falling asleep to the cries of owls.

Check availability and compare prices for Gardens of Irini

Public areas: 

Two courtyards: one with outdoor seating, where paint trim and cushions match the colours of Deirdre’s flamenco dress – which has pride of place in the ex-gallery kitchen – the other beyond the studio cottage, more vegetated, where a small fountain trickles at the centre. It’s relatively cool during summer owing to the ravine-side setting, though can be dank in winter. You need to like animals – there may be up to 5 dogs and 24 cats in residence at any given time.

Eating and drinking: 

Breakfasts, at whatever (reasonable) hour you arrange, emerge from the ex-gallery, aka the Guthrie Bistro; they’re among the best I’ve had in Cyprus, with fresh fruit and choice of teapot or cafetière coffee. Light snacks and drinks are served all day from 10am to 6pm; bespoke suppers (by the gallery fireside in winter) are by appointment for parties of up to 12, at £22 per head.

Leisure facilities: 

None – not the point of the place.

Service: 

Excellent, at least for breakfast. Deirdre can also arrange local car hire and help with flights.

Check availability and compare prices for Gardens of Irini

Who stays there: 

People who’ve found it through my guidebook, word-of-mouth referrals, or chance passers-by, who come for a drink or snack and then arrange to stay later.
 

Price advice: 

Weekly rates of £280 self catering per studio compare to nightly rates of £60, B&B. Longer stay-rates by arrangement.

Pros: 
One-to-one service from hostess
Unique atmosphere
Cons: 
No WiFi
Tricky street parking

More information on Gardens of Irini:

Type:
Bed & Breakfast
Address:
Beylerbeyi/Bellapais village, Kyrenia, Cyprus
Amenities:
Pets Allowed, Restaurant

Have you been to Gardens of Irini? Would you recommended it?