Crusader Road, Beylerbeyi/Bellapais, Kyrenia, Cyprus
- Recommended for:
- Couples, Culture vultures, Foodies, Honeymooners, Mature travellers, Art, Great views / scenery, No fuss, Romance, Sightseeing
Best for Food - Expert review of Bellapais Gardens
Management here could be complacent and let the location sell itself, but instead there have been regular overhauls since 2005 as they eschew the usual north-Cypriot whistles and bells of casino or spa to concentrate on the basics: high-standard room appointment, excellent food and top-drawer service. Officially Bellapais Gardens is a “special class” hotel, which doesn’t tell you that much: I give it 3.5 stars for dining and lodging standards, 2.5 stars to leisure facilities and common areas.
Unbeatable – rolling down the slope just below Bellapais Abbey, with uninterrupted views over the coastal plain towards Turkey.
17 hillside units are mostly two-storey, with a few on single level. Bathrooms, redone in 2010, are state-of-the-art, with wall-mounted shower in a large cubicle, granite sink counters, attractive stone or tile facing, complimentary robes/slippers and shelving in all the right places. In the sleeping/sitting areas, dark-wood trim and furniture contrasts with mostly white soft furnishings and pale marble or veneer flooring A fridge (not a “minibar”) is yours to stock; WiFi signal reaches all units.
The fireplace lounge, strewn with Turkish carpets and antiques, is a popular venue for a pre-dinner drink. The restaurant enjoys180° views over ravine greenery to the horizon. There is ample parking – sometimes right next to the cottages; a major bugbear in Bellapais.
The main restaurant ranks among northern Cyprus’s best – you have to book as there’s a substantial non-resident clientele, especially at weekends. Breakfast features omelettes or bacon-and-eggs cooked to order, proper cafetière coffee, and a wide variety of fruits extending to strawberries or pineapples in season. Supper comprises nouvelle Cypriot or continental dishes matched with products of the single north Cypriot microwinery; allow 50TL (about 23 euros) a head, plus drink.
A large, spring-fed (and unheated) swimming pool, with a bar serving snacks, huddles at the base of the abbey rock.
Multilingual partner-proprietors Steve (Sabri) Abit, his brother and nephew have a knack for picking and retaining good staff, for whom nothing is too much trouble, and who are soon on first-name basis with guests. Hassle-free pickups from Larnaca or Ercan airport arranged, also early breakfast available for early departures.
Mostly middle-aged English and Germans, often in special interest groups (Steve does good tours across the island), often repeat clientele. No under-16s accepted.
Rates hover in the 130–160 euro range for most of the year. The place tends not to show up on booking engines.
More information on Bellapais Gardens:
- Crusader Road, Beylerbeyi/Bellapais, Kyrenia, Cyprus
- High-Speed Internet, Parking, Restaurant, Swimming Pool