Accommodation at Kyrenia consists not only of numerous in-town hotels of all grades – some of it basic indeed, aimed at mainland Turkish shoppers and parents of soldiers stationed here – but scores of tourist complexes, both east and west of the city, along the coast or up in the foothills. The resort strip effectively ends, on the west, at Lapta (Lapithos) and to the east at Çatalköy (Ayios Epiktitos), though ribbon development is now sprouting further along in hitherto unexploited territory, spurred by road improvements. To my mind, the inland properties – for example Bellapais Gardens and The Hideaway Club – are superb, and well offset the minus of not being behind a beach.
Boutique hotels, old-house inns and restoration projects are a relatively new concept in northern Cyprus, but are beginning to catch on, specifically in the hills around Kyrenia and out on the Karpas peninsula. Most of these – for example the Karpaz Arch Houses – are excellent value, but can require long advance booking, especially at weekends.
Things to consider when booking:
● Prices in north Cyprus, curiously, are often slightly lower in July and August than in spring and autumn – that’s because summers in and around Kyrenia tend to be extremely humid as well as hot. Conditions are more comfortable during shoulder season (May–June & Sept–Oct). Desirable hotels can suddenly get packed out at any time by anything from wedding parties to Greek Cypriots making a trip up to the Karpas in particular.
● North Cypriot hotels are almost universally overrated by the standards of the wider world – a five-star hotel here would generally rate only four stars elsewhere, a four-star establishment just three (or maybe three-and-a-half). I make happy exceptions to this pattern clear in my recommendations.
● In recent years, north-Cypriot hotel staff are increasingly from the central Asian republics of the ex-USSR, Azerbaijan,Turkey and Pakistan, as well as from EU member-states in central Europe, Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Inevitably a few of the foreign staff are grumpy, but most are excellent – and amazingly multilingual.
● Outdoor pools are almost always unheated, which makes them effectively unusable from November to April. The sea is often warmer.
● Breakfast is almost always included in the room price (except in self-catering facilities), and is generally worth taking.