Cyprus hotels

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expert-rated hotels in Cyprus
Expert overall rating:4.5 (out of 5)

This grand lady of a certain age still appeals to many

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Hundreds of thousands of visitors visit Cyprus annually, which owing to its southeasterly location has a long season by Mediterranean standards. Traditionally most accommodation was arranged as part of an all-inclusive package – something long mandated by Greek Cypriot law concerning how air tickets could be sold – but with massive changes affecting the travel industry in recent years, including the advent of low-cost airlines, this is no longer the case.

Cyprus has lately had to make an effort to remain competitive as a destination, and the breeze-block or waffle-iron hotels that were thrown up during the 1970s and early 1980s are slowly giving way to more thoughtful hotels and inns of all types. Every resort has at least one high-end boutique hotel or inn, occupying either historic buildings or a completely revamped modern one. Often they have a spa/wellness centre as a centrepiece; some of these are absolutely stunning visually.

In the countryside away from the beaches, many inns or self-catering houses have been meticulously restored from old buildings under the aegis (in the south of the island) of the Cyprus Agrotourism Company. Most of these are excellent value, but can require long advance booking as they may not be permanently attended, or are very popular – you usually can’t just drive up on spec.

Things to consider when booking

  • In the south, prices are apt to be more reasonable during shoulder season (May–early June and September–early November). The weather then, to my mind, is ideal compared to summer – not too hot but with a swimmable sea. You are also more likely to find a vacancy, though desirable hotels can suddenly get packed out at any time by anything from wedding parties to foreign sports teams on a winter training trip to NATO troops from Afghanistan on R&R break.
  • Cypriot hotels are almost universally overrated by the standards of the wider world – a five-star hotel in Cyprus 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, hotel staff are increasingly from other new EU member-states, in particular central Europe, Ukraine and the Russian Federation. It is entirely possible to spend your entire stay without conversing with a Cypriot.
  • Outdoor pools across the island 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.
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I’ve used my two decades of visiting Cyprus for guidebook research, and my extensive network of contacts there, to keep abreast of hotel trends. One of these is plainly evident – problematic establishments have either gone bust, upgraded themselves or been converted to apartments for sale to overseas second-home buyers.

Beyond the 46 establishments listed across the seven resort areas are various others I’m keeping an eye on with the intent to include in the future, if necessary by replacing the current listings. For the moment, I’ve included a broad range of places in terms of price, intended clientele (young couples, families with kids, mature travellers) and also facilities – everything from small mountain inns to self-contained beachside resorts.

Aside from that, I have certain other criteria. My picks need to be open all (or at least most of the) year, and to have somebody at the front desk or at least within hailing distance constantly. Many seaside hotels have taken to closing between November and some time in April, a regrettable development that’s only occasionally an opportunity to upgrade premises. I’ve excluded all-inclusive-only resorts, because the food is often dire and their existence has killed off numerous independent tavernas in the immediate area. And I’ve given preference, where known, to ethical/green restoration projects with a commitment to sustainability – a pressing issue on an island where all fuel must be imported and droughts are a regular occurrence.

Simonseeks has given star ratings out of five for all accommodation recommendations. With hotels, these will tally with the hotel's official star rating where it exists. Where a hotel has no official star rating, and in the case of b & bs and hostels, the experts have made a judgment as to how many stars the accommodation deserves, in terms of comfort, level of facilities and so forth.