Back in June, I attended an amazing event called #BloggersBall which was organised by Scarlett London. In between the copious amount of nibbles, drinks, mingling and networking, I grabbed a photo with the On the Beach stall and left my details with them. I let everything slip my mind just a few days later when I jetted of to Benidorm for a week, so imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail whilst I was in Alicante airport telling me that On the Beach had chosen to work with me and send me to Cyprus in October to review two of their hotels (and I even got to take my bestie Charlotte along too!)
Naturally, on the run up to my holiday, I eagerly told all of my friends and family about this incredible opportunity and not a single person uttered a bad word when I asked them what Cyprus was like, so as I counted down the days until my flight I couldn’t contain my excitement. (Though this excitement sadly didn’t propel me to pack my suitcase early, and so of course I found myself panicking and shoving all sorts into my suitcase last minute.)
Heading to Paphos
After a very early morning journey to East Midlands airport, courtesy of my boyfriend (thanks boo! 💕), time spent waiting for our flight flew by as we were treated to a VIP experience with World Duty Free complete with cocktails, chocolates, a makeover and goodies to take away with us, but you can hear more about that in a future post. Before we knew it, it was 6am and time to board the plane and head to Cyprus.
Jump forward five hours and we found ourselves landing in Paphos to be greeted by a blast of incredible heat and a bright blue sky – quite the contrast to the dull, rainy October we have in England. A half hour taxi ride up into the mountains took us to our first hotel of the week – Ayii Anargyri.
Nestled in a valley of greenery, the Ayii Anargyri resort was more a retreat than a hotel, and me and Charlotte fully committed to three days of calm and relaxation throughout our stay. Our days were spent around the tranquil pool with an occasional drink from the bar, whilst nighttime found us chilling out in our spacious bedroom watching films from the comfort of our extremely cosy bed.
Our accommodation for the three nights was a beautiful bungalow situated at the highest point of the resort, complete with an outdoor jacuzzi bath on the patio and a pond just next door. Whilst the walk up to our room set our calves burning, it was totally worth it for our amazing spot in the resort. A short walk down from the room took us straight down to the reception, spa and, of course, the pool. Being a calming spa resort, the pool was never overcrowded and oozed serenity, and so a cheeky little sun-lounger nap wasn’t a challenge in the slightest. I was told I didn’t snore…
We stayed at Ayii Anargyri on a half board basis and I found myself being introduced to an array of new foods. (Can you believe I’d never had halloumi before?!) Dinner was a set menu each night, and though I’m quite the fussy eater, staff were more than happy to tweak meals when I asked. Breakfast, on the other hand, was a combination of a hot menu and a continental buffet, and I had no complaints whatsoever. The displays were clean, colourful and very aesthetically pleasing, and I happily filled myself to the brim each and every morning as I sat by the pool.
Of course, staying in a spa resort, we decided it would be an absolute crime to leave without a treatment, and so on our last full day we indulged in a luxury deep tissue massage. We paid €70 each for an hours treatment, and we certainly weren’t disappointed. (Although – #confessiontime – we thought it was just a back massage, so it came as a bit of a shock when the ladies flipped the towel up and started on our bums!)
The spa itself was incredibly beautiful. Settled high within the mountains, we were treated to spectacular views on the outside, whilst inside boasted bright decor and a calm atmosphere, and the staff on hand were just as bright and happy to be of service. Our treatment was the stuff of dreams. I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite as content as I did during my massage, and I’m not exaggerating when I say to stay there all day would have been a pleasure.
The day we checked out of our room at Ayii Anargyri was a special day because it was my birthday! That’s right, I turned 24 in Cyprus this year. 😊 And despite being incredibly sad to leave the resort, we couldn’t be sad for too as long as we were heading on to the next hotel – Capital Coast Resort.
The lovely lady at the Ayii Anargyri reception desk organised a taxi for us and in just 40 mins we’d wound our way down the mountains and right down to the sea, ready for four nights at Capital Coast.
On arrival, we were in awe as soon as we stepped into the lobby. It was a beautifully grand room with gorgeous decor and sparkling chandeliers. We were half an hour early for check-in, but they still allowed us to go straight to our room without complaint, where we found a little surprise; the management had left me a birthday card and a bottle of wine as a gift – how sweet?! It made my first impressions of the hotel incredibly warm.
Falling in love
After dumping our bags and gawping at our magnificent room (which came complete with a kitchen, an ensuite, a lounge and a dining area!), the first thing we did was run out onto our balcony to find it overlooked the pool and the sea. And then I fell in love. I knew immediately that I was going to adore Capital Coast, and never want to leave. Our balcony allowed us to enjoy the pool from the comfort of our room as well as watch the magnificent sunset each and every night.
We wasted no time heading down to the pool to check out the facilities and, of course, sample the food and cocktails. The staff at the pool bar were incredibly lovely and the food was brought to our table incredibly quickly. After filling our tummies and sipping the last of our cocktails, we spent the rest of the afternoon soaking up rays and already anticipating how sad we would be to leave.
Each night and morning we had a buffet dinner and breakfast included in our stay. Breakfast was everything you’d expect from a hotel buffet and gave us a taste of home – scrambled eggs, beans, toast and jam, sausages, fruit and lots of coffee – so Charlotte and I were in our element! When dinnertime rolled around, we had different theme each night. This meant that food was never monotonous and we managed to try new things every night we ate. (All served by a very handsome waiter who brought us cocktails as well, which was a definite added bonus!)
A day of exploring
With Capital Coast being on the beach and thus closer to attractions, Charlotte and I planned a full day of sightseeing. The Tomb of Kings was just a 15 minute walk from our hotel, and another 40 minute walk after that took us straight to the Paphos Archaeological Park. We spent over 5 hours walking that day, and sadly I didn’t wear appropriate footwear. My feet still bear the blisters I obtained that day, so take note: wear good shoes when visiting these two attractions! However, the blisters were accompanied by some lovely and very Instagram worthy photos, so I can’t complain. A girl can’t have everything, right?
After exploring the archaeological park, my poor feet needed a rest, and so we stayed by Paphos harbour and sipped on a nice cold glass of cola and a refreshing peach iced tea. There was plenty going on as the afternoon passed through to the evening including bars, water sports, shopping and a party boat that we totally wanted to join in with, but instead we sat back and watched the world go by until we were ready to head back. (Which, by the way, we did on bus. It turns out the bus system in Paphos is incredibly easy and cheap!)
Making a splash
Before we knew it, our last whole day in Cyprus was upon us, and so we made sure to take advantage of the water park that was just a bus ride away before jumping back on the bus for a ride to Coral Bay, a beach nearby to our hotel.
Aphrodite Waterpark was extremely easy to get to, and we instantly became children again as soon as we’d got our wristbands. (Though not very brave children; we didn’t get past orange on the ride intensity scale!) After mooching around to get photos of the various slides, domes and fountains, we set up camp by the wave machine and promptly grabbed a rubber ring ready for the waves to start. Even with the numerous collisions, there was something incredibly relaxing about bobbing up and over the waves in the sun.
In between running around between various rides, shooting down a multitude of slides, and lugging about rubber rings, we found time to settle down with some food and drink. The food was a little pricey, but this is to be expected at attractions like this. Luckily, they had a handy system of scanning anything you buy to your wristband and allowing you to pay on the way out, meaning all of our money could be safely stowed away in the locker without having to run back and forth.
As late afternoon approached, we packed up, said goodbye to the lovely family we’d been speaking to around the wave machine, and hopped on the bus towards Coral Bay beach. I’m not much of a sea baby myself – I much prefer salt-free variety of water – but Charlotte took a dip whilst I laid back on the lovely sands and stuck my nose into a book. (Cinder, if you’re wondering, and I enjoyed it thoroughly!)
“And now, the end is near…”
To say our week in Paphos flew by is an understatement. Before we checked out we found ourselves eagerly Googling room prices for next year. Luckily, we had a late checkout and so we could safely leave our suitcases in our room and spend our final hours shopping and chilling around the pool. There were so many more things we were eager to explore in Paphos, though sadly our time was up. We’re leaving with memories to last a lifetime though, and I now have a new destination on my list of places to return to.
This was the first sunshine holiday I’d taken outside of the summer months, and I was greatly surprised. Temperatures reached the thirties every day that we were there, and I’m definitely going to look into doing it again. There’s something about knowing it’s cold back home that makes the sunshine just that little bit sweeter. ☀️
A huge thank you goes to On the Beach and to both hotels for our stay in Paphos. We seriously can’t wait to return!
*Our stay at both hotels were complimentary, as were the trips to the waterpark and archaeological park, but all extra food, drink and activities along with flights and transfers were paid for by ourselves.