Hotel Review: Columbia Beach Resort, Pissouri Bay in Cyprus
Travel writer Nilufer Atik heads to the Cypriot village of Pissouri to sample one of its finest hotels.
Flick through a guide book about Cyprus and chances are there will only be a sentence or two devoted to the beach resort of Pissouri situated on the South-Western coast. But missing out on the unique character of this quaint little sun-spot would be a mistake.
The third largest village in the district of Limassol and conveniently located just off the A6 motorway, Pissouri is only 34 km from both Limassol itself and the lively city of Paphos. Its bay overlooks the sapphire waters of the Mediterranean on the Cape Astro Ridge, 500 feet above sea level, and is simply stunning.
Golden sands and multicoloured pebbles cover the shoreline of Pissouri Bay, which is cradled by spectacular white cliffs dropping down into the sea, making it one of the most eye-catching coasts on the island. Facilities on its beach include sun beds, showers, toilets, umbrellas, water sports, and a beach volleyball court, so you can stay there all day long if you want to.
The west end of the bay leads to the headland of Asprorotsos – a white rock that protrudes from the sea, where you’ll find scattered sandy coves for more private sunbathing, as well as wild birds and sea turtles to marvel at.
A short walk away, the delightful village square houses numerous restaurants, tavernas, coffee shops and boutique stores, where a throng of retired and semi-retired ex patriots gather in the evenings to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere during summer months.
In the winter months of November to February, when temperatures drop from an average of 28 degrees Celsius between May and October to 20 degrees Celsius, it’s still fairly busy as that’s when the cycling season starts.
Some non-Cypriots have described Pissouri as a place where time has stood still. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The village has managed to retain its traditional character but also continues to attract an increasing number of tourists year on year through gradual development.
The resorts and hotels that have opened up around the bay have been carefully thought out, so they don’t overshadow the natural beauty of the area. The cuisine and entertainment also tends to stays true to its traditional roots.
Despite being a village, accommodation is plentiful and varied in and around Pissouri. There are villas and apartments, as well as boutique hotels. One of the best and most popular is the five-star Columbia Beach Resort.
Set at the bottom or a winding mountain road, it may be more secluded than some of its high-end counterparts, but the Columbia still has plenty to keep guests occupied. With 169 luxurious suites, an award-winning spa, two pools and several gourmet restaurants on site – not to mention the stunning fauna and flora that decorate the grounds – it’s ideal for a romantic getaway or sophisticated family break.
The décor is chic Mediterranean in style, combining beige brickwork and whitewash walls with terracotta tiles and wood panelling. Rooms are a mixture of classic neutrals and gentle pastels, with wood beamed ceilings, crisp white bedding, and huge, carved dressers.
For convenience, there are bedside light and fan controls and all suites come with seating areas, a marble bathroom with separate shower, and their own balconies looking out either onto the gardens or sea. The spacious Executive Suites sleep up to four guests and are ideal for small families or groups of friends.
Daytimes at this resort are spent either lounging poolside in the sun, wandering along the private beach, or indulging in a little pampering at the excellent Hebe Spa which has dozens of Elemis-based treatments, plus a gym, yoga studio with daily classes, a salon, Jacuzzi, and sauna and steam rooms.
The indoor swim-through pool is ideal for little swimmers but there’s also an all-day creche on site with English-speaking staff and an outdoor playground with plenty of games and activities on to keep children entertained.
The hotel offers many other pursuits for both adults and children too, including tennis, table tennis, pool, squash and badminton, or water sports can be arranged at the beach.
There are six restaurants at the Columbia including the Apollo Tavern, Cape Aspro, and Bacchus eateries, which are open all year round. The Apollo serves traditional Cypriot dishes, such as kleftiko and souvlaki, in a gloriously rustic setting overlooking the gardens. There is also a meze option on the menu for those who want to sample a little of everything.
Named after the white cliffs that embrace Pissouri Bay, seafood restaurant Cape Aspro offers the ultimate in al fresco dining with fish platters available for sharing.
Bacchus, located next to the west-side pool, focuses on gourmet dining Italian style by night, with an a la carte menu carefully created by Michelin-star-trained Executive Chef Ioannis Giakoumidis. There are plenty of pasta, seafood and meat dishes to be had here but be warned – the service can be a little slow at busy times.
Breakfasts at the hotel are served at Bacchus each morning as an open buffet and offer everything from fresh fruit granolas and pastries to omelettes and grilled meats. There is more than enough variety to choose from and those who want a little early morning sun can sit outside behind the 80-metre ‘lagoon’ pool while they eat and take in the view.
And what a view it is. Whatever other attributes the Columbia boasts it is this part of the hotel that truly takes your breath away. With a large bridge arching over the huge, glistening bean-shaped pool that serves as the resort’s centrepiece, it is the perfect spot from which to stand and watch the sun set over the horizon come evening.
Or you could sip a cool cocktail at the Poseidon Beach bar and listen to the sound of the waves wash against the shore. However you choose to end your evening though, there are few better places to enjoy it than at this recently refurbished Cypriot hideaway.
A seven-night stay at Columbia Beach Resort starts from just £3,130 per family – saving £305 per family, including flights and transfers. For further information and to book contact Elegant Resorts Reservations on 01244 897514 or visit elegantresorts.co.uk.
Address: Columbia Beach Resort,Pissouri Bay,4607 Cyprus
Phone: +357 25 833000