The Paphos coastline is a prime tourist area with restaurants and attractions aplenty and blue skies almost always guaranteed. The Elysium Hotel is a ten minute stroll from the main harbour and just a stone’s throw away from the Unesco Tombs of the Kings site, yet, the palatial complex feels a world away from the hustle and bustle. Inspired by Byzantine architecture complete with arches and columns, the Elysium Hotel is grand, but in a homely kind of way with local honey-coloured stone and wood creating a soft, cosy atmosphere despite its sprawling expanse.
On arrival we’re seated in the beautiful, bright marble lobby and served welcome drinks whilst the staff take care of the check-in process. The service, at the hotel, is effortless, and the staff are some of the friendliest I’ve encountered; during our stay they get to know us by name, greeting us like old friends whenever we pass by. For a big hotel, that kind of individual attention is very impressive.
All of the rooms have a balcony or terrace, with the best overlooking the endless expanse of the glittering blue ocean. Ours is on the side of the courtyard, alongside the swimming pool, which gets quite crowded and loud during the day, but at nighttime, its blissfully quiet. For a five star the rooms are a little on the small side, but the tasteful décor of creamy white with soft furnishings and linens does well to lighten the space and create a tranquil ambience.
During the day, most guests lounge by the two tier swimming pool, which has a swim-up bar serving light snacks and drinks, but we prefer to make our way down to the private beach. A small curve of sand, scattered with luxurious cabana daybeds, its a glorious place to lie, listening to the rolling of the waves and soaking up the sun. Waiters drift around taking drinks orders and just behind on the grassy lawn, there’s a little stall with fresh coconuts (you can get Malibu poured into the coconut water if you’re feeling adventurous) and pots of Häagen-Dazs ice cream.
Dining is taken very seriously at the Elysium, beginning with a huge breakfast buffet at the Lemonia Piazza where themed dining nights also take place with locals sometimes setting up tables in the courtyard to sell their produce. Our favourite lunch time spot is the open-air Mediterraneo Restaurant down by the seafront. Potted herbs and plates of fresh ripe tomatoes act as the table’s centrepiece and a makeshift starter, drizzled with rich olive oil and sprinkled with salt, whilst the deep-fried calamari and generous, wholesome salads are amongst the best choices on the menu.
All meals here end, in true spirit of warm Greek hospitality, with the offer of a complimentary shot of ouzo. For dinner, the most romantic spot is Ristorante Bacco’s hidden courtyard where you can dine alfresco under the stars surrounded by beautiful, textured walls draped with exotic plants. The menu here is Tuscan-inspired cuisine with the choice of two, three or four courses and a whole page dedicated to different types of lobster.
The rich parmigiana starter and homemade fettuccine with truffle salsa and parmesan are exquisite paired with fine wines chosen by the expert sommelier. Unbelievably, there’s also a sushi restaurant, O’Shin, tucked away on the hotel’s lower floor, whilst the smartly refurbished Epicurean restaurant serves international cuisine.
The stylish wellness centre features an indoor pool and exceptionally beautiful relaxation rooms with a soundtrack of silk music and soft loungers where you can lie sipping herbal tea before or after an ESPA beauty treatment. I opt for a full body massage with a heady blend of aromatic oils designed to promote deep relaxation.
The masseuse asks me if I’d like any particular areas concentrated on – it’s a question which is normally asked, but more often than not, ignored in the application – in this case though, the treatment is considerate and soothing, paying gentle, close attention to my body and state of mind.
The Elysium Hotel is luxury on the big-scale. It’s sleek, expansive and indulgent, but whilst most resort’s of this size tend to produce a well polished indifference, The Elysium overflows with warmth and compassion for its guests. It’s the type of place that you’ll long to return to, year after year.
For more information The Elysium Hotel, see here.
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