Palm Beach Hotel, Larnaca, by Bill McCarthy
With its beautiful sandy beaches, azure blue warm waters and imposing mountains, Cyprus has been lusted after by settlers and conquerers for centuries, sitting as it does at the crossroads of the three continents of Europe, Asia and Africa.
So it’s no wonder millions of tourists also lust after this pearl of the Mediterranean as a holiday destination.
With its fantastic sunny climate and links to to the UK, it’s a magnet for sun seekers in the summer months. The coronavirus pandemic however has played havoc with this, disrupting travel and tourism worldwide.
But Cyprus still offers plenty in autumn and winter months with an average temperature of around 66 degrees, making it an ideal place to escape the plummeting UK temperatures at the end of the outbreak.
Lesser known than the usual tourist playgrounds is Larnaca, an ancient capital of the island and an area steeped in history and tradition.
The town and the surrounding areas are having something of a boom at the moment with a multi-million pound seafront promenade development that features dozens of bars, restaurants and blue flag beaches. Just about a mile up the coast is the chic McKenzie Beach, with its bars and nightspots.
‘Exploring the island is a must and it is possible, you can join one of the many free excursions offered by a syndicate of hotels, the local tourist board and attractions.’
Our holiday could be described as a winter break and we dropped lucky with the late winter weather, with almost unbroken sunshine.
We flew in to Larnaca airport and had a pleasant surprise with having only a 20-minute drive to our four-star luxury hotel, the Palm Beach Hotel and Bungalows.
A family-friendly hotel that caters for all types of holiday requirements, conferences and even weddings.
It has an imposing presence with four floors of rooms facing the well-tended gardens to the front and the same at the rear of the hotel, with rooms overlooking the sea.
As the name implies there is also a mini complex of bungalows in the garden area, which can offer B&B and half-board, popular with families.
The bungalows too, have their own separate bar area. The rear of the hotel is just yards from the sea front and boasts a large pool and any number of sunbeds. Other facilities include a gym, indoor pool, plus the new Palm Spa opened in 2019 and conference facilities.
But the piece de resistance was our sea-facing room featuring expensively appointed comfortable beds and classy furniture, while the bathroom has the highest quality fixtures and fittings and even an electric blind so you can shower whilst looking out to the sea or admire it from the balcony. Don’t forget to close it though, if using the bathroom!
Wi-fi is free throughout the hotel and there are tea and coffee making facilities to all rooms. Even as winter moves into spring you can laze around by the pool, take a dip in the sea, or join the joggers and cyclists up and the down the path between hotel and beach.
For those tying the knot, an island paradise is the ideal spot and the hotel host ceremonies at its own on-site chapel, the Chapel of Saint Constantine and Saint Helena, which can host weddings of Orthodox and Anglican denominations., or civil ceremonies on or near the beach, under a marquee, just a few steps from the Mediterranean.
Planet Weddings is a fully bonded specialist UK tour operator with a wedding special offer at the Palm Beach.
Exploring the island is a must and it is possible, you can join one of the many free excursions offered by a syndicate of hotels, the local tourist board and attractions.
The programme runs from November 1- April 30, and offers a packed timetable with something different every day of the week, from birdwatching to visiting a nearby camel park. Our choice was an excursion to the picturesque villages of Lefkara, which specialises in lacemaking. The local women can be seen sitting the streets practising their art.
When you consider the cost of excursions and activities this is quite an offer and a huge saving on your holiday budget.
There is so much to see on the island, from the spectacular Troodos mountains, to the spectacular beaches, archaeological and cultural sites, so hiring a car is a good idea.
At the hotel we stayed B&B, but snacks can be bought at the hotel throughout the day and the evening meal is certainly worth a try.
Alternatively there are many fine restaurants in Larnaca itself, just a 10-minute drive away or with a group of shops, bars and restaurants opposite the hotel.
The town of Larnaca has a swish beachfront and plush marina while shoppers can find many well known stores on the two main shopping streets, local markets, museums and art galleries.
For a snack, try Alasia a small cafe bar on the seafront, which serves excellent Cypriot food.
Also worth visiting is the medieval fort, built by the Ottomans and used as a prison by the British and the spectacular ninth century St Lazarus Church, right in the heart of the town, which houses the tomb of the saint.
It may have been the back end of winter, but in Cyprus the sun nearly always shines and a warm welcome is guaranteed.
- For information on the hotel, contact Palm Beach Hotel & Bungalows www.palmbeachotel.com
- Room rates from 97 euros per night based on 2 adults sharing a room on bed and breakfast basis.
- Flights with daily scheduled BA from Heathrow, plus easyjet ( www.easyjet.com) with regional departures and a holiday division that features the Palm Beach Hotel and Bungalows. For general tourism information on Cyprus visit https://www.visitcyprus.com/index.php/en/