My hOtel: Columbia Beach Resort, Cyprus @columbiabresort

myhotel

I first visited Cyprus with Mr. O in 2006 – it was one of our first holidays together. Eight years later, I was due a return – an invite from the Columbia Beach Resort and Classic Collection Holidays to experience a hotel which seemed quite special: away from the crowds, small and private. My kind of place, really. I was also very curious about this resort as I had personal friends who had visited before and liked it a lot, but also, while I was in Cyprus, it turned out it was a very well-known hotel by my readers (especially those who follow me on Facebook), many of whom visited on an annual basis.

A little gem in Cyprus

A little gem in Cyprus

Pre-Arrival

-          Was there any pre-arrival communication by the hotel with myself via email or social media?

Yes, this trip was organised a good 4 months before it took place and over the time, the excitement was building up.

-          Did I try to engage the hotel via Twitter? Did the hotel interact with me and made me feel welcome/special?

Absolutely, and this continued throughout my stay.

-          Has the hotel tried to gather any personal information (e.g. preferences) prior to my stay?

I hadn’t asked for anything.

 

Arrival

The Columbia Beach Resort in Pissouri, Cyprus

The Columbia Beach Resort in Pissouri, Cyprus

-          The wow factor! What was the hotel decor style?

When we arrived, it was past 9pm and it was dark. I always find it funny when it is dark on arrival – you never know what to expect the next morning. The lobby was bright and airy and very quiet at this time of the night.

-          How quick and efficient was the hotel check-in?

There wasn’t a queue at this time, and we were the last guests checking in. The team was waiting for us and processed us quickly.

-          Was I addressed by name once reservation has been located? (it is all about the small details, some others are outstanding with this, and I love it, like I do when I board an airplane)

Absolutely.

-          Did I get an upgrade from my confirmed pre-booked room type?

We had a confirmed suite. We were then taken to what I would call a junior suite, as the living area was not a separate room from the bedroom.

-          Did I feel genuinely welcomed by the hotel staff?

Yes, and this was one of the best things about the hotel. My readers kept mentioning it and I have to say, it was true! Everyone was really good at the Columbia Beach Resort – from the pool boys, to restaurant staff. Everyone.

The Columbia Beach Resort

The Columbia Beach Resort

-          Luggage – how many people did I have to tip before the luggage made it safely to my room? This is cultural, I know

We used First Luggage‘s service on this trip (to and from) and I knew our luggage had already arrived – and it was waiting for us in our room.

-          Wi-fi – was I told anything about it? Was there a charge?

 WiFi was free of charge for all guests and the login quite simple.

 

Room Experience
During this stay, we asked to be moved from one room to another, as we were disappointed with our first room. Was I being picky? Yes indeed. But I felt that the first room we were given was disproportionate and wasn’t comfortable at all. The layout made it look empty and we had what was called a garden view room.On our 3rd and 4th nights, we were moved to a sea view panorama suite (which I would call a junior suite) which was smaller, but so much more welcoming and inviting. It had exactly the same furniture than the previous room but felt completely different. It also had stunning views, which helped. A lot.

-          First impressions – décor, size and wow factor

Our second bedroom, which was lovely.

Our second bedroom, which was lovely.

The hotel is around 10 years old and the furnishings are light coloured, but in my opinion, a soft refurb should be in the cards.

-          Welcome amenity

We had a bottle of wine on each room. Cypriot wine was one of the discoveries of this trip – it had improved a lot over the past 8 years!

-          The bed

The bed wasn’t fab. It did not have a mattress topper and we only had a pillow each. On our second bedroom, we had twin beds (which isn’t a problem). As I said earlier, the refurb needed would include these sort of items.

-          Closet/Wardrobe – proper hangers or those annoying ones where you need a PhD to get them out one by one? This is a personal pet peeve of mine. I can’t stand them.

No problems here and plenty of space.

-          Iphone Charger/Dock

No chargers but we had plenty of power points, although not by the bed.

-          Bathrobes and slippers

Yes, but we did not use them.

-          Coffee and Tea

We had a nespresso machine and a kettle for tea. Again, we did not use it.

-          Free bottled water

Yes, and changed daily.

-          Magazine selection – had some nice surprises and doesn’t happen often enough!

We had some hotel magazines which were not bad at all.

-          Power sockets in useful places – we have more and more devices and we know where we want them! By the bed, by the working area.

This was a bit of a struggle, but obviously we found plugs. I have to say we had the most impressive light switching system ever – just have a look at the photo. From one side of the bed, you could control the whole room.

 

Bathroom

The bathrooms will need an update, in my opinion.

The bathrooms will need an update, in my opinion.

-          First impressions – décor, size and wow factor

I have to be honest (which is the whole point of these reviews) and these were dated. Very date. The lighting on the first bathroom was not good at all – but the second room, which had a better layout felt better.

-          Bath, shower and taps – I am looking for Duravits and Hansgrohes (or other fab brands) around the world. How fab was the shower? And a little pet peeve.. was I able to operate the shower without asking Mr. O for help?

Everything was done to a very high standard, but things have evolved in the past ten years. Although all the showers and taps were Grohe, they are from a different era and I have to say expectations have changed.

-          Towels – yes, please! How many and how soft and lovely?

We had plenty of towels, but again, they felt a bit tired.

-          Toiletries – own brand, super brand, baby ones or proper ones? I shall find out!

We had Molton Brown (and the new range of smells), which were very nice.

-          Amenity kit – I don’t want more sewing kits thank you very much, but I will need a shower cap.

Everything we needed.

-          Hairdryer – is it a human one, or just something stuck to a wall that only makes noise?

There was one, but I did not use. It was stuck to a wall, with a cord, so to speak and didn’t do much more than noise. I went au naturel for the whole 4 days, which was fine.

 

Breakfast

A lovely setting for breakfast

A lovely setting for breakfast

Breakfast took place at the Fine Dining restaurant and we enjoyed it outside everyday. The buffet was fine, and I had my daily fix of Cypriot white cheese, which was lovely. It was always busy (the hotel was full when we were there), and the staff were fantastic. You could order eggs and any other cooked items, which took a bit of time, but were delicious.

Bar

Great margaritas at the bar. And other cocktails!

Great margaritas at the bar. And other cocktails!

We went to the bar every night after dinner, and were surprised with how empty it was (even though the resort was full and most people actually eat dinner at the hotel each night). Come 10pm, every one disappeared. That meant we had the bar staff all to ourselves. Service was very good and attentive.

 

Restaurant

The food was outstanding. And we missed the top restaurant!

The food was outstanding. And we missed the top restaurant!

The Columbia Beach Resort has two restaurants – the fine dining Italian one and the Apollo Cypriot tavern. We had a lovely meal on the first night when we arrived late at the Cypriot Tavern and went out on the second night (as it was Saturday). This turned out to be a mistake as the Italian restaurant was closed on Sunday and Monday, which meant we missed out. And I mean it!

We had 2 lunches and 2 dinners at the Apollo tavern and they were absolutely great. Staff were also very good.

 

Spa 

The spa area, with treatments by Elemis was outstanding. The indoor pool connected with the outdoor pool too.

The spa area, with treatments by Elemis was outstanding. The indoor pool connected with the outdoor pool too.

The spa was outstanding – beautifully designed. I had a massage courtesy of the hotel and we tried to book treatments during our stay and were unsuccessful, because it was completely full. Treatments were around €80-€100, very reasonable.

 

Pool & Beach

A lovely pool indeed. And very quiet.

A lovely pool indeed. And very quiet.

The pool area is lovely and really makes the hotel come together. It is beautifully designed and the sun loungers were great. Staff also came round with iced drinks and treats and we had a lovely time.

The beach was pebbly and we did not go on this occasion (we had 2 glorious days of sunshine and 2 days of rain!). Next time?

Gutted I didn't set foot in the Med on this occasion.

Gutted I didn’t set foot in the Med on this occasion.

 

 

General thoughts

-          How good and reliable was the wi-fi?

There were many hot spots around the property, but you had to change the network (but not log in). It was weird until we figured it out, but then absolutely fine. Good coverage too.

I really liked the style of the hotel

I really liked the style of the hotel

-          Did the hotel interact with me via Twitter during my stay?

Yes indeed, and we had a bit of fun.

-          Location

Located in Pissouri Bay, which is approximately half an hour from Paphos and 1h20m from Larnaca (where we flew to).

-          Cost – rooms starting from…

Prices from £1,079 per person based on two adults sharing a junior suite garden view room for seven nights, on a bed and breakfast basis including private transfers and return flights from London Gatwick.

-          Would I recommend it to my best friend?

If she wanted a nice place to relax, sun and good food, I wouldn’t hesitate.

There was also a lawn area closer to the beach which was lovely.

There was also a lawn area closer to the beach which was lovely.

-          Would I stay again?

The resort is stunning – beautifully done, it just needs some TLC in the inside. If you like a resort which isn’t too large (this is a member of SLH – Small Luxury Hotels of the World), comfortable, with great food and service, it is a great place to go. I also liked that it had a little town nearby with a few nice restaurants, which we got to try – but there isn’t much more nearby, so either you get a car, or just stay in. So, I would go back again without a problem.

 

Have you visited this hotel? What were your thoughts?

xo

Mrs. O

 

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Columbia Beach Resort and Classic Collection Holidays during this stay, but hopefully you will see that this has not influenced my thoughts about the property. 

Prices from £1,079 per person based on two adults sharing a junior suite garden view room for seven nights, on a bed and breakfast basis including private transfers and return flights from London Gatwick. Visit Classic Collection Holidays or call 0800 294 9315 from the UK.

First Luggage kindly took our luggage from our home in the UK to our Cyprus hotel at a cost of £145 door to door (each way). A 30kg bag from London to NYC or LA costs £125. First Luggage’s sister company, LuggageDeliveryCompany.com, provides return luggage delivery as well, starting at £47 one-way (UK to Italy), which is comparable to any airline’s baggage fees, minus the hassle.

28 Comments

  1. Karen Gallon /

    One of my favourite hotels in the world. We go every February for 5* R&R. My son has just book his wedding there for October. It’s such a special place.

  2. The pool looks like it would have been great if the sun were out. I am surprised as you were that the bar was empty after dinner… Did you ask why? Great post.

    • I actually did ask! People go there to relax apparently and back to their rooms, and read books in the balcony. And we did see lots of people doing that and drinking a glass of wine. Funnily enough, you would expect empty bars in the Maldives – and I got the opposite in *almost* every hotel (but not all). Funny indeed.

  3. i wish the weather had been more cooperative for you. it looks absolutely lovely. i love the pool area and the umbrellas on the beach!
    lola recently posted..Mongol Rally – a very un-Lola-like adventureMy Profile

  4. I’ve never been to Cyprus, but looking at your Instagram photos at the property, I feel like I should!
    Monica Suma recently posted..29! A Gatsby birthday to rememberMy Profile

  5. Love Molton Brown products. Again, looks like you’ve stayed at another beautiful property. Keep ‘em coming!
    Tawny of Captain and Clark recently posted..AlcoHAUL. Episode one. [feat. Koloa Rum]My Profile

  6. I love all the places you stay! Looks gorgeous, especially pool area :-)
    Becky Padmore recently posted..Phantom of the Opera – VIP backstage tour, dinner and showMy Profile

  7. Looks like a real fantastic location and a place I should visit during the next weeks… – Cyprus is still on my to-do-and-to-write-about-list for 2014 :)

    Wishing you a wonderful time and all the best from Mallorca :P

    Vanessa
    Vanessa recently posted..Es Fum – Rafael Sanchez – Gourmet Restaurant – MardavallMy Profile

  8. This looks beautiful! I’m going to Cyprus on Wednesday and can’t wait.
    Monica recently posted..My Weekend in BrugesMy Profile

  9. very insightful, as always! can envision the little quirks that you mention and understand how much an update would help. but it sounds like the rest of the resort makes a visit very worth it!
    the lazy travelers recently posted..new york city’s best outdoor bars + restaurantsMy Profile

  10. Joanna /

    I am one of those readers!! I have been twice, and we stayed in your second room – looking at the photo, it is it! You are spot on, the bathrooms now need to be renovated, but the rest is so nice. We used to rent a car and go around the island, but now we just stay there, as there isn’t much to see anyway. Food is excellent (you NEED to try the Italian fine dining restaurant), service is so… real and human. Good characters! And it is a small place, even when it is full (which is often), it just feels great.

    • Thank you, Joanna! It is as we say it – it is a lovely resort and I do understand why people go back again and again. Feels very homely, chic. And the spa is wonderful. But not a lot to see outside.

  11. Maria /

    This looks like a lovely hotel – and not with the hundreds of people you always seem to see in Cyprus resorts. I love Cyrpus and we visit often as family have relocated there – we may try it in the future.

  12. Therese /

    I have heard great things about this place – very different from the rest of the island. I visited once, we stayed at the Almyra which was nice too, but not sure about Cyprus. Everything seems unfinished.

    • That is funny, Therese, it is the word I used as well, when thinking about Cyprus. Things are unfinished. I don’t know what it is, I really don’t. But this area was lovely and the hotel was a good one too.

  13. John M /

    I have been to Columbia a good 3 times in the last 10 years, but haven’t visited for the since 2011. The rooms were great and it is only natural that they get a bit dated – but I wouldn’t know that if I read it in a magazine, because they wouldn’t bother saying it. I am not sure about Cyprus – we have been, as I said, enjoyed it, but mostly the hotel. Outside, not so much – which isn’t the case with most Med destinations.

    • Thank you for your kind words, and for taking the time to read it – I appreciate it, especially your comments. That is the whole point of the blog – and I can only offer my perspective. I am with you about the destination in itself – maybe it is a love or hate one? I don’t know.

  14. Tania J /

    This is why I love your blog – I trust you, Mrs. O. If I ever go to this resort, I know exactly what to expect with the rooms (and in this case, the bathrooms). The food looks amazing (I adore octopus and anything that comes from the sea!!)

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