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.
– 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.
– 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)
– 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.
– 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.
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
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.
– 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 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.
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.
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.
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
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?
– 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.
– Did the hotel interact with me via Twitter during my stay?
Yes indeed, and we had a bit of fun.
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.
– 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?
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.