If like me, you’re a parent in the UK, you may well be feeling what I’m feeling now. Both slightly relieved that the kids are back to school soon, and yet a little wistful that the long summer break has come to an end. And perhaps you’ll be dreaming just a little about future holidays, possibly even researching where to go already. If that’s the case, I want to introduce you to a fantastic place we just visited, on our first family holiday abroad as a fivesome, on the off chance you’d like to go there one day.
This is the view from our hotel room balcony at the Azia Resort and Spa , near Paphos in Cyprus. I’m not even sure how I first found this hotel, but I was doing a lot of online holiday research when I stumbled upon it. And I am so glad I did, as it really did have a little of everything we needed, and some additional luxuries that we…ahem…required. Such as a jacuzzi on the balcony. And a full breakfast buffet, with a nice man cooking omelettes to order every morning. Did I mention it also boasts a world-class spa?
We arrived by night, and as it was only a 20 minute drive from Paphos airport to the hotel, we were really there in no time at all.
Kids club from age 2.5 years
We spent 10 nights at the hotel, with some lovely friends of ours and their two children. One of the biggest successes was discovering that our middle child was crazy about the kids club. This was a pleasant surprise indeed. And I think this was all down to the warm welcome and genuine wonderfulness (is that a word?) of the woman who ran the place. You’re given a buzzer while the kids are at the club, which vibrates and flashes if you’re needed. So you’re free to roam around the hotel grounds as you like…free as a bird…well except for the small but important matter of the one-year old, who kindly had a nap on a few occasions so we could enjoy a cool drink by the sea.
Swimming pool with pool bar, wonderful spa, beautiful beaches
Of course, it would be wrong to have you believe the kids spent all their time at kids club! On the contrary, they had the time of their lives splashing and diving about in the child-friendly swimming pool, which has a separate yet adjacent shallow section for babies and toddlers. There is a swim-up pool bar, and fresh towels to be used by the pool can be acquired for free from the spa when you need them, meaning there was no need to pack any. The spa itself is wonderful, and I truly wished I could have had a treatment there every day! Or at least more than one! But mustn’t be greedy 😉 They do a 10-minute children’s massage as well, which was a highlight for our daughter.
There is also a beach right by the hotel, which you can reach via a 120m-long path. It does end with a lot of rocks, so be aware that you would not be able to push a buggy all the way down there. We just parked our buggy on the rocks and brought the supplies that we needed down to the beach itself. There was a lovely shallow stream here, which our little ones just loved messing around in for hours! The sunset was amazing as well.
We also made a couple trips out to nearby beaches. One was just a short stroll away. Being August it was incredibly hot, so it was essential for us not to have to walk far! There was a convenient path along the seafront that is completely buggy-friendly. The other beach, Coral Bay, was a 15-minute bus ride away. The sea here was beautiful, warm and with calmer waves than the beach near Azia. The bus, which is air-conditioned, stops directly outside the hotel and costs 1.50 euros for adults and 75 cents for older children. At the beach there are umbrellas and sunbeds here for hire, which cost 7.50 euros per umbrella, including 2 sunbeds. There is also a lovely cafe here, where the children enjoyed enormous ice creams and there are toilet facilities including showers.
There was no need for us to hire a car, but if we had wanted one it would have been simple to do, and there seemed to be many interesting places nearby to visit such as ancient Greek ruins. I did venture to a rather splendid shopping centre by bus (under the pretext of buying nappies).
Food, drinks and entertainment
The food was very good as well, and there was a huge array of it at each mealtime. There was a different theme each night. One of my favourite dishes was coconut chicken with tropical rice, on “Jamaican night”. Not quite Cypriot but delicious nonetheless! I ate far too much! The Cava bar was brilliant too for some pre-dinner drinks. And the kids enjoyed dancing at the baby disco, face-painting, and watching the evening entertainment including fire shows, stilt-walkers and acrobats. A Michael Jackson impersonator was a surprise hit with our 3 year old! He drew this the next day at kids club.
All too soon it was time to leave! Goodbye Cyprus…still missing you.
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