Cyprus’ second largest city has never had to try that hard when it comes to drawing travellers in. Stretching along kilometres of harbour and sandy beaches, the coastal capital boasts ancient ruins of Amathus to its east, as well as pockets of historic architecture throughout the picturesque old town. Luxury hotels have gradually been making their appearance here in recent years, but none have created quite the same buzz as the recently opened Amara Cyprus.
Before it had even opened, people were placing themselves on a waitlist for highly-anticipated dining spot Matsuhisa Limassol, under the helm of world-famous chef Nobu. This isn’t the hotel’s only draw. Since opening, Amara Cyprus has garnered attention far and wide for its impressive culinary offering, luxury facilities, and on-point design by SB Architects, David Rockwell and WA Interiors.
The property is less a hotel and more of a destination in and of itself; a serene lobby leading through to cafés, boutiques, lounges, a wellness retreat and gardens. There is a seamless flow between interior and exterior; restaurants including Ristorante Locatelli and Armyra by Papaioannou spill over to the outdoors, and rooms also give a nod to their location, with ocean views and modern Cypriot interiors featuring wooden slatted screens and splashes of blue.
Slabs of white stone, wood and polished marble create the backdrop for each stylishly furnished space and ornamental pools, palms and olive trees fill the waterfront gardens. You can cool down in the infinity pools overlooking the thumping coastline, or retreat to the calm of the spa.
Amara Spa is one of the hotel’s greatest secrets. Built around archaeological finds from the site’s former ancient city, Amathus, it features an open-air saltwater pool, thermal facilities, treatment rooms and indoor lap pool. End the day here or head up to the guests-only rooftop bar, for a signature cocktail and views of yachts bobbing in a crisp Mediterranean sea.
Amara Cyprus has its own beach but it’s worth seeking out some of the region’s other coastal spots too. Start by making your way to Kourion Beach and its archaeological site of the same name; find your way from Pissouri Beach to nearby Aphrodite’s Rock; marvel at the dramatic white rocks of Governor’s Beach; and soak up the sun on the famously long sandy stretch, Lady’s Mile Beach.
IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
In the centre of Limassol, pay a visit to the medieval castle of Ottoman origin; look up at the minaret of Limassol’s Grand Mosque; and step inside Agia Napa Cathedral. Back on the eastern edge of the city, you can then see what’s considered to be one of the country’s most important historical sites: the UNESCO World Heritage Amathus archaeological site, which dates back to around 1,100 BCE.