Sun in The Sun with SPL Villas
The Sun newspaper sent a journalist to stay at one of the villas within the SPL Villas portfolio. Below is a copy of her article that featured in the Sun on Sunday 28th November 2021.
HALLOU, CYPRUS Take a winter break to Cyprus – the only short-haul holiday destination with hot weather in November
HALF an hour into our Greek mezze, I’d eaten my luggage weight in authentic Cypriot dishes.
But as our grinning waiter Valentino cleared the bowls, he informed us: “You still have four more rounds to enjoy.”
So after lamb chops, souvlaki and halloumi ravioli, we were not even halfway through our seven-course feast.
Fortunately our villa was only a five-minute taxi from the Pithari Tavern in the village square of Aphrodite Hills Resort.
This sprawling resort on the outskirts of Paphos is perfect for post-pandemic holidays, with generously sized apartments and fabulous villas for multi-generational groups.
We were travelling with SPL Villas and had our own three-bedroom villa set in beautiful gardens with its own private pool.
Midnight swim, anyone?
Beautifully furnished, there was a bottle of wine waiting for us, along with a fridge stocked with eggs, halloumi, ham and juice. But this was not special treatment, it is the norm when you stay in a Superior villa — and you can request a whole shopping list of provisions be there ahead of your arrival.
After a peaceful morning swimming and listening to the crickets, we headed to the Clubhouse for a Cypriot fry-up overlooking the perfectly groomed PGA National championship golf course. As someone who has only ever played crazy golf, I didn’t hold out much hope I’d be joining the pros any time soon.
But after an hour at the driving range with instructor Rob, I found genuine enjoyment from swinging a club and jumped for joy when one ball landed past the 100- metre mark. See you soon, Tiger Woods.
There are plenty of other activities, for all ages, at the resort. Tennis and soccer fans can take advantage of professional facilities and expert tuition.
The spa offers all the pampering favourites and the whole family can explore on bike rides. Tots to teens can also take a break from their parents at the various kids’ clubs.
My favourite activity was a horse-riding lesson in the lovely, secluded forest of Lakkos Tou Frangou. The facilities, location and horses are top-notch and it is a great experience, with both beginner lessons and challenging rides for more advanced equestrians.
As someone who would never call themselves a fitness fan, I ignored the raised eyebrows and hired a bike to cycle back to our villa from the stables.
This is no easy ride. But 20 minutes later, I had managed two steep hills and a crossing over a ravine to find my villa.
A cold, crisp beer was the perfect reward.
With a chemist, super-market and even Costa on the resort in the village square, you could quite easily spend a week enjoying the villa and all the activities.
But on our first visit to the island we were keen to explore more — and it’s very easy to hire a car direct from the resort.
Locals told us that if you want to get a real taste of Paphos, you need to visit the Old Town. So after a 30-minute drive, we parked down a cobbled road and took a wander.
Goddess of love
The narrow streets are easy to lose yourself in — especially when you stop to explore the markets full of trinkets, artisan workshops and shops selling local handicrafts.
With tummies rumbling, we stumbled across the perfect place for lunch. The Kiniras Traditional House, with its large red doors and authentic decor, caught our attention. There we feasted on traditional dishes kleftiko and stifado in a courtyard surrounded by plants and statues of Greek gods.
The narrow roads, neo-classical buildings and live music outside the Town Hall are enough to make anyone swoon — and we were charmed.
After a trip to see the impressive ruins at the nearby Tomb of The Kings, we visited the Edro III shipwreck and watched the sun set with a beer at Oniro By The Sea — a rather more modern, Instagrammable restaurant spot.
But the must-see sight was Aphrodite’s Rock, just ten minutes away.
The famous formation is said to be the spot where the Greek goddess of love first appeared.
Taking a swim around it is said to give you eternal youth and beauty.
Though I did not brave the dip, I did learn one thing from the goddess . . . from now on, I will holiday in heroine style — by staying in a private villa.
COVID: Fully vaccinated travellers are not required to take a test before departure or on arrival. SPL Villas’ Covid-19 free cancellation policy offers refunds if either your home destination or the villa destination goes into lockdown seven days before the holiday starts. STAYING THERE: SPL Villas is a family-run independent villa specialist with villas in 100 destinations across the Med. Seven nights at Superior Villa Keri at Aphrodite Hills is from £1,405 in total or £234pp, based on select December 2021 dates and from £2,834 in total or £472pp for select July and August 2022 dates.
See the full article here