Clustered in and around the ancient seaside city of Paphos on the beautiful island of Cyprus are three of our very favourite Mediterranean hotels. Owned and managed by the Michaelides family, Almyra, Annabelle, and Anassa consistently impress and delight on every visit, and the three hotels are world-renowned for their luxurious hospitality, stunning views and superb dining options. We spoke to Natasha Peleties (née Michaelides) to talk about her family business and to dive deeper into what makes their three hotels so exceptional.
Sun-kissed beaches, wild and untamed mountains, and breathtaking historical sites make Cyprus a truly unforgettable holiday destination, and nowhere is the traditional Cypriot hospitality epitomised more than at the three beautiful boutique hotels run by Thanos Hotels. Natasha tells us that the company has always at the forefront of welcoming travellers to the island. ‘We were founded forty years ago by my father, the late Alecos Michaelides,’ she tells us. ‘He wanted to provide exceptional quality accommodation on Cyprus, which was then not traditionally a holiday destination.’ While Cyprus is now one of the more popular destinations in the Mediterranean, Natasha and her family still follow in Alecos’ trendsetting footsteps. ‘We want to share the many delights of our beautiful island,’ Natasha says, ‘There is so much to do on our island, from water sports to shopping, to hiking through our beautiful natural environments. Here in Cyprus, we really do have something for every kind of traveller.’
Although more recent Cypriot history has been at times fractured and difficult, Natasha encourages her guests to look beyond the recent past and instead to discover the splendour of the ancient world buried beneath the surface. ‘You can really get a sense of the ancient world from the many archaeological sites – Paphos is home to some of the most stunning Roman mosaics in the eastern Mediterranean.’ But really, Natasha tells us, the best way to experience Cyprus is ’by traveling into the island’s interior, visiting small villages and discovering what they have to offer – we guarantee you will receive a warm welcome, and perhaps a glass of wine or two!’ It is this legendary Cypriot hospitality that defines the philosophy of Annabelle, Almyra and Anassa.
The oldest of the three sisters, Anassa is ‘truly iconic’, according to Natasha. ‘It was the first luxury hotel in Cyprus,’ she tells us, ‘and is particularly lavish in its design and facilities.’ It certainly is lavish – from the neo-classical atrium filled with gurgling water features to the beautifully vibrant garden sloping down to the sea, Anassa has an air of refined elegance and grandeur. The hotel remains true to that rustic Cypriot hospitality so important to Natasha however, with a traditional taverna serving hearty fare such as homemade halloumi cheese, and Natasha’s favourite, the grilled octopus souvlaki. In all aspects of the hotel, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and Natasha and her team know that the most important thing is for guests to be able to unwind within a relaxed environment. Indeed, Natasha’s favourite aspect of the hotel is ‘staying in one of the villas, which is your own house in the surroundings of the resort.’
Nestled in the ancient fishing town of Paphos, Almyra is no less elegant than her sister but with a ‘sleek and modern design’ that Natasha feels represents the forward-thinking philosophy of the company. For her, the Almyra is the perfect hotel for families and for ‘modern, travel-savvy guests.’ Almyra is also popular for its lavish rooftop spa, an adults-only oasis of wellness and relaxation, and Natasha admits that this is one of her favourite spots in the hotel. ‘It’s a world on its own,’ she tells us, ‘having drinks while overlooking the castle sunset is a gift from God.’ Does she have a favourite tipple? Natasha laughs. ‘The quintessential Cyprus sundowner is a combination of Mastiha liqueur, fresh basil and sparkling lemonade!’
The third Thanos property in Cyprus, Annabelle is inspired by the rustic simplicity of the island itself ‘Annabelle evokes classic Mediterranean charm, of blue seas and warm stone,’ Natasha tells us. The hotel’s restaurants are particularly well known for their fresh, local cuisine, albeit with an Asian twist. ‘The selection of Cyprus dips with marinated olives is delicious,’ Natasha says. The grilled jumbo prawns with saganaki prawns are particularly good as well. The hotel has recently undergone an extensive renovation, and Natasha is excited about the hotel’s new facilities. Her favourite is Ouranos, the new rooftop restaurant and bar. ‘Ouranos means sky in Greek,’ she tells us, ‘it’s the right word to describe it. While standing there you feel you are up in the sky!’
Of course, whichever of the three you visit, you’ll enjoy welcoming hospitality, luxurious surroundings and delicious food. As Natasha says, ‘We aim to provide long-lasting memories for our guests. Regardless of which of our hotels to choose to stay in, you can be sure of stunning views, sunshine and real Cypriot hospitality – we want our guests to come back again and again.’