Hashtag Life visits Columbia Beach Resort, a gourmet luxury beachside gem, nestled in Pissouri Bay, Cyprus
On arrival at Larnaca airport, I had to double take and check if I had mistakenly landed on a Caribbean island. The air which filled the airport, mimicked only those I have experienced across the Atlantic: Conviviality. The feeling as though you’re in for one big party, before you’ve even left the airport. Everything is clean, clear, airy, and everyone is smiling. Of course in Dominica and the Bahamas they would also have actual live bands stationed at the arrivals gate to welcome you onto their island. But with or with out the serenade, we could already tell from the breeze of an arrival experience at Larnaca, that we had landed on a ‘happy’ island; and shouldn’t all islands feel that way?!
We were visiting Pissouri; a small village in itself, equidistant between Limassol and Paphos, two of the most popular districts in Cyprus. Nearby is the ancient city-kingdom of Kourion, as well as Petra tou Romiou, which is one of the most tranquil spots on the island and said to be the birthplace of the ancient goddess Aphrodite, and which hosts the (much instagrammed) “Aphrodite’s Rock.” The village itself features beautiful squares with historical churches, including the stunning and traditional church of St Lazarus, as well as beautiful views of the quaint village houses amidst a land of sand and desert, and then of course, there is Pissouri Bay, which led us to our destination of choice: The Columbia Beach Resort. From the moment you arrive, (which in our case was at 1 in the morning!), you are intoxicated.
The resort is carved into a beautiful traditional Greek sense of architecture and design, but levels this with an extremely modern and refined feel. This is partly owed to the sweeping landscape and spaces it encompasses, the high ceilings, the manicured gardens and floral touches at every corner, and, my favourite aspect: the fact that this is an all-suite resort. I should really warn you, that as a professional traveler, it is my job to visit as many places as I can in close succession. Yet ever since arriving at Columbia, I didn’t want to leave, and since leaving, I’ve only wanted to return. The suite concept affords every visitor an entry level of luxury, space, and comfort for their accommodation. The suites only vary in the views they offer, and slightly in space; but each room is as beautiful as its neighbouring category. Two suites do come with their own outdoor pools; although these are not particularly deal breakers once you’ve seen and experienced the resorts own outdoor semi-infinity pool and, of course, its mile-long private beach.
The beach here at Columbia is a pebbled one; so do bring your jelly shoes. However, once past the rocky descent, the waters you find yourself in are of the clearest and cleanest you’ll find, boasting the best of the Mediterranean. The beach itself at Columbia is wide and expansive, so even during high occupancy (we were there during 80%) – you can still very easily find space and seclusion: probably one of the resort’s best assets and certainly part of it’s ethos once you consider they way it has been architected and laid out.
The ode to Columbia, which I feel obliged to sing to every corner of the world and visitors to come, must, however, go to its culinary successes. For all my travels, this is perhaps the most well-rounded, and fulfilling resort of all, in terms of it’s food and beverage offering. For starters, it does something revolutionary, which I only wish all resorts could take example from: any half or full board lodger at Columbia has the choice to dine at any of the resort’s four restaurants. Gone are the days of full board packages equating to 7 nights of the same buffet-meal at the main restaurant, whilst spending additional supplementary charges which render the existing package (which had lured you out here in the first place) completely pointless, grant you access to the ‘finer’ dining options. Not at Columbia. This hotel hosts 3 different main restaurants which, I in all honesty, would find it extremely difficult to choose between, but finally did on our last night, when I sampled the Gourmet Italian Dining Option: Bacchus.
Executive Chef Ioannis Giakoumidis puts together a Michelin-Star-Worthy menu and culinary journey of local flavours with an Italian influence, rival-beating presentation; and unfailingly memorable fusions of flavours. I have not felt so passionately about a restaurant or it’s dishes in a long time, since the world was over-taken by two popular movements ‘fusion’ and ‘modern’ cuisine, whatever they seem to mean these days! Bacchus restore your faith if you have lost it, and ignites a passion and enjoyment for each dish you are presented to, ameliorated by an exemplary and perfectly professional staff from all corners of Europe. By the end of our meal I was not only attached to each dish we had been presented, but each member of the team who had schooled us through this delectable culinary journey, including Panayiota, Peter, Ioannis, and our wonderful sommelier Peter. The vision that Chef Giakoumidis has had for this restaurant, clearly transpires through his staff, as they relay each dish, such as the salmon starter with marinated textures of salmon, caviar and tatatare, accompanied by fennel beetroot and a crab croquette, leading all the way to the most incredible and creamy moscovato vanilla salted caramel dessert with a crunchy base to rival all patisseries and cheesecakes world-wide, to finish. If our account of Bacchus alone doesn’t have you already booking your visit, then Cape Aspro, the resorts seafood restaurant which saw us lunching on the same dishes for three days straight out of pure addiction to their healthy, hearty, succulent, meditteranean menu (honestly, what do they put in this food?!) definitely will. Grilled seafood of all varieties, accompanied by freshly grilled mediterranean vegetables, tapenades, dips and side dishes, with a splash of modern twists such as the crab loukamades (which are usually a fried doughnut-like dessert dipped in honey!) and a plentiful sushi menu, seal the deal and undeniable decision that this resort hosts one of the best varieties and standard of dining options in Europe, if not further worldwide.
Columbia’s undoubtable selling point is that if offers guests every amenity they could seek in a seaside retreat, and luxury stay. From the stunning backdrops, to the perfected sense of hospitality; from the spacious luxury accommodation, to the egalitarian gourmet dining options; from the proximity to cultural sites, to the nearly all-year-round perfect weather, I struggle to see how any visitor would fail to return here year after year. So if you haven’t been yet; what are you waiting for – put our review to the test and experience this hidden gem for yourselves.
We flew with Cobalt Aero – Cyprus’s airline of choice and the largest airline in the Republic of Cyprus. Cobalt is a flexible ‘next generation’ airline offering a range of flight options from seat only economy fares through to business class built to deliver an optimal-comfort guest experience, at impressively competitive rates! Cobalt flies to a range of destinations from Abu Dhabi Tel Aviv and Beirut, to Frankfurt Moscow and Madrid, whilst of course servicing all Cyprus airports as well as Athens and Mykonos. Most impressively, is the airlines Business Class product, which, for fares which rival some airlines economy and premium pricing, will invite guests to enjoy all the expected benefits such as 2x20KG Checked In Luggage, express check-in and priority boarding, spacious 40-inch seating. An additional benefit the airline offers its business class passengers is the great concept of ‘Dine on Demand’ meaning absolute flexibility on when you want to enjoy your in-flight dining! Book your flights online at: https://cobalt.aero
During our stay, we drove around the beautiful landscapes of Pissouri with the new Porsche Cayenne e-Hybrid, provided by A.I. Motokinisi Ltd, the official importers and distributors of Porsche Cars in Cyprus. Learn more here: https://www.porsche.com.cy and watch our video of this beautiful, eco-friendly car in action here:
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