The Greek philosopher Zeno wrote, “Wellbeing is attained by little and little, and nevertheless is no little thing itself.” Ouranos Wellbeing Spa takes this philosophy to heart—building treatments that, little by little, help you obtain a sense of balance and good health. So, too, do the chefs at the adjoining Ouranos restaurant. The dishes there all provide “a good balance of nutrients and use ingredients that give you more energy,” says Executive Chef Laurent Brun. The poke bowls, for example, carefully balance 35% vegetables, 20% grains, 20% cereals, 15% low-fat protein, and 10% sauce. Now the spa and restaurant have teamed up to provide special packages that match treatments with drinks and dishes for focused wellbeing outcomes. For example, those seeking to detoxify will start with the Sea to Sky Cleanse, an organic body scrub followed by a wrap with algae; afterwards, enjoy a Detox smoothie (featuring mango, spinach, coconut milk, ginger, honey, and quinoa seeds) with the Prawn and Avocado Poke Bowl. For an experience that soothes hormonal stress, reduces water retention, and furthers weight-loss goals, try the Pontos Body Wrap followed by the Skinny smoothie (a blend of banana, berries, almond milk, yoghurt, honey, and chia seeds) and Spicy Grilled Tofu. The Aegle Detoxifying Scrub is an invigorating mineral-rich salt crystal scrub that purifies the body and boosts energy fields; it is complemented by a Green smoothie (apple, lettuce, water, honey, and Himalayan pink salt) and Argentinian Style Corn Fed Chicken. Why not spend an afternoon focused on the pursuit of wellbeing? Call the spa on 26885000 for reservations.
The culinary traditions of Cyprus developed around what is available on the island. While fresh ingredients are essential, “the herbs create the taste,” says Marios Efstathiou, Annabelle’s sous chef. He uses fresh herbs, grown on the hotel’s grounds, and adjusts menus seasonally. At seaside taverna Mediterraneo, cooks follow traditional recipes but experiment with herbs to create outstanding flavourings. Vouttimata—a selection of Cypriot dips—is a case in point. The tzatziki is started by infusing fresh mint in cold milk; then garlic, cucumber juice, and yoghurt are blended in to create a smooth sauce. Moungra is made from cauliflower. After blanching the cauliflower, the cook creates a dough of flour, water, yeast, and mustard seeds; the mixture ferments and preserves the cauliflower. And Mediterraneo’s fava is made with black beluga lentils and seasoned with ground toasted cumin seeds and lemon. Seasonal dishes in July include a mint and basil pesto made with rocket and parsley. Courgette flowers are in season too; they are stuffed with feta, thyme, red pepper, olives, and parsley before being coated with bread crumbs and deep fried. Taverna meze is all about sharing—trying a wide variety of dishes and comparing notes. The chicken gyros allow diners to experiment with taste, too. Chicken is marinated in fresh herbs—thyme and oregano—along with white wine and olive oil and then grilled over charcoal. It is presented on the skewer, so diners can create their own flavourings by stuffing the pita with the vegetables and condiments of their choice.
Pafos Harbour is lined with a promenade, making for an easy stroll through the lively seaside community. Step out of the Annabelle gardens and turn right, toward the centre of the harbour. As you walk, you’ll see sunbathers on lounges and swimmers in the shallow tidepools of the sea. Cafes, restaurants, ice cream stands, and shops also ring the coast. As you approach the marina, look to the right—you’ll see the entrance to Pafos Archaeological Park. You can easily spend half a day viewing the Roman ruins here, including an ancient theatre and the remains of stately villas featuring colourful mosaic floors. Continuing to the marina, you will find boat excursions on offer along with other marine activities. You can also observe commercial fishers returning with the day’s catch. Soon you’ll arrive at the centrepiece of the harbour—the medieval castle. Built by the Franks in the 13th century, it was later modified and then destroyed by the Venetians, who were afraid the invading Ottomans would use it to consolidate power. The Ottomans eventually prevailed, restoring it in 1592. This structure and some nearby ruins are all that remain of the medieval defensive structure surrounding the harbour. Visitors to the castle (€2.50 per adult) can observe the small prison cells off the central hall, which serves as a visitors’ centre and gallery space—the current show is “Akamas: Nature, Myth, Man.” Climb to the roof to enjoy the panoramic view and retrace the steps of your journey.
Xynisteri is an indigenous variety of grape widely cultivated in Cyprus. Like sauvignon blanc, xynisteri yields a dry white wine with flavours of green grass, intense tropical fruits, herbs, and minerals. Though cultivated for generations on the island, the grape has recently been used to produce premium wines under the guidance of well-trained oenologists using modern technology. Aphrodite Constanti, who trained in Bordeaux, keeps a careful tab on each year’s harvest in the Kathikas region, where she is winemaker for Vasilikon Winery. She takes great care to treat the grapes gently, using traditional methods (harvesting by hand) and new technologies (cold maceration in stainless steel tanks, gentle pressing using pneumatic pumps). After fermenting in a stainless-steel tank for about two weeks, the wine goes through the process of bâtonnage—stirring and filtering for months—until the wine is ready for bottling. According to Annabelle’s sommelier George Kassianos, “xynisteri is a good match with local cuisine. It pairs well with halloumi and feta cheeses, meze, and Greek or village salad for lunch, and fish, calamari, and grilled lemon chicken for dinner.” As with most varieties, terroir makes a difference in taste, with the limestone and clay soil and low altitude in Kathikas giving a green minerality, and the volcanic soil and higher altitude of vineyards near Limassol yielding “complex flavours with notes of minerality and some very worthy wines,” Kassianos notes. Chill xynisteri to 9° C before serving in the same glasses you’d use for riesling or sauvignon blanc.
Ever since Ouranos debuted its lunch menu in May, one question keeps forming on the lips of diners: What’s a poke bowl? It turns out to be a Hawaiian dish that is enjoying its moment in the sun! Invented by fishermen so they could enjoy scraps of raw fish as a light snack, the poke (pronounced POH-keh) bowl traditionally combines raw fish with grains, vegetables, fruits, and seasonings. Of the four on offer at Ouranos, the Tuna and Mango Poke Bowl is the most traditional: tuna tartare, served on a bed of jasmine rice alongside pickled ginger and sliced mango, is seasoned with ponzu sauce, scallions, and sesame seeds. The result is a light, healthful meal with a balance of sweet and sour flavourings. According to Laurent Brun, Annabelle’s executive chef, as the poke bowl’s popularity has grown, “the concept evolved to include other low-fat sources of protein, including cooked meat and seafood.” For example, Ouranos serves an Angus Beef Poke Bowl with butternut squash, lotus root, and pickled cucumber; other bowls feature honey chicken and grilled prawns. The poke bowl is a natural fit for the lunch menu of Ouranos, which complements the focus on health and wellness at the adjacent spa. In addition to poke bowls, the Ouranos lunch menu offers a selection of vegetarian dishes, grilled meats and seafood, and light desserts. Stop in soon to enjoy a nutritious lunch—and discover why the poke bowl is a hot culinary trend.
As part of its extensive recent renovation, Annabelle has added five stunning new duplex suites to its room offerings. Perched high on top of the hotel, the suites boast panoramic views of the harbour. Enter your suite to find a 49-square-metre living room with space for lounging, watching television, and enjoying a beverage from the wet bar; the living room opens to an 8-square-metre balcony facing the sea. Upstairs, find a generous 31-square-metre bedroom with additional lounge space opening onto yet another 8-square-metre sea view balcony. The bath features a double wash basin, a deep bathtub, and a separate shower; the WC is separate, too. There is also a walk-in closet for storing luggage and your wardrobe. Parisian interior designer Joëlle Pleot has created a refined, breezy feeling to the suites, setting the background with bright white walls and sandy marble floors. Rolling wooden shutters, lightly finished, grace the balcony doors, adding a touch of colonial charm and a measure of light control. The furniture, custom made by Cypriot carpenters, offers clean lines, warm wood tones, and upholstery recalling the colours of the sea and sky. A Karyatis suite could be your personal aerie, a spacious private retreat where you can survey the sea’s endless horizon.