15/05/2019
The extensive biodiversity of Cyprus can be enjoyed by a visit to the Akamas, a large nature reserve on the peninsula that forms the northwest corner of the island. There, a network of trails allows you to see a succession of plant habitats. Along the seashore, look for the yellow flowers of Pafos dandelions emerging from rocky crags and rare sea daffodils blooming on sandy beaches. Inland from the beach, you are likely to encounter dry lowlands containing shrubs less than one metre high: clusters of thorny burnet and Grecian fleabane are interspersed with herbs such as thyme and sage. Climb further from the sea and you will enter a zone known as the maquis; the scrubby vegetation here includes leafy evergreen lentisk and yellow-blossomed prickly broom along with wild olive, carob, and rock rose. Higher yet you will find groves of Phoenician juniper and forests of Cypress trees. The region also includes pastures covered with perennial bulbs and annual wildflowers. Near streams and springs, look for oleanders and other water-loving plants. Spring is the best time to see wildflowers, though some species bloom in the Fall and Winter. Of the more than six hundred plants found in the Akamas, about forty species are endemic—they are found nowhere else in the world. The two main entrances to the Akamas are at Lara Bay (about twenty minutes by car from Pafos) and the Baths of Aphrodite (about one hour); the latter has a botanical garden at its entrance.
15/05/2019
In 1993, the United Nations declared 15 May as the annual International Day of Families. Recognising the family as the basic unit of society, the UN sought to raise awareness of its key role in enabling social progress and development. The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Families and Climate Action’. How can you celebrate while on holiday at Annabelle? Given this year’s theme, your family would do well to spend some time in nature. Take a dip in the sea, for example, and remind yourselves how precious this natural resource is; you can also observe efforts to conserve marine life in the Mediterranean. Go for a hike through the Avakas Gorge in the Akamas National Park to discover species endemic to Cyprus and to appreciate efforts underway to protect them from extinction. Enjoy a meal at seaside taverna Mediterraneo, which uses only locally sourced seasonal produce, and consider the benefits of sustainable agricultural practices. Climate change is an intergenerational problem, as the younger members of the family are set to inherit a rise in global temperatures caused by the carbon emissions of the older generation. The International Day of Families is a good opportunity to discuss these issues in the family and identify concrete measures to address them. While the problem of climate change can be overwhelming, simple actions like increasing recycling, starting a home vegetable garden, or supporting wildlife conservation can have a positive impact in avoiding environmental destruction. All the family can help create a sustainable climate for the future.
07/05/2019
Guests of Annabelle are welcome to enjoy the facilities of sister property Anassa free of charge. Anassa is located on the northwest tip of the island and can be reached by car in less than one hour. Renowned for its lush gardens meandering down the hillside to the sea, Anassa boasts two outdoor pools as well as a generous beach with loungers and food and beverage service. Also on the beach is a water sports centre where you can organise all manner of excursions on the sea. Near the outdoor pools are two restaurants: Meltemi offers casual fare and a swim-up bar, while Pelagos features grilled seafood under a shaded canopy. A day trip to Anassa might include a visit to the Baths of Aphrodite (the grotto favoured by the goddess) and its adjoining botanical garden and nature reserve; you’ll find the baths just a few kilometres down the coastal road. Guests are also invited to enjoy the facilities of Thalassa Spa, named last year as the Best Overseas Hotel Spa by Condé Nast Traveller. The spa uses water pumped directly from the sea in its treatments. Enjoy the sauna, steam bath, or Roman-style indoor pool and indulge in a therapeutic treatment. Near reception, Kult boutique invites you to browse the latest fashions from Gucci, Prada, Jimmy Choo, and other leading designer brands. At day’s end, sit down for a relaxing beverage on the Armonia terrace and take in the sun setting behind the mountainous peninsula. Contact Guest Services to arrange your visit; any charges at Anassa can be applied directly to your room account.
06/05/2019
When you cook with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, you need to adjust your menu for seasonality. At Mediterraneo, Annabelle’s seaside taverna, our cooks are keenly attuned to what is available and enjoy inventing special dishes to feature what is in season. Currently, local producers are harvesting oranges, beet roots, wine leaves, and rocket leaves. Three of these ingredients are brought together in Filla, a preparation of sea bass whose name is inspired by the Greek word for wine leaves, ambelofilla. The cooks cover a sea bass fillet with rocket leaves and sun-dried tomatoes and then wrap it all up in leaves from the grape vine. Next it is cooked under pressure in a 66° water bath for 25 minutes. After removal from the water bath, the fish is charred on the grill to add a crunchy texture and a smoky flavour. It is finished in the oven and served with grilled fennel, roasted potatoes, and a citrus vierge sauce. The variety of beet roots available at this time of year creates the opportunity to make a colourful salad. Red beets are first cooked in order to soften them. After being chilled, they are mixed with raw baby yellow and baby rainbow beets to create a combination of textures. Add beetroot leaves, unsalted anari cheese, orange pieces, and almonds, and you have the Pantzaria salad (its name is inspired by the Greek word for beetroots). Settle in at Mediterraneo, take in the sea breeze, and enjoy our fresh take on seasonal produce.
18/04/2019
Hers is a familiar face to guests passing through the Lobby of Annabelle. Her name is Chrystalla Socratous, and she is the longest-serving member of the hotel’s Guest Services team. Chrystalla has been working with the Thanos Hotels group since 1997, when she was hired as a hostess for sister property Anassa. She was invited to transfer to Annabelle for a similar position and quickly bonded with the clientele—so much so that when the Guest Services team was established in 2003, she was asked to join it. Over the years, she has established strong relations with Annabelle’s hundreds of repeating guests, some of them visiting three or four times a year. ‘You must love to be around people to do this job’, she says, underscoring why she enjoys her work so much. Asked what changes she has seen at the hotel, she remarks that the formality in dress and service that characterised the atmosphere in Annabelle’s early years has relaxed into a more flexible, informal mood that guests find very comfortable. Chrystalla attributes her affinity with the guests to her childhood in Canada, where her family relocated after the 1974 invasion of the island. In Canada, she developed intercultural communication skills and a command of the English language. If you have not met Chrystalla, be sure to stop at the Guest Services desk the next time you traverse the Lobby. She and her colleagues are standing by to help you make the best of your time at Annabelle.
18/04/2019
The most common customs for celebrating Easter in Cyprus are associated with the Greek Cypriot Orthodox Church, with which 95% of the population is affiliated. Religious celebrations span the entire weekend. On Good Friday, a representation of Christ’s bier known as the epitafios is decorated with flowers before forming the centre of the sombre Procession of the Epitafios from the square to the chapel. On Holy Saturday, celebrants gather in the chapel around the epitafios for a Midnight Mass; at midnight, the lights are cut and then restored to symbolise the resurrection. At the end of the service, each congregant lights a candle to represent eternal life. Religious symbolism is also conveyed through culinary traditions. On Good Friday, many observers abstain from eating meat in recognition of Christ’s suffering on the cross, so a menu of seafood and vegetarian dishes is offered. After the Midnight Mass, the traditional Midnight Supper features flaounes (pastries stuffed with local cheeses, semolina, sultanas, and mint) and a lemony soup; diners crack the shells of hardboiled eggs (dyed red to represent the blood of Christ) as a symbol of Christ’s departure from the tomb. On Easter Sunday, lamb is roasted on the spit and enjoyed with other meat dishes that had been avoided during Lent. The celebration continues in the villages on Monday and Tuesday with singing, food, and traditional games like sack races. Annabelle offers a full programme of activities and observances during the Orthodox Easter weekend.