Nestled between meandering pools and lushly landscaped gardens is Annabelle’s Grotto Bar. From April through November, the seasonal bar welcomes guests for cocktails, snacks, and conversation between the hours of 10:00 and 17:00. Approach from land or by water (the bar enjoys swim-up access with in-pool stools), and you will be greeted by bar supervisor Sakis and his colleagues. With over a decade of service at the hotel, Sakis is a fixture at Annabelle. He loves to talk through the preparation of your cocktail with you. Order a mojito and he will begin to slice a lime as he explains his preference for using homemade brown simple syrup in this drink. He mixes the lime with simple syrup and rum in a cocktail glass and muddles the mixture. Then he steps just a few feet to his garden, where he harvests fresh mint leaves; enjoy their sweet scent wafting across the bar as he lightly muddles them. He next adds the muddled mint to the glass with ice cubes, club soda, and additional, crushed ice. The drink is garnished with a sprig of fresh mint before being handed over for your enjoyment. Other popular summer drinks include the Watermelon Daiquiri—concocted with fresh melon, rum, homemade lemonade, Monin watermelon, lemon juice, and ice—and the classic Negroni, which he garnishes with strips of fresh orange peel. If you haven’t met Sakis, please stop by the Grotto Bar for a drink and a chat—he is ready to share his mixological secrets with you.
Ever long for the carefree, unconventional way of life of the Bohemian? Take the lift to Ouranos, Annabelle’s rooftop lounge, and order the Bohème, our new signature cocktail. The bartender begins by lining a gin glass with thin, lengthwise slices of cucumber. Additional cucumber slices are muddled and placed in a cocktail shaker with a generous pour of Hendrick’s gin, some St. Germain elderflower liqueur, a dash of Monin cucumber syrup, and fresh lemon juice. The bartender adds ice to the mix and shakes it vigorously. Then the concoction is drained into the glass. Two square cubes of ice, each encasing a star fruit, are placed in the glass, and additional, small cubes are added to keep the drink cool. After garnishing the glass with a gooseberry, the bartender will deliver this refreshing cocktail to you. It has a balance of sweet and sour flavourings, with light hints of cucumber melding with the tang of the lemon. Evoking the essence of summer, the Bohème cools and refreshes. It is just one of the many gin cocktails on offer at Ouranos. In fact, with a selection of 50 distinctive gins and a wide variety of garnishes and premium tonics, Ouranos offers an incredible 650 gin and tonic combinations. Ouranos’s selection covers the full range of the gin palate, and our servers are expertly trained to match gins with garnishes and tonics to create the taste that suits you best. So, whether you have a thirst for Bohemia or something quite specific, head to Ouranos for a summer refresher.
New to the list of offerings at Annabelle’s Ouranos Wellbeing Spa is a facial treatment known as ‘The Method’. Developed by London-based celebrity facialist Anastasia Achilleos, this facial is so much more than a facial—it is a holistic approach to wellness and beautification for both men and women. During the ninety-minute session, you will rest face-up on a soothing matt filled with warm water; your therapist will tuck your hands under the matt for added comfort. Soothing music creates a meditative atmosphere. The facial begins not with the face, but with the feet—they are softly rubbed as the legs are gently shaken, setting up your body for the rest of the treatment. Next comes a deep muscle release of the back, neck, shoulders, and arms. The goal is to align the central nervous system and release tension in connective tissues, yielding a relaxed and youthful feeling and appearance. Turning to the face, the therapist prepares a combination of organic plant extracts and essential oils to treat your specific needs. Therapeutic techniques such as extraction, masking, lifting and sculpting, and lymphatic drainage are employed. The entire face is attended to, leading to reduction in eye fatigue, relief of sinus pressure, relaxation of the jaw, and rejuvenation of the skin. Our therapist has been trained by Anastasia herself to perform the techniques she perfected over 20 years of practice. Try it and you’ll see why she has developed a devoted following among film actors and other celebrities.
Talk to anyone who lived in Pafos in the 1970s, and you will learn that the harbour has changed considerably since then. The harbour’s first hotel opened in 1972-73, initiating the area’s development as a tourist destination (it continues to operate as Almyra, Annabelle’s sister hotel located next door). Back then, the main commercial activity in the harbour was fishing, though you might have seen artists working in the stone warehouses left after the decline of the carob trade. This image of Pafos as a sleepy fishing village belies the rich history of its harbour. Ancient Pafos (or Palaepaphos) sat some 15 kilometres to the south-east; there, the sanctuary of Aphrodite drew pilgrims from throughout the Mediterranean world for millennia. Possibly due to a build-up of sediment in the harbour of ancient Pafos, its king founded Nea Pafos in the fourth century BCE in our current location; pilgrims alit in Nea Pafos and made a procession to the temple. The new settlement became the capital of Cyprus during the Roman era, was visited by the Apostles, suffered a catastrophic earthquake in the fourth century CE, and endured invasions throughout the Middle Ages. Evidence of this past abounds, with remnants of Roman villas, an ancient odeon, and an early Christian basilica revealed in the archaeological park. Visit the harbour’s medieval castle and consider the successive waves of peoples (Franks, Venetians, Ottomans, Britons) who conquered it. Contemporary travellers come for the sun and the sea—and to unravel the complex history of the region.
Heading up the Apostle Paul’s Road from Kato Pafos to the town centre, you will see a large tree covered with ribbons. Stop for a look and you will find that the tree, a terebinth, is rooted in what was once an underground cemetery. Legend has it that this was the catacomb of Agia Solomoni, a Jewish woman who, along with her seven Maccabee sons, embraced Christianity in the Hellenistic era. As she watched, her sons were tortured and killed by the King of Syria for refusing to accept idolatry and to give up their belief in God. Solomoni is honoured as a saint in the orthodox Christian church for her martyrdom. Descend the stairs into the catacomb and you will find a room filled with Christian icons and votive candles, two gated chambers, and two additional spaces carved into the stone. Frescoes on the walls date from the 12th century, while graffiti by Crusaders date from the 13th. In the central atrium, you can see the roots of the terebinth tree emerging from the stone. Why do visitors tie bits of cloth to the tree’s branches? Some believers make these offerings in the hope that the saint will answer their prayers. Common wishes are for fertility, cure from disease, and care for deceased relatives in the afterlife. If you would like to make an offering, you can purchase handkerchiefs and scarves at the adjacent kiosk. Some worshippers inscribe their prayers with pen on white handkerchiefs.
Almyra and Annabelle are joining forces this year to celebrate World Environment Day. Following the example of its official observation by the United Nations, our celebration of the environment will occur on 16 June. Gather on the promenade at 10:00 by our seaside restaurants, Ouzeri and Mediterraneo, and participate in our art performance! You are asked to bring plastic bottles—the more colourful the better—that we can use in the creation of an art piece. If you see any plastic waste on your way to the celebration, please pick it up and add it to our stock. Artists Katerina Foukara and Arsenty Lysenkov and teenaged students from their art studio will take the lead in assembling a work that draws attention to the problem of marine plastics and the need for recycling. They will also make a ten-metre square drawing of marine creatures with charcoal on the concrete promenade. Those passing by will be encouraged to continue the project by drawing on the promenade throughout the harbour. Local officials will join in the celebration. Let’s get everyone in Pafos interested in keeping the harbour free from plastic waste! After the celebration, the art piece will be completely recycled.