Annabelle is the first luxury, five-star resort to have been opened in Cyprus. It was founded by Alecos Michaelides, a hotel operator from Farmagusta who fled that city after the 1974 Turkish invasion. Michaelides moved to what was then a quiet fishing harbour—Pafos—and began to develop the area’s potential for tourism. He was responsible for opening the Paphos Beach Hotel, the first resort on the harbour (in 2003 the Michaelides family upgraded it to five-star status and rechristened it Almyra). After purchasing the land on which it would be built, Michaelides set about constructing the main building of Annabelle for debut in 1985; the opening ceremony was overseen by George Thomas, the Right Honourable Viscount Tonypandy, a former Speaker of the United Kingdom’s House of Commons. The property continued to develop in stages, with the second wing and the grotto opening in 1987 and the waterfall debuting in 1989. Because luxury service was new to area, Michaelides recruited staff from the area and trained them: Annabelle came to be known as the ‘University of Pafos’ because of the intensity of the training. The kitchens developed the Food from the Village concept, using sophisticated culinary techniques and the freshest local ingredients to make traditional dishes sing. In 2018, the hotel reopened after a €10 million renovation to reveal a new rooftop retreat sporting a restaurant, a spa and fitness centre, and an indoor pool; new duplex suites and renovated guest rooms completed the refresh. Annabelle intends to make history for years to come.
When artist Sergis Hadjiadamos first gained access to the photographic archive of his uncle in 2006, he had high expectations. The uncle, Spyros Haritou, was one of the first photographers in early twentieth century Pafos, having opened a studio in 1925. Haritou made portraits of well-known residents and recorded the religious, cultural, and political life of the city. The size of the archive is indeed impressive: 1653 cartons, each containing 10 glass negative plates. Having been stored in the basement of the photographer’s house for decades, though, the archive was badly damaged by humidity. Hadjiadamos made numerous, unsuccessful attempts to detach the negatives from each other and make prints from them. After receiving permission from his relatives to use the archive in any way he saw fit, Hadjiadamos decided to make images from the damaged negatives using high-resolution scanners. What emerged are portraits distorted by the passage of time, with limbs and facial characteristics faded or dissolved and individuals layered upon one another. Hadjiadamos transferred selected images onto aluminium composite sheets, fixing the remaining traces into a new medium—and then he further embellished them with rough brushstrokes and interpolated details. These new works are featured in the exhibition ‘Metamorphosis’, which opens on 8 June 2019 at 19:30 on the Mezzanine of Annabelle. The opening features remarks by Charalambos Mbakirtzis, Director of the Anastasios G. Leventis Foundation, and curator Kostas Prapoglou. Viewers are invited to contemplate the process of preserving and reconstructing memory through the artist’s interpretation of the traces from the archive. The exhibition continues through 30 June.
It’s all about layering. That’s the advice from servers making the ice cream sundaes at Annabelle’s new poolside ice cream trolley. The popular Strawberry Sundae, for example, features one scoop each of strawberry and vanilla ice cream connected by a layer of strawberry sauce and topped off with Chantilly cream and slices of fresh strawberries. Similarly, the maker of the Frappe Sundae stacks the coupe with a scoop of coffee ice cream, a layer of coffee syrup, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, Chantilly cream, and cookies. As you dip your spoon into the sundae, the layers of flavours meld into delicious combinations. Getting the hang of it? You’re ready to command a bespoke Kids’ Sundae (which we’ve noticed is very popular with adults, too!). Select the flavours for two scoops of ice cream (we have vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry), the flavour of one sauce (also available in vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry), and one garnish (try Oreo cookies, Smarties, chocolate pearls, or marshmallows). Strategize with your server on where to add the garnish for maximum impact! The Kids’ Sundae is topped with Chantilly cream. Interested in something sophisticated? Try the Exotica Sundae, a combination of mango, banana, and lemon sorbet, fresh pineapple, dried coconut, financiers, and, of course, exotic sauce (we’re not sharing the recipe!). Watch our server at work and you’ll soon master the art of crafting a delicious ice cream sundae.
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.
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.
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.