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Cyprus: dishes to eat and places to stay

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The start of the season on Cyprus is, possibly, the best time: hotels offer designer suites just after winter renovation, restaurants and beaches are sparsely populated, the sun and sea present their best sides.

The Roman Empire is the only state in history that has ever owned the whole Mediterranean coast. For example, it had ruled Cyprus for four centuries, and it might have been the most stable time in the history of the island, at least in terms of administration. Today, of course, Cyprus is more inclined towards the Greek tradition (clearly separating Greeks from the mainland and indigenous islanders). However, if you look closely, Roman heritage shines through in the most unusual of places. Anassa hotel is the flagship of the family Cypriot chain Thanos Hotels and is closer to Latin traditions that look peculiar and alluring when surrounded by Greek villages with blooming fig trees, private houses in Scandinavian minimalist style and fishing boats with nets laid out to dry.

If you approach the hotel from the sea, from the Latchi harbour, you see a fantastic view: a white dome reminiscent of Italian Duomo tops the main residence that stands on a hill, and below it miniature Italian palazzos descend to the sea. The local landscape is reminiscent of Tuscany with its open spaces, careful landscape design, cypresses, that, according to one of the legends, gave its name to the island. If you drive from Pathos airport, meeting Anassa will go along a different path: left-hand driving, empty roads that either stretch along the sea or rest on cliffs, trattorias with promises of fish meze, Irish pubs with neverending sports broadcasts, more empty roads and the sun that shines into your eyes until in the end the car stops in front of a cypress alley. Right behind it is the front entrance to Anassa with rows of orange trees, Doric order, shady patios and fountains that bring coolness.

The hotel has a fanciful geography; starting from the dome every time you can make different trekking routes for each day of the week. As a start you can explore the church frozen in time and “village” Anassa, the main square of which hosts regional festivals and wedding celebrations. Or, using a network of secret routes, get to the centre of Thalassa Spa, give yourself over to the care of massage masters and detox gurus, and then spend the evening watching the sunset and moving from one restaurant to another.

It is worth keeping in mind that the gastronomy in Anassa receives special attention. Spumante for breakfast (let’s not mention an assortment of superfood and gluten-free menu) and oysters for dinner are served not in a fine dining format, but in a simple family restaurant Amphora, where guests and cats are equally welcome. Next to it, there is live music and you can hear the French accent of the maître d’ of Helios restaurant — it is as convincing as the daily-renewed menu based on French classics. There is also a restaurant with the simple name Basiliko, which doesn’t diminish the talent of the chef or the freshness of local ingredients. For the new season, which is just picking up speed, Anassa underwent a complete renovation of suites and villas. Greek designers and architects, invited by the master of interiors Parisian Joelle Pleot, added sandywhite décor and even more white silk, linen, interior pictures and soft settees in shades of white. The result is very fresh. But to encounter Anassa in this untouched serenity one must arrive at the start of the season, of course.

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