With the long summer holidays just beginning, Lady Wimbledon shines a spotlight on some of the best destinations for couples, families and friends, kicking off with a luxe family escape in Cyprus: the Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa in Limassol.
Cyprus is an island of natural beauty. Its sandy beaches, easygoing pace and crystal clear waters have been cleansing my soul of the stresses of London life since I was a child.
But with family and friends based in the region of Paphos – and fierce aunties scowling at even the mention of Ayia Napa – I have in the past never ventured much further than Aphrodite’s rock: Petra tou Romiou, a natural coastal formation marking the spot where, according to mythology, the goddess of love arose from the sea. Making Cyprus, you could argue, the original Love Island.
Last half term, the children and I decided it was time to seek adventure beyond Aphrodite’s birthplace, and indulge in a little spoiling. So we packed the car and drove off through the mountains until we reached the gates of the Parklane in Limassol, following a winding lane flanked by olive and citrus trees.
The children squealed with delight when they spotted the castle and pool dedicated entirely to young families, and all our jaws dropped when we pulled up at reception and were ushered into a gob-smackingly huge and elegant white lobby.
We were greeted by our own concierge bearing refreshing glasses of chilled pomegranate juice, quickly checked in, offered a quick tour and whisked straight up to our room on the first floor.
The bedroom was extraordinarily large and looked out directly onto our balcony – the size of a small playground. The bathroom was impressive too, with a walk-in shower, soaking tub and clever lighting zones which required a few hit and miss attempts before working out which switch was the one for the loo.
The children were soon shown a secret hefty door which, when opened, led to their own interconnected ‘wing’: three single beds and a TV lounge area with Netflix, YouTube and (most importantly as far as they were concerned) WiFi and plug sockets for their own tech.
Before the concierge left us to skid giddily across the vast room and bounce-test the beds, we were asked which of the five restaurants we wanted to dine in that evening. Since we all love souvlaki, we decided to book a spot at Dafne – a relaxed eaterie serving traditional Cypriot cuisine.
However, as a part of the Marriott hotel group’s The Luxury Collection, Parklane doesn’t pull any punches where choice is concerned, and it was a tough call picking simple but mouthwatering grills over the Mediterranean delicacies on offer at Islands – an over-water restaurant hovering in the middle of a pool – or the upmarket alfresco Italian treats cooked up at Il Teatro.
Making choices as tough as this is unfortunately a daily crisis in the land of plenty that is Parklane… Which pool to swim in? What bar to order which cocktail from? Lunch by the beach or tea on your balcony? Sushi or steak? Scuba diving or spa treatment? Thankfully, decision-making is the only (first-world) problem you’re ever likely to have here.
Left to enjoy our own space for a few hours and unpack our clothes, we found sets of soft dressing gowns and slippers put out for us alongside some afternoon tea treats. This miniature sugar rush was enough to give us the energy to make our next big decision: what to do first.
There’s no feeling quite like that first holiday splashdown, and swimming beckoned: so we donned swimsuits and set out to explore the vast, glittering pool, which had a slide that the children loved.
The service was beyond belief. Fresh towels were handed to us without asking, and the minimal scattering of sun loungers around meant it felt as though we had the pool entirely to ourselves.
With four stunning pools to choose from – including a tranquil indoor pool and a saltwater pool – there was plenty of space for every guest to feel they had privacy and staff to themselves. We were so happy and relaxed, we didn’t even make it down to the beach…
Having heard there was an adults-only pool on the other side of the palm trees, as the children tucked into a mini burger and the most divine chips, I took a moment to myself to swim and splash in the water and the side Jacuzzis surrounding it while the kids watched from afar – total heaven!
My two young boys were soon clamouring to be taken to Park Kidz, the hotel’s unique children’s play park – they couldn’t decide whether they wanted to try out the giant castle, pirate ship or activity pool first – and to check out the mini football academy, where famous footballers occasionally drop in to see how the children are progressing.
Safe in the knowledge that the boys would be well looked after, I decided to take advantage of the kids’ club drop-off service. Though a trip to the resort’s thalassotherapy spa and hair salon were tempting, it was the perfect opportunity for my daughter and I to spend some quality time together.
We read, ate ice creams, played tennis, drank mocktails and mooched around the shops, chatting and enjoying each other’s company. Bliss.
Stumbling across Parklane’s resort shop, First Boutique, was a dream come true for this dedicated hat-lover: their fantastic selection of hats – not to mention the pretty Zimmermann dresses which I’d spotted in Selfridges only the week before – were going to be perfect for the evenings out I had planned with friends. And luckily I had my favourite personal shopper with me to help with all those tricky decisions: my daughter.
Later, while the hotel’s babysitting service watched over the sleeping children, my friends headed over to join me for supper and drinks – so good was the babysitter that the kids were none the wiser that I’d been able to enjoy some long summer evenings kicking my heels up – and even a few just enjoying my own company!
For this busy working mum of three, days spent at Parklane were the perfect way to unwind, lay aside my metaphorical Lady Wimbledon hat for a few hours and recharge my batteries – the perfect balance of fun family time and a little much-needed me-time.
Although I’ve spent countless happy summers in Cyprus over the years, I can honestly say nowhere holds a candle to Parklane for its luxurious feel, hospitable service and fabulous family facilities. And, like the goddess Aphrodite, we’ll definitely be coming back to this special retreat on the island of love again very soon…
Glass sculpture installation in the Parklane lobby | Photo: Deivis Bledis
CYPRUS TRAVEL TIPS
The island’s two airports – Larnaca and Paphos – are both within easy reach of Limassol and the Parklane, with a flight time from the UK of approximately 4 and a half hours. The climate is generally mild and sunny, making Cyprus a great destination for family holidays at almost any time of year, but the best of the sunshine is to be had from May to October.
Lady Wimbledon was a guest of Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa Limassol. For more information or to book, visit www.ParklaneCyprus.com.