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Pampered in Paphos July 25, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hotels Cyprus.

Life is a bed of roses at the Thalassa.

We’ve come along way from the ‘good old days’ when star-rated hotels trumpeted their idea of luxurious living by offering clients a reception area in salmon and purple tones, industrial strength vinyl flooring and a bank of deeply intimidating receptionists.

In one’s boudoir one would then expect to encounter an unholy battle between swirley carpeting, flowery bed spread, and ‘rouched’ checked curtains – a lethal combination that would bring more sensitive souls out in a rash.

Only if staying at one of the world’s so called ‘Grand Hotels’ could one ever aspire to ownership of the freebie shower cap or miniature bottle of dodgy shampoo. And before you went down to partake in the delights of the set dinner menu, you could always saunter down to the foyer to peruse the contents of the gift shop, where you could choose between heavily retouched postcards of the establishment, china shoe ornaments, hotel branded biro pens, or a really ugly lumpy key ring.

A million light years have passed since those days: we are now firmly in the era of boutique/designer establishments. Trying to cater for a guest’s every need is the name of the game, so they will feel at ease within the confines of the hotel, happily deciding to stay put, at the hotel’s fine dining rooms and cocktail bars.

The Thalassa, located on a small peninsula overlooking Coral Bay in Paphos, is the very latest in sophisticated niche marketing, having launched itself on the select tourist market with the opening of its rather discreet doors to the public this season.

Last week, we dispatched our ever-willing photographer Barrie and his partner Lesley for a two-night stay to check out this total pleasure palace.

The Thalassa always collects guests from the airport or their home. And it’s no ordinary white knuckle taxi job: first you will be met by your very own personal steward, who will take you to your taxi, settle you in with offers of cool face towels, canapés and chilled glasses of champagne, then you can slip swollen ‘in-flight’ feet into a pair of comfy slippers, after which your details are fed into the hotel computer and voilà, you are now checked in en route as a valued guest of the Thalassa. Not here the tedious waiting at reception while a recently delivered busload of Brits argue over who gets the prime sea view rooms.

Barrie and Lesley’s personal steward Liina was allocated to them for the duration of their stay. Her duties included the serving of all their meals and drinks; she cleaned sunglasses or shoes, organised outings, in fact anything they should require, from a pizza served in the bath to a cup of hot chocolate at 2am or a moonlit picnic on the beach: all they had to do was ask.

Mind you, having seen their room, it’s easy to imagine why many guests just chill out within the confines; on hand are wireless internet service, mobile phone, DVD player with a stash of the latest movies, plus TV in the bedroom, which boasted a bed wide enough to allow Lesley and Barrie to slumber ‘star shaped’ if the mood caught them. An impressive espresso machine has superseded the tea maid, there are huge walk-in wardrobes, discreet but tasteful furnishings with not a swirl in sight, and best of all two separate ‘his and her’ bathrooms with serious jacuzzis, and delicious Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries. Barry’s bathroom also came complete with a family of rubber ducks.

Liina let our pair settle in before talking them through the various treatments on offer from the spa, while at the same time taking their booking for dinner.

Lesley went first for a shoulder and back massage, voted a massive hit, so much so that she followed up with a total aromatherapy body massage. By this time a shared addiction was setting in, with Barrie willingly venturing into a candle-lit room for a turn in the Hydra spa bath where he promptly fell asleep. Fuelled by this need to try out different treatments, Barrie ended up sporting a body as soft as a baby’s after falling under the spell of an hour-long session with the exfoliating salt scrub massage.

Aperitifs of strawberry Bellini’s served by Liina started off what they described as the “perfect dining experience”, al fresco overlooking the sea, with the lobster tortellini and potage of king prawn with truffle coconut having gone down a treat.

The next day, Liina had organised a picnic; the chauffeur drove our couple to Kathikas, whereupon a proper Queen Victoria style luncheon was set up beneath shady olive trees, where they sampled (off the best china, of course) a selection of tasty delights, which included king prawn, scallops, cold meats, cheese, freshly baked rolls, salad and fruit, washed down with glasses of the local Vasilikon.

Lesley by now was well into the swing of being cared for by a personal steward, so much so, the word is, that since her return home she has been incapable of so much as lifting a dishcloth.

Such attention to detail, along with the all important staff, is what really ‘makes’ an establishment, transforming it from a place to just stay for two weeks’ B&B into a truly memorable, relaxing experience.

At the Thalassa, there is plenty in the details, there is a permanent air of discreet efficiency, making guests feel that they are indeed that bit special, with plenty of thought having gone into the satisfying the genuine needs of each guest.

What – apart from Barrie’s newly discovered baby skin – was the highlight for Lesley? “We returned to our room that first night after dinner: the curtains were closed, side lights on, the DVDs we requested were there, along with fresh slippers beside the bed, on top of which was spelled out the word ‘welcome’ in fresh rose petals. That was lovely.”

Both Barrie and Lesley described their stay as an “absolutely wonderful experience”. Everything was the defining level of luxury, and, as for the rose petals, well the personal steward would of course collect them up next morning before delivering the newspapers and fresh orange juice, after inviting our happy couple to a private breakfast served by the indomitable and always unflappable Liina under shady umbrellas overlooking Coral Bay.

The Thalassa, PO Box 62874, CY8099 Paphos. Tel: 26 881500, fax: 26 881700, email: info@thalassa.com.cy, www.thalassa.com.cy

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