Glorious weather and resort
IT is easy to see why most people who visit the St Raphael Resort Hotel in Limassol return again and again.
The five-star hotel offers everything for a great holiday for families, couples and solo travellers.
And not just during the summer. Temperatures in Cyprus from October through to April can reach as high as 27ºC (79ºF) and while it does get cooler, the sun is almost guaranteed to come out.
We enjoyed a week during the recent half-term break and the weather was glorious – just like the hotel.
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It is very rare that a holiday resort lives up to its billing in the brochure. Usually the descriptions and photographs are a little on the imaginative side and when you arrive you are left feeling disappointed and short-changed.
Not so The St Raphael. It lived up to every promised word and was even more beautiful than the brochure and online photographs suggested.
I knew we were in for something special when we arrived at the hotel in the early hours of the morning after a four-and-half-hour flight from Exeter.
The entrance and lobby are stunning and the staff could not have been more helpful, making sure we were settled in and even providing a bottle of milk for my weary five-year-old.
Our executive room was big, spacious and fully equipped with TV, fridge, WiFi and tea and coffee-making facilities – and there was even fresh fruit, wine and water waiting for us. There were bunk-beds for little ones, a massive king-size bed for the adults and a sumptuous bathroom complete with a wide selection of toiletries.
The large balcony over-looked a stunning swimming pool and the views stretched to the resort's own 237-berth marina, nearby beach and out to sea.
The hotel is in the beautiful Amathus area of Limassol, approximately 11km from the town centre, set within acres of beautifully landscaped gardens.
The breathtaking views and luxurious marble interiors are just a few of the features to be enjoyed. There's also the Serenity Spa with a wide range of treatments on offer, a gym, children's club, an indoor pool and three outdoor pools, including one for youngsters, a children's playground, plus a private beach just a short walk through the gardens.
A couple of years ago the resort underwent a complete renovation at a cost of 12 million euros and last year yet more money was invested on refurbishments and upgrades.
There is now a brand new games room for guests aged between 12 and 18 years old. The area features a variety of arcade games, two football tables, a pool table, table tennis and card tables as well as a relaxing sofa area for younger guests to chill out and socialise.
The popular Octagon Restaurant has also undergone a total makeover and has been expanded to offer a larger seating capacity, new buffet areas as well as a new entrance and reception area.
These upgrades all add to the hotel's already five-star arsenal. And I cannot recommend it strongly enough.
Never have we received such fantastic service at a hotel. The care and attention every member of staff provides is exceptional.
My daughter celebrated her birthday while we were there and she was given a lovely birthday cake after our evening meal and a special sing-song and certificate at the children's disco that night. It really made it a day to remember for her.
We opted to stay on the ultra all-inclusive board option, and the food – usually hit and miss when you go all-inclusive – was amazing and always available. From breakfast to dinner, and all the snacks in between, I could not fault it.
You can choose where you dine from a selection of restaurants, and always the quality and choice were excellent.
Even as a vegetarian I was well catered for, as was my fussy five-year-old. And don't get me started on the puddings – at least a dozen to choose from every night.
There was entertainment in the main restaurant each evening, providing lovely local background music to the meal.
And for the youngsters the popular kiddies disco, run by the staff from the kids club, was packed every night with eager youngsters desperate to dance.
For couples wanting a relaxing holiday away from children, there are plenty of quiet areas and the award-winning Sailor's Rest restaurant at the marina for meals.
It will be difficult to find another hotel which offers such great family facilities, with five-star luxury.
And to be able to fly from Exeter makes it all the more convenient. We parked at the airport which helped take the stress out of travelling.
So if you are looking for some winter sun, or a holiday next summer, visit the St Raphael Resort and enjoy some great Mediterranean hospitality.