The resort's palm-fringed pool overlooks the sea

Located on the southern coast of Cyprus, halfway between the towns of Limassol and Paphos, Columbia Beach Resort seemingly provides the ideal retreat from which to explore the area. Not usually one to opt for big, secluded resorts, Coralie Modschiedler puts the hotel to the test.

The warm breeze that greets me as I step off the plane at Larnaca airport couldn’t be more welcoming. Summer at last. One hour’s drive later and we’re finally reaching the grand entrance of the Columbia Beach Resort. Attentive staff immediately take our luggage and escort us to reception, where a fruity champagne cocktail and our room key await.

Columbia Beach Resort - beachThe resort has a private beach
WTG / Coralie Modschiedler

I can’t stop staring through the floor-to-ceiling windows - the view over the hotel’s huge lagoon-style pool and across the bay to the azure blue sea and steep white cliffs is breathtaking. I know where I’m heading as soon as I get my key.

Of course, this is a 5-star luxury hotel so I’m not just taken to my room; I’m driven to it - in a golf cart. My suite is just 30 seconds away though, so the short drive feels a bit unnecessary, but glamorous nonetheless. I could get used to this.

The resort is huge – it’s got 94 suites, two restaurants, its own beach and even a small chapel – but it somehow manages to feel intimate. This effect is largely created by the cleverly spread-out, low-rise stone buildings and terracotta roof tiles that give the place a Cypriot-village feel. For the real thing, Pissouri village is just minutes away, perched on the cliffs above the bay. Small and charming, it’s got a few restaurants and cafés worth checking out, as well as stunning views of the Mediterranean coastline.

Columbia Beach Resort - suiteThe suites' neutral tones reflect the cliff surroundings
Columbia Hotels & Resorts

My suite has everything I could need, and more – a king-sized bed, marble bathroom replenished daily with Molton Brown toiletries, a living room with comfy sofa and TV, minibar (or rather mini kitchen) with tea- and coffee-making facilities, and a terrace with table and chairs. Cool, stone floors and a ceiling fan keep the room fresh (air conditioning is also available), while the neutral colours of the fabrics and furniture reflect the surrounding, soothing landscape of the cliffs and sea. Complimentary water and goodies, including a mini bottle of traditional Cypriot liqueur and homemade marmalade, are a nice touch, and a welcome change from the usual bowl of fruit.

I’m quite intrigued by the ‘control panel’ by the bed – basically a box which controls the lighting system in the entire suite. So you can switch all the lights on and off as you please from your bed by simply pressing buttons on a map – genius.

Less alluring, however, is the dead cockroach I’ve just spotted on the bathroom floor. I’m not too fussed (spiders are worse in my book), but the cleaners should have spotted it. Undeterred, I change into my swimsuit and a summer dress I’ve been itching to wear for months (but couldn’t because of the below par British weather) and head to the pool.

Columbia Beach Resort - spaSwim into the spa from the outdoor pool
Columbia Hotels & Resorts

It’s already 6pm but the weather is just the right temperature now, and the palm-fringed pool is a delight. If you swim the length of it (a mere 80m/262ft) you can swim into the indoor heated pool that’s part of the resort’s award-winning spa. Giant doors magically open as you approach and let you in. The spa looks amazing. Purple hues and a relaxed atmosphere – I’ll have to revisit later.

If you’re up for an active break, the resort has plenty of options, from squash courts and watersports to yoga and aerobics classes, while several golf courses are also located nearby.

If, like me, you prefer to unwind, the resort’s 2km (1.2-mile) beach will do just fine. Don’t expect pristine white sand and turquoise waters though – beaches on this side of the Mediterranean are less postcard-perfect – but don’t worry as the cliff views more than make up for it.

Columbia Beach Resort - tavernaThe outdoor taverna is a good option for Cypriot meze
WTG / Coralie Modschiedler

For dinner, there are two options. The Dionysos gourmet restaurant, which has a terrace by the pool, offers tempting international cooking and à la carte menus (this is also where breakfast is served), while the less formal, outdoor Apollo taverna is a good option for Cypriot meze. We opt for the taverna, where traditional Greek songs performed by a friendly duo keep us entertained while we tuck into a fresh prawn and avocado tartare, served with homemade bread. The locally grown avocados taste delicious and are some of the best I’ve had.

I’m also impressed with the quality of the wine. The restaurant manager tells us the best wine in Cyprus is produced by small family-run wineries in mountain villages. She recommends the Lambouri and Tsiakkas wineries in particular. We decide to follow her tip and order a glass of Tsiakkas with our mains of oven-baked chicken stuffed with mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes. The flavours of the food and the wine are a perfect match. The chocolate mousse with apricot jam we have for dessert is almost too much, but pleasantly tastes light and fluffy rather than rich and heavy.

Columbia Beach Resort - breakfastBreakfast can be taken poolside
Columbia Hotels & Resorts

After a very good night’s sleep, breakfast also turns out to be pretty special – the buffet has everything you can think of, from freshly baked chocolate muffins to omelettes and waffles, and you can eat by the pool. I wish I could do this every day.

I have to say it’s hard to fault the Columbia Beach Resort. And for this price, you’re getting so much more than you would in other parts of the Mediterranean. I admit, the place has won me over and conquered my dislike of big resorts. It doesn’t feel over the top or exclusive at all, and it really delivers.

Columbia Beach Resort
PO Box 54042, 3779 Limassol, Cyprus
Tel: +357 (0)25 833 000.
Price: Suites from €257 including breakfast.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.