I arrived at Zening Resorts in Latchi, Cyprus, at almost 1am. I had that confused excitement that comes after a long journey where half of me wanted to sleep while the other half wanted to explore.
The air was hot and thick with the scent of tropical plants and flowers. Crickets clicked nosily while unrecognizable but undeniably exotic animals cawed and croaked and cheeped into the darkness.
There’s something wonderfully mysterious about arriving in a new country at night. I love that feeling the following morning when you wake up and open your curtains (or shutters in this instance) to a new view. You don’t know what you’re going to see but that excitement is one of the best feelings in the world.
In this case it did not disappoint.
I opened my shutters onto a small shaded patio partly enclosed by whitewashed walls and floating white curtains. Pink flowers climbed up the walls and fading petals collected in the draped curtains like a natural pouch of potpourri.
The private patio led out onto a grassed area where a Jacuzzi and pair of sun loungers were promising the perfect area to relax.
Looking up and the view led straight out to sea where the blue water was beckoning me in for a dip.
I quickly dressed and began my usual ‘just arrived in a hotel routine’. This basically involves aimlessly wandering with my camera in hand as I take in my new surroundings and get snappy happy.
I like to do this first thing in the morning before the other guests emerge and I feel like the hotel is all for me.
Check out my room. And yes, that’s my private hot tub!
I wandered along narrow stone paths lined with brightly coloured flowers and palm trees reaching up to the cloudless sky. I later discovered that over 5,000 flowers are planted every two weeks within the resort grounds, explaining how it stays so magnificently colourful.
Wonky steps led to a super-stylish yet relaxed poolside bar where sheer curtains wafted lazily in the morning breeze. White sofas and comfy white loungers made it feel like a stylish bar fresh from Ibiza but the surrounding signs suggested otherwise.
“No Mobile Phones’
I tucked my phone into my back pocket like a schoolgirl smuggling in a banned item.
Zening Resort is a healthy resort where peaceful wellbeing is their number one priority. This is the place to take a digital detox as well as a diet detox and they incorporate wellbeing for the mind, body and soul.
I was here for a health and wellbeing holiday, a style of holiday that is quickly becoming a favourite of mine. I love all types of travel but I particularly enjoy focusing on wellbeing for the mind and body. The days of the ‘2-week Flop & Drop Holiday’ are over and most people want more out of their holidays. I don’t want to gorge myself on food and laze in the sunshine for two weeks. I’d be bored silly! Not only that but I’d come home feeling like crap after I’d gained loads of weight and done nothing but worked on my tan.
These days I like to go home from my holidays feeling good. I was to feel healthy and refreshed, relaxed and revived and this is exactly what Zening Resorts aims to achieve.
I continue my self-guided photo tour of Zening, getting lost a few times in the maze of flowered paths, rows of swaying sunflowers and whitewashed rooms draped in colourful flowers. I find the second pool and juice bar, the herb garden and the vegetable plot where the majority of the resort’s veggies are grown.
There’s a business center and a library tucked away behind the resort. It’s well hidden enough to help us forget about the stresses of work but still there with all the facilities to help us stay connected.
I slowly work my way towards the restaurant where I enjoy a strong coffee and a plate of fresh fruit before my morning yoga session.
I love starting the day with yoga and Zening Resort has five daily classes to choose from as well as meditation and fitness classes too.
Our yoga instructor, Matt, leads us to the shade of a huge tree where we lay our yoga matts in a circle around the trunk. Behind us was the gentle shush of the sea and to the left was the rhythmic click and soft spray from a nearby sprinkler.
After the session I feel longer and leaner, refreshed and energized yet amazingly calm. Each time I do a yoga, particularly outdoor yoga, I feel like this and promise myself I’ll practice more regularly.
Once we’ve recovered from that bendy, floating on air post-yoga feeling we head to Vasilikon Winery for wine tasting.
Wine tasting in Cyprus
Vasilikon Winery produces 300,000 bottles of wine per year so it’s relatively small. It was established in 1993 by two brothers and was one of the first local wineries in Cyprus. We took a quick tour around the factory, ooooh’d and aaaah’d at the views over the vineyard and then got to the good stuff, the wine tasting.
We tried a Vasilikon dry white which was instantly a hit thanks to the peach and apricot aroma. This was followed by Einalia Rose, a fresh and floral pomegranate coloured wine. The third wine was my favourite; Agios Onoufrios is a dry red and comes from the vineyards of Paphos. The final tasting was Methy Cabernet Sauvignon, a mature red which apparently has ‘masculine aromas’. My nose obviously isn’t fine tuned enough to pick up on this manly scent but my tongue told me it was pretty tasty.
Old tools used to make wine
With a belly full of wine it was time for lunch. We ate at Yiannis Tavern for our first real experience with Cyprian food.
Before travelling to Cyprus I’d been told how incredible the food is. The second I mentioned my upcoming trip anyone who had travelled to Cyprus would suddenly launch into descriptive tales of lightly salted fish, slowly cooked meats that melt in your mouth and warm, buttery breads dipped in tzatziki, hummus and taramosalata.
I knew the food was going to be good but I had no idea it would be this good.
For the majority of meals in Cyprus we ordered sharing platters from a meze menu. You usually choose meat or fish or vegetables and the platters just keep on coming. And coming. When you feel like you couldn’t possibily eat another thing, there’s more. And it’s so delicious that you couldn’t possibly say no.
“Just a little try,’ you promise yourself. But before you know it you’ve gobbled up half the platter because it really is that good. And then the dessert comes. And then the coffee.
How on earth the Cyprians aren’t all the size of houses I don’t know.
We managed to waddle away from the table after the eighth course and somehow made it onto some bikes for a cycle tour with Bikin’ Cyprus.
It’s no secret that I love cycle tours and this one no exception.
We rode for around 4 miles from Zening Resort to the Baths of Aphrodite. It was a tough ride in the heat but the roads were clear and a gorgeous breeze swept in off the sea.
You might not think it but Cyprus plays a huge part in the tales of Greek Mythology. Cyprus was the birthplace of the Greek goddess, Aphrodite. She is the goddess of love, beauty and sexuality and many spots around Cyprus are devoted to her.
The Baths of Aphrodite are apparently where the goddess used to bathe and bring her lovers. The pool shimmers with emerald green water while fresh water trickles down the rocks from the mountains. Sunlight streams through the trees, highlighting how crystal clear the water is. You have to admit, Aphrodite chose a pretty good spot for a bit of hanky panky in the water.
The gorgeous pebble beaches and blue seas a short walk from the baths of Aphrodite
We returned to Zening Resort feeling happily exhausted and spent the next few hours relaxing in the sunshine and making the most of the incredible spa. I had a head and neck massage that left me tingling from head to toe.
It was the perfect end to the perfect day in Cyprus and I’d already fallen in love with this beautiful country.
My first day in Cyprus had included yoga under the shade of a tree, wine tasting, amazing food, a bike ride, visiting a gorgeous pool where a Greek goddess used to bathe, a visit to the spa, relaxing by the pool and then an evening with more amazing food and wine. Seriously, what’s not to love?
I’ll be sharing more about my trip to Cyprus over the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled if you’d like to find out more.