My wife and I arrived at Ayii Anargyri spa at the end of January with high expectations. The online photos looked inviting, and we'd heard one person we knew sing its praises.
So we were really quite take aback at the cold, dry welcome! Firstly, the heating seemed to be turned off when we arrived during the day, and we were shivering even though we both had a pair of jeans and a jumper on. The restored Cypriot monastery is located up in the hills of Miliou, so we found it was much colder than being at sea level. As we huddled together on the sofa to fill in our registration form, we were given a cold, refreshing drink!
We felt that the receptionist on duty wasn't at all helpful, considering that the hotel was empty! Instead of accompanying us to our room to make sure we were happy, we were given a terse smile along with our room key, and unceremoniously told to check ourselves in. Not your ideal welcome!
When we eventually found our standard room, we were less than impressed. It was even colder than the lobby, and we struggled to locate the heating control panel, all the time feeling we had made a mistake... the room felt rather claustrophobic, and we felt the photos definitely looked better online!
We immediately went back downstairs to ask for a bigger room, and we also asked that a member of staff accompany us to help check us in. We were offered a small discount on a bigger room, which had a decent sized sofa to chill out, which we happily took. It was much more inviting! I don't recommend the standard, especially in Winter when you would naturally spend more time indoors. It would be okay from Spring onwards, as you would be able to spend more time outdoors.
We found that the showers in the bathrooms of the main building were oddly built - that is to say they all had 'hand held' showers where the shower-head sat only at waist height on the wall. We were told that it was due to structural problems... seriously? If you can put a shower in the bathroom, it doesn't make sense that it only goes halfway up the wall!
Throughout our stay, we found the staff in the restaurants to be friendly and attentive to our needs, whether we ate in the 'old bar' (which was warm and inviting with its cosy fireplace!), the main restaurant 'Amaroula', or the upmarket CAVA restaurant. This felt much more positive!
We found the lunch and dinner menus to be varied, but not extensive enough; however the high quality of the ingredients was self-evident, and everything was prepared beautifully. Occasionally, we were kept waiting longer than expected, so the service could have been sharper! When ordering food, especially desserts, be aware that the Cypriots have some strange ideas when trying to be 'inventive' in the kitchen, like adding regular jam to a New York style cheesecake or apple pie etc... just be aware and check what the ingredients are in advance.
Our main gripe, once again, was that the heating wasn't turned on when we appeared for breakfast each day; it was freezing cold... and it seemed like they were trying to save money because they only turned it on when we asked!
The Spa was disappointing for us. As one other reviewer here has pointed out, the resort's current policy of trying to upsell their services, rather than genuinely trying to help guests have a relaxing, nourishing time, is a complete turn-off. When we asked about trying the bubbling spring water, we were told it would cost €15 per massage pool. No 'try before you buy' offer there! The three pools are chlorinated, so they didn't smell that inviting anyway! For the cost of staying at Ayii Anargyri, we felt that guests should be offered some time in the massage pools for free.
We really enjoyed relaxing by the lovely outdoor pool area when it was sunny and warm enough to do so - especially as the hotel was quiet at the time we booked. The downside was that they allowed other guests to smoke, even though it was also an outdoor dining area. For a health conscious resort, they need to be a lot more strict about smoking on the premises!
The nicest thing for us about Ayii Anargyri was getting to know the food manager, one of the waitresses, and the Chef. These individuals all went out of his way to make sure we were taken care of, as much as possible. They always had smiles on their faces, and genuinely cared about our experience... this made up for the lack of attentiveness when checking in, and whenever we passed by the front desk.
We found our check out experience was a lot better than checking in. One of the managers of the Spa at least gave us a cup of herbal tea, made from fresh, local herbs. The place had, despite its challenges, warmed on us somewhat, so it was good to end on a warm note too.
Ayii Anargyri certainly has the potential to be a quality "5 star" resort but, having been to many other 5 star resorts around the world, it isn't there yet. A lot more attention to detail is presently required, especially in the area of customer service.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to a dream – a dream that unfolded in 1983. We cordially invite you to steep yourself within a vision that will bring relaxation, health, well-being and no little luxury. In the spring of 2009 Ayii Anargyri Spa resort opened its doors and present the world with a sublime experience. Set in a valley of mature trees, the resort offers a unique retreat, a place of profound calm and the opportunity to enjoy the health-giving waters which have benefited visitors for so many years. This boutique hotel with accommodation for 150 guests in Suites or Classic rooms, has dedicated spa facilities in the grounds, a generous swimming pool and conference facilities for 50 people. Cuisine from locally grown produce will reveal all that is best in traditional Cypriot fare – food that is garden fresh, nutritious, flavorsome. The hotel provides the means to benefit from the time-tested remedies of the mineral rich waters which flow here – but there is so much more. An abundance of scenic attractions will delight any nature lover. Also outdoor pursuits like cycling, walking and bird watching are just a few other possibilities to make your stay a tonic for body and mind. History of healing: The Spa was first formally opened in 1649 by two brothers, Cosmas and Damianos. Their generosity in offering treatment often without thought of reward gave rise to the name Anargyri – without silver. They became known and loved locally for their selfless acts and affectionately known as saints. In the 19th century the waters were properly analyzed and did indeed contain health-giving minerals. Now the new luxury spa will offer a variety of treatment rooms and therapies many involving the sulphur water which rises naturally nearby in this tranquil setting. Ayii Anargyri has something unique. From the Cyprus hillside, a mineral-rich spring carries the soothing waters renowned for generations for their healing qualities. This remarkable stream has been channeled to the new spa where it is combined in numerous treatments now advanced by modern science. The waters are beneficial for joint or muscle discomfort and some circulatory problems. The therapies are natural and non invasive. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ayii Anargyri Natural Healing Hotel Miliou