We arrived at the High Life on 24 September. Although it was dark when we arrived, if arriving during daylight hours do not be put off by the first impression of the 'front' of the hotel - the hotel is back to front. The hotel consists of two blocks A and B, (we stayed in block B at the 'front' of the hotel), as you head towards the sea from block B you pass the swimming pool, this was always clean, although owner Bepa had concerns that you used the poolside shower to maintain it cleanliness. There is a plentiful supply of sunbeds around the pool, it was mainly always in the sun, but umbrellas gave shade if required and it was never crowded when we were there, despite the hotel being full. You then pass block A and pass through gardens to the reception area. The reception backs onto the bar area and the restaurant, which is the highlight of High Life. The restaurant fronts the sea, albeit some 5 metres above it, but there is a spectacular view along the coast to the new harbour where ferries depart for Turkey's mainland. The restaurant is where breakfast is taken and serves as the restaurant in the evening if you take the half board option - personally we didn't (we never do wherever we stay - apart from Italy). We did eat at the hotel on one evening taking in the lamb Kleftiko. This was all very well, but when all the 'guests' arrived, there was no one to take orders for drinks, (we had to go to the bar and order our own), the meal consisted of a nicely cooked lamb shank, and rice, etc, BUT THAT WAS IT !, there was no offer of starter or dessert. Furthermore it was not particularly cheap, we ate poppadums, starter, main and drinks at a local restaurant The Courtyard for less than we had Bepa's kleftiko (and it must be good, we ate there twice in a week). If Bepa wants to make something of his 'gem' of a hotel, he needs to make a better fist of his restaurant, making it cheap enough to entice people to 'eat in' or improve / extend the menu. Other guests were also not very impressed with the volumes of food at the hotel.
Now by now you may think why have I voted this hotel very good when all I have, is derogatory remarks to make about it.
Well, it has A LOT going for it does the High Life. It is exceptionally quiet, seafront views (all you can hear is the sea lapping at the shore), nice pool area, the rooms are large, it is very clean (special mention to the cleaning girls) good sized balconies, free A/C, and if you like cats (as we do) there are 14 of the beauties. They are looked after by Bepa and the owners daughter Mel who lives in the hotel. They are not the usual type of cats you would get in Cyprus, they are cared for and well fed. Whilst there are so many cats they do not come to you unless you want, and as it is generally so hot, they just sleep in the gardens all day, so if you do not particularly like cats this should not put you off coming here. However, if you are privileged, Tommy the 'Felix' lookalike will do a 'go cat' free running exhibition and visit you on your first floor balcony - and if he doesn't like you, he will take his life in his paws and free run onto your neighbours balcony, sometimes visiting your room (given the chance), before returning back to earth via the outside A/C unit and balcony railings.
The beachfront of High Life could be improved upon greatly with a little investment, maybe a 'man made' beach introduced instead of the 'broken concrete platform' This meant we could not enter the sea, which is a shame because it looked very enticing. Bepa could also introduce a beach bar area on the various levels down to the sea, which would also entice people to stay and spend money at his hotel. Unfortunately, at the moment he is reluctant to spend the money - maybe when he retires, his family will change this.
High Life is approximately 300 metres from the main road, from where you can catch a dolmus into Kyrenia for 2 TL (70p), alternatively it would be a good 45 mins walk into town along a very busy road, in 35C - needless to say it didn't appeal. For a further 3TL we visited 'Escape' beach, it cost 15TL each to go onto the beach, but it was worth it, as 'Escape' has large sunbeds and cushions, with hammocks in the sea, it had a bar area with food at 'beach prices'.
Like many others who visit Kyrenia, we visited Bellapais Abbey during the day, it cost approx. 15TL by taxi, the Abbey is a beautiful setting and a further visit to the fabulous Kybele restaurant one evening was required. The food was excellent, bats accompanied us, and frogs croaked their symphony in the Abbey pond, with a piano and violin recital in the indoor area of the 13C abbey to add to the ambiance. The food was dearer than in town or even the harbour, but it was special, with large portions. 2 courses with wine cost approx. £50, but if taken in the UK, you would have expected to pay double that given the location.
The harbour is a good place to visit and eat in the evening, we recommend Chimera, at the end under the castle walls. We can only recommend one other restaurant in Kyrenia as we only ate there twice. This was Pizza town near the bus station. The Pizza town special pizza was very good, as was my wife's special local lamb dish.
We hope to return to the High Life next May, so it cannot be all that bad.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A family owned hotel, just a few minutes from the center (old harbor) of Kyrenia in North Cyprus. Situated on the sea, away from noise, well suited for those seeking a quiet environment with friendly and quality service. With only 20 rooms and a restaurant with a spectacular setting, High Life is a place guests come back to year after year. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- High Life Hotel Karakoumi
- High Life Hotel Kyrenia
- High Life Kyrenia