The bath was a deep, inviting stone affair. With the exception of two bottles of bubbles I was alone, reflecting on the randomness of life: sometimes you have the man but not the bath. I had the bath but not the men.
Yes, men. The bath would have easily taken two, plus me, for a friendly game of water polo.
These days the term 'five-star' is deployed with the frequency with which fashion editors use ‘curvy’ when they mean fat. However, the Columbia Beach Resort in Cyprus is the real deal, an unequivocally five-star retreat: from its all-suite low rise villas surrounding the enormous infinity pool that leads down to Pissouri Beach, to its comprehensive spa and the kind of service that is attentive and friendly but unobtrusive. It is in fact the sort of quietly luxurious hotel you associate more with Asia than Europe, except for the naughty pot of caramel that sits alongside the Nutella, butter and jams at breakfast. Defy it if you can.
This is a place to come when you decide you are worth it, when the deal is done and you want it all at your fingertips: sun, sea, sand, spa and serenity. Personally I was up for that kind of hedonism, however our press group had been invited to go mountain biking. It was only after I narrowly escaped death that a fellow traveler said, "Whatever you do, use the back brake first."
Gung-ho Type As who find it hard to switch off totally will find a range of sports including windsurfing, kayaking and mountain biking. However, the sybaritic joys of this resort are reason enough to be here. While some hotels pay lip service to the spa concept, the Columbia features both the full range of Molton Brown treatments as well as the marine based Phytomer. There is also a sauna, steam room, gym and lots of lazy couches to lose yourself in.
After a few days, when you’ve all but forgotten about your boss, your ex and pretty much everything else, Ms R recommends a bit of glamour. Well, rather a lot actually. Upstairs at the Columbia Plaza in Limassol is where it happens. Cyprus is over the water from Beirut, which means there are some seriously beautiful women and handsome men wandering around. Factor in the well-groomed locals plus some Russians and their various hangers on, and you have some high voltage people watching and flirting. Frankly, it was a case of so many beautiful people, so little time, but Ms R rose to the occasion and expects you to do the same.
Classic Collection Holidays offers seven nights at the Columbia Beach Resort from £1155 per person this June, based on two adults sharing a junior garden view suite on a bed & breakfast basis. Price includes return flights from Gatwick to Paphos and private transfers.