A sensory journey to Limassol, Cyprus – Scotland on Sunday Travel

From fragrance to flamingo-pedalos, beaches to back in time trips, this island destination is a treat for the senses

In one of the pools at Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Limassol. Pic: George Fakaros Vision
In one of the pools at Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Limassol. Pic: George Fakaros Vision

Limassol is billed by the Cypriot tourist board as being vibrant, but also providing “all the elements for a relaxing beach break, or an unhurried expedition of historic discovery”.

I get an in-depth taste of each of these highly appealing elements on this trip that revolves around the Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa - which proves as dazzlingly high-calibre as many of the multi-carat items in its in-house diamond boutique.

I fly in direct from Edinburgh to Paphos, which is about an hour’s drive from the resort, and after heading in to the airy reception area in vast expanses of white marble, and including epic chandeliers, the first thing I do on entering my room is step out onto its balcony.

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There, the remnants of the day’s heat still very much present in the air, I admire the view, one of the resort’s many swimming pools illuminated in electric cobalt blue in the foreground, and set against the tranquil glow of the amber lights of docked cruise ships in the distance.

My spacious room includes prestigious Frette linens as bright white and luxurious as the crests of the waves breaking on the shore of the Blue Flag beach that I can see clearly next morning, the view now drenched in dazzling sunshine.

Before me lies the resort’s modern architecture and classic, clean design dotted with sun loungers, and I can just about see the spot where we at one point head out onto the Mediterranean on a pink flamingo pedalo, a burst of colour in sharp contrast with the refreshing teal depths into which I jump in what makes for a rather different experience to my wild swimming in Scotland.

However, it also dawns on me that the majority of the stunning view - a fringe of palm trees giving way to turquoise waters that deepen to sapphire blue as far as the eye can see, under a cloudless azure sky - will be the same as it was thousands of years ago.

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Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa in Limassol, Cyprus. Pic: Contributed

We see the same view further along the coast with a visit to the atmospheric archaeological site of Kourion. This includes extensive excavated mosaics, and an open air theatre believed to have been originally built towards the end of the second century BC and still in use in its current iteration, enjoying a rather splendid vantage point overlooking the Med.

We also stop off for lunch at nearby Pissouri village, a site I imagine has also changed little in centuries in the best possible way, and sitting in the shade at O Vrakas Taverna we power through a feast of local fare including a vibrant Cyprus salad that sees tomato, cucumber, pepper, onion, mint, and feta combining in delicious technicolour fashion.

Also on the agenda is a visit to Aphrodite’s Rock, which is located in ultra-clear sea waters, and is said to be where the goddess of love was born from the ocean. Legend has it that if you swim around it three times at midnight you will enjoy eternal beauty/true love/good luck generally. (Note to self: book a flight back ASAP to do this).

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It’s then time to head back to the 25-acre resort, which is part of the Marriott hotel group, and encompasses 222 rooms, some 34 suites and 18 villas designed by Harrods Interiors. The layout and sheer size of the property means families, honeymooners, couples and solo travellers all have a suitable spot and their own space.

A room with a view at Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa in Limassol, Cyprus. Pic: Matthew Shaw.

The Parklane is also home to the Kalloni SPA, which has several impressive claims to fame, not least that it spans more than 3,000 square metres, including 14 treatment rooms, while Kalloni apparently comes from the Greek word for beauty.

I am delighted to sample the Kalloni Experience - a relaxing massage that sees me asked to choose the scent from four different candles - detoxifying, relaxing, energising or de-stress - to “take you on an intense sensory journey”.

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Suitably blissed out, I get ready for dinner, and over the course of the trip I dine in several of the resort’s in-house restaurants, including the modern design of Lanes, where I enjoy excellent salty traditional halloumi, seared with griddle marks.

We also eat at Il Teatro, an al fresco restaurant where we try out several options including the prosciutto pizza paired with a Makarounas rosé from the boutique family winery of the same name, located in Letymbou village on the west coast and says carries the viticultural history of four generations.

There are multiple dining options, indoor and out, at Parklane, Limassol, Cyprus. Pic: Contributed

One of its other products is titled “amphora” - a nod to a container used in ancient times to store precious fragrances and aromas and a recurring theme of the trip, including another excursion with far-reaching historic roots, namely an interactive look at the area’s perfume-making history.

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We head up hilly country roads and what feels like down back through thousands of years of history, to the perfume “theme park”. Its creation was inspired by the discovery of an amphora and other perfume-making equipment dating back more than 4,000 years by the Italian archaeologist Maria Rosaria Belgiorno on the island in 2003.

At the attraction we are shown ancient perfume-making methods and get the chance to create our own scent (guided by a perfumier), while we also see how the amphora clay pots are made and how much skill is required when we get a shot on the potter’s wheel.

The facility in fact makes perfume for the hotel, whose logo is an amphora adorned with a star shape borrowed from Lefkara, a village known for embroidery and lacemaking. In fact legend has it that Leonardo Da Vinci brought a Lefkaritiko lace tablecloth back to Italy, and it now adorns the Duomo chapel in Milan. The hotel’s signature scent is bottled in a small handmade amphora, using the ancient perfume-making techniques and including locally-grown bergamot and orange blossom.

The amphora logo also features on the glass door leading to my room’s balcony, my trip having proved, like the resort’s fragrance, a heady blend of ingredients that fuses millennia-old history with modern luxury to compelling effect.Prices at Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, start from €300 (approx. £257) per room, per night, including breakfast. 11 Giannou Kranidioti Street, Limassol 4534 Cyprus +357 25 862000, https://www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/travel/pfomd-parklane-a-luxury-collection-resort-and-spa-limassol/.

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Fresh seafood is on the menu at Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa in Limassol, Cuprus. Pic: Stathis Bouzoukas