So, you’ve chosen Northern Cyprus as your ideal holiday destination, but now comes the challenging part – choosing the best accommodation!
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The main joy of Northern Cyprus is its relative lack of tourist development, especially compared with other Mediterranean destinations. However, the downside is that information is harder to come by, and online reviews are infrequent. Especially when a hotel has only a handful of reviews, it is easy either for someone with an axe to grind or someone with commercial interests, to effectively sabotage the results and generally, unless you can be absolutely sure of impartial advice, the general suggestion is to ignore reviews until, at the very least, ten have been posted.
As in every holiday resort or country, accommodation in Northern Cyprus comes in all shapes and sizes. You will find everything represented here, from the massive, corporate-style luxury properties to the family-run lodging. Having travelled extensively, these days I know I’m not alone in finding that the smaller places are generally the best.
Opting for small/medium, cozy facilities
A decade or so back, we all used to go to luxury hotels to experience things we couldn’t get at home: wide-screen TV, TV in the bedroom, mini-bars and all life’s little luxuries. These days, we probably leave behind at least as much luxury in our homes as we are likely to experience on holiday. Of course, this leaves out some of the world’s most luxurious hotels, but these are few and far between – and probably out of the vast majority of our price range. So, no, what I (and in my experience, most other people) look for on holiday is a place that’s attractive and clean – without going over the top. A place with impeccable service but hidden and where the staff know more about the area than I already do. A place where the views are lovely, and the food is good. So above all, I look for a place that feels totally different from being at home and totally different from anywhere else.
The history and economics of the island would fill twenty or more articles, and this is no place for political discussion. However, the vagaries of the tax system and government grants have made it easier (though not easy) for smaller holiday properties to become established. Frequently family owned and operated, these ‘hotels’ are often extremely basic, comprising a handful of villa-style apartments around a small swimming pool, usually with a bar and restaurant. In fact, many of these properties came into existence as a bar and gradually added a few places to sleep! However, the very best of these have become far more than this, offering small but comfortable rooms, fabulous settings, and haute cuisine menus.
A few tips for choosing a hotel in Northern Cyprus
Many of the very best hotels get most of their trade by word of mouth, and many are booked up, sometimes months in advance. To find the very best, you will have to do your own homework, but here are a few tips!
- First, look for small to medium properties. Still, with room facilities, you would expect to see in larger establishments.
- Second, look for village or countryside locations. Preferably, look for a spot in the hills or mountains, as these are likely to offer the best views.
- Third, look for somewhere without unnecessary facilities (I leave that up to you to define!), but with a nice pool and a restaurant. Again, preferably a small restaurant. And lastly, if there are enough reviews, take these as fact, but if there aren’t, ignore them!
Let’s have a glance at some decent facilities:
The Acapulco Beach Club & Hotel
It is located on one of Northern Cyprus’ most beautiful beaches, right on the edge of the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The hotel has a private beach area and two outdoor swimming pools, a tennis court and a spa. Rooms are comfortable and spacious, with en-suite bathrooms, balconies and sea views.
The Dome Hotel
Located in the centre of Kyrenia, it’s an excellent base for exploring the city and its many restaurants, cafes and bars and being within easy reach of the beach. There is also an outdoor swimming pool, a spa and a rooftop bar with stunning views over Kyrenia.
The Elausa Hotel
Situated in Rizokarpaso, Elausa is a great option if you’re looking for a more traditional experience. The hotel is family-run and located in a converted monastery, which gives it a unique atmosphere. It’s also situated in one of Northern Cyprus’ most scenic areas, close to the Karpas peninsula.
Pedieos Guest House
This is a more basic but still comfortable option. It’s an excellent base for exploring Nicosia and its many historical sights and being within easy reach of restaurants, cafes, and bars.
Situated a few km away from Nicosia, this is a great budget option if you’re looking for something clean and simple with breakfast available. Moreover, it’s close to all the main sights and attractions.
What to do in Northern Cyprus
There are plenty of activities to keep you busy, including hiking, cycling, swimming, and exploring many historical sites. There are also superb golden sandy and pebble beaches and secluded coves. Kyrenia Harbour is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the views. Alagadi Turtle Beach is a great option too.
Northern Cyprus is a great place, offering stunning scenery, beautiful beaches, and many sights and attractions. With a bit of research, you can find the perfect hotel to suit your needs and budget.