Though the sun is shining in Reading today, it’s breezy and there’s a chill in the air. With highs of just 14c, it’s a world away from the blistering heat (literally, I have come back from my travels with prickly heat) in Cyprus. Looking out the window while writing this post has me wishing I was back in Paphos, lounging by the pool at the Kissos Hotel.
My trip to the Mediterranean island wasn’t really planned – in fact, I had actually booked to go to Malta for the bank holiday weekend. But life doesn’t always go to plan, and after my unexpected return to Reading and everything that has gone on over the last few weeks, I really just needed some rest and relaxation.
And that’s exactly what I got staying for a week at the Kissos Hotel. It’s a quiet, family-run establishment in the heart of Paphos, so the perfect retreat if, like me, you’re a solo traveller who just needs to get away from it all for a little while.
Here’s a bit more about the hotel…
Where is the Kissos Hotel?
The Kissos Hotel is situated on the west coast of Cyprus, in the centre of the city of Paphos. With most of Paphos’ attractions within walking distance, as well as numerous bars, restaurants and shops close by, it’s the perfect base for your holiday on the island.
Turn left out of the hotel and walk just 300m down the road and you’ll be on the coastal path that links the Paphos Port with Chlorakas Beach. Between the two you can see some of the area’s famous landmarks, including the lighthouse in the Paphos Archelogical Park and the Medieval Castle.
If you turn right out of the hotel, a short walk up Tombs of the Kings Road takes you to the eponymous Tombs of the Kings, which is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site. For those less interested in history, there’s a big shopping centre 10 minutes away, and there’s a regular bus service (with a stop only 50m from the hotel), that makes the rest of the west coast accessible.
Inside the Kissos Hotel.
Built in the 1980s, this family-run hotel has gradually expanded from 72 to 112 rooms, recently adding 32 superior rooms, bringing the total capacity up to 144 rooms. Though it’s quite a small hotel in comparison to others in the area, I found it cosy and intimate, decorated tastefully to reflect the traditional Mediterranean style.
Inside the main lobby there’s a reception desk, an impressive spiral staircase up to the first floor, a small shop selling bottled water and souvenirs, and some sofas. There is free wifi in the lobby area (though if you want wifi in your room you’ll have to pay).
The reception desk is open 24-hours, and the super friendly staff are able to arrange car hire, excursions and airport transfers for guests. There’s also currency exchange available via the reception (in case you forget to get Euros before you travel).
Leading off of the lobby, there is the bar area (which links through to the restaurant), and french doors out to the pools and garden.
Rooms at the Kissos Hotel.
As I’m not currently working, I’m trying to be careful with money. So I opted for the cheapest room type: the Standard Twin Room with a land view.
The room was basic, but suited me perfectly. It could accommodate up to three adults (fold-away camp beds or baby cots are available from reception for no extra charge). But for families with two or more children then one of the larger Family Rooms may be a better choice.
The room had air-conditioning and heating (though I used neither), a phone and satellite TV (again, I used neither), and a hair dryer. There was also a fridge and safety deposit box, but there’s a 5€/day surcharge for these.
The room was cleaned every day, the bed was made and I was given fresh towels.
The en-suite bathroom was big, with a deep bathtub, shower over the bath, a sink and toilet. Though a little dated in terms of decor, the shower was powerful and the water always a constant temperature. There were a few free bars of soap in the bathroom, but no shampoo or shower gel.
I know it’s only a small thing, but I loved the detail of the Kissos towels:
There was a complimentary bottle of water in the room on arrival. And, much to my amusement, the electric sockets in the room (and apparently the rest of Cyprus) were all 3-pin plugs, like in the UK. So no need for that last minute panicked travel adapter purchase at the airport. Really should have done more research before I jetted off.
The room had a small balcony with a table and two chairs, plus a rail for hanging wet towels/swimwear. I had the cheaper land view room, which gave me some of the most beautiful sunsets:
Pool view rooms are available, but are slightly more expensive, and partial views of the Mediterranean are available from the second or third floors.
Leisure facilities at the Kissos Hotel.
The Kissos Hotel has two big outdoor pools: the main pool and the lagoon pool. There is also a small shallow kid’s pool, but I didn’t realise this was a pool at first (it does look like somewhere to wash feet before entering the main pool).
If you’re spending the day poolside then there are changing rooms, showers and toilets all available, as well as plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas.
As I stayed out of season, there was never the need to do the crack of dawn run down to the pool to secure a sunbed with a towel. However, guests I spoke to that had stayed at the hotel before commented that during July and August the dreaded “sun lounger war” is inevitable.
If you want to avoid the sun but still get your swim on, there is an indoor swimming pool in the basement, next to the gym. The indoor pool is open all year round though only heated during the winter. There are changing rooms and showers down there too.
The gym also has a sauna and steam bath, open from 9am until 6pm every day.
The pool bar opened on 1 May, prior to this you had to go to the main bar inside for refreshments during the day. All kinds of beers, spirits, cocktails and soft drinks are available from the pool bar, as well as delicious ice creams.
Tucked away in the far corner of the hotel grounds there is a mini golf course, with golf balls and putters available from reception.
There’s a tennis court on-site too – though I’m unsure whether tennis equipment is available to borrow. The court did look like it had seen better days, though.
For children, there is a small play area tucked around the other side of the hotel. This has swings, a climbing frame, a slide and a seesaw.
Again, the equipment looked like it had seen better days (and perhaps hasn’t been modernised since the hotel was built), and I’m not sure how safe it is. But on the plus, the area is enclosed and entirely in the shade, so parents don’t have to worry too much about children getting burnt while playing there during the day.
For competitive guests, there is also a giant chess set, French boules and a ping pong table outside, while in the hotel there’s a games room with a pool table, dart board and arcade games.
Entertainment at the Kissos Hotel.
While I was staying at the hotel, there wasn’t much in the way of entertainment. But between May and October there is an “animation” programme available six days a week, with the animator organising daily activities around the hotel for the whole family, such as yoga, aqua aerobics, water polo and silly poolside games.
The animator, a beautiful young Hungarian girl called Adrienn, joined the hotel on Saturday 29 April. As the hotel wasn’t very busy (and because most of the people staying during the week I was there were a bit older), she didn’t really organise many activities. But she was very friendly with everyone, and definitely livened the hotel up during the day.
In the evenings, as I was on my own, she came and sat with me and we chatted for ages about everything from life in Cyprus to hair and beauty. She’s a fantastic girl and her English is word perfect (just reinforcing my belief that learning a foreign language is helpful when travelling). A credit to the Kissos team, as a solo traveller Adrienn made my holiday a lot less lonely.
In the evenings there are a variety of different “shows” in the bar area, including musicians, singers and a magician. Once a week there is also a traditional folklore night, which has Cypriot folk dancing, singing and music (there’s a little taster in this video from my last night).
Food and drink at the Kissos Hotel.
Unfortunately I can’t really comment on the food at the hotel. Although I chose to board B&B, I actually only ate breakfast one morning out of seven (the bowl of Greek yoghurt, muesli and honey that I had was nice though!).
I also treated myself to an ice cream by the pool, which was delicious and quite cheap (free if you’re on all-inclusive board). Only trouble was, it melted quicker than I could eat it.
Other guests staying at the hotel that I spoke to commented that the food in the restaurant was nice, and it was varied, different every day – which is good to hear as there’s nothing worse than boarding all-inclusive and being served up the same bland food night after night.
Tips for staying at the Kissos Hotel.
If you’re considering booking the Kissos Hotel, here are a few things that may help make your stay better:
- If you’re planning to hire a car (I hired a Suzuki Jimny from Viva Car Hire for three days, which was handy for trips to Aphrodite’s Rock, Kouklia and Fig Tree Bay), the hotel has a free car park with plenty of spaces. Oh and Cypriots drive on the right and cars are right hand-drive, just like in the UK.
- If you don’t want to drive abroad but still want to get out and about, the hotel has a few bikes on-site available to hire. They’re 10€ for the day, and there is plenty of cycle paths to ride on.
- If you’re going to use the pools then bear in mind that the hotel doesn’t have pool towels, so you’ll need to bring your own. Or you can buy one from the hotel shop (my friend did this, it was 4.50€).
- And if you fancy a swim in the Mediterranean Sea then I wouldn’t recommend the nearest beach to the hotel, as it isn’t very “beachy” (the sand is gravelly and the sea is rocky). But you can get a bus to the beautiful Coral Bay for just 1.50€ – the stop is outside McDonald’s, on the Tombs of the Kings Road.
- Lastly, if you have to check out of your room in the morning but don’t fly back until the evening, there is a luggage storeroom and a courtesy room where you can shower and change before heading to the airport.
Kissis Hotel: the verdict.
Would I recommend staying at the Kissos Hotel? Absolutely.
This hotel is perfect if you’re a solo traveller like me (even though I gained a friend mid-trip). It would also suit couples without kids, or perhaps those travelling with older kids. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone with very young children, and didn’t find the hotel to be particularly family-friendly, as there wasn’t much for kiddies to do. In fact, I only saw two children at the hotel while I stayed there.
That said, with all it’s historic sites and it’s quite rocky beaches, the area of Paphos itself probably isn’t the best place for those travelling with children (unless you’re staying in one of the few hotels with lots of pools, slides and a kids mini disco in the evenings). And if you’re looking for nights out, lively bars with cocktails and dancing, then you may be better off staying over on the eastern coast of the island. I was told that it got a lot busier in Paphos in the summer months, but Ayia Napa is really Cyprus’ party town.
It was the staff that really made the hotel for me. As well as animator Adrienn who I’ve already mentioned, receptionist Tina was so friendly, helping out when my friend decided to book an impromptu flight over to Cyprus to join me. And her husband, the bar manager, had me in fits of giggles whenever I ordered a drink.
While the Kissos Hotel was only a 3 star hotel (albeit an above average 3 star), it wasn’t as glamorous as the nearby 5 star Elysium hotel, with its private access to the beach and impressive grounds…
The Kissos Hotel, however, did look a damn sight more inviting than the Georgia Apartments around the corner. It seemed this hotel has taken the definition of “garden view” room to a whole new level…
Disclaimer. I stayed at the Kissos Hotel, Paphos from Wednesday 26 April 2017 to Wednesday 3 May 2017 in a land view standard twin room on B&B basis. The hotel was part of a package holiday from Thomson Airways, booked through LoveHolidays.com. The package cost £369 for one person, and included the hotel, flights (5kg carry on luggage only) and airport transfers. The trip was paid for by myself and this review has been written by me.