You’ve seen it in bars and cafes: a table-top glass water pipe with two hoses for smoking aromatic tobacco. It’s a shisha pipe—and smoking it has become a popular pastime. At Almyra’s Eauzone, we use the premium line of Meduse pipes and tobacco. After consulting our shisha menu, talk to your waiter about the flavours of tobacco on hand. Choose a single flavour, or ask for a bespoke blend—one quarter mint and three quarters apple, for example. You can also express your preference for a mild, medium, or strong smoke. Next you will decide how you want to season the base of the shisha pipe. If you choose the Meduse Regular, we will fill the base with cool water and let the tobacco’s taste speak for itself. An especially festive option is to put champagne in the base; what’s left in the bottle is yours to sip while you smoke! Meduse pioneered the placement of fruit in the base to add complex flavourings to the smoke. Eauzone has three of these shisha cocktails on its menu: the Lolita (fresh mint, lemon, and grenadine syrup), Las Ananas (rum, pineapple, kiwi, ginger, and rosemary), and the Citrus Gang (rum, orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lime). The fresh fruit and spices are cut and carefully placed in the base for a smooth smoking experience. Over the course of a session, which lasts about two hours, the flavourings from the cocktail will become stronger. Your shisha session can be shared with a group—and makes for an unforgettable experience.
A staple of the taverna, rebetiko music originated in the working class ouzeria of the nineteenth century Ottoman empire. The genre synthesises Greek, Turkish, Arabic, Jewish, and Armenian influences, while the lyrics sing of love and longing and crime and poverty. In the beginning, the singers were accompanied by one or two guitars and, occasionally, the tambouras—a long-necked instrument usually with two strings tuned five notes apart. The music was considered rebellious, so government officials tried to repress its performance in the early twentieth century. This affected its instrumentation, according to Dimitris Liapis, a contemporary performer of the genre: ‘The police held raids, so musicians made a smaller instrument that could be hidden—the baglamas.’ The baglamas is a descendant of the pandoura, the long-necked lute of ancient Greece. It provides chords and rhythmic support for the ensemble. Its larger siblings, the medium-sized tzouras and the larger bouzouki, also added to the sound when policing was not so strict. After the destruction of Smyrna in 1922, ethnic Greek musicians departed the city for modern Greece and a distinctively Greek tradition began to develop. After a period of repression and neglect, the genre regained popularity in the 1970s during the Greek folk revival. Our rebetiko ensemble plays every Sunday at 19:30 at Ouzeri, our seaside taverna. Chara Aresti plays guitar and sings, Dimitris Liapis plays baglamas and sings, and they host bouzouki players from Cyprus and Greece. Reserve your table for Greek meze and take in this soulful and heart-wrenching music.
Photo credit: Photo of baglamas by Violinincognito.
Once a month, the sun’s rays illuminate the face of the moon, and the glow brightens the night sky. The light also ripples on the sea, making it a good time to pause and enjoy the spectacle at our seaside patio and firepit. Almyra invites you to a celebration for all the family to enjoy. At the firepit, roast marshmallows over the open flame. The gooey result forms the centre for s’mores, the beloved North American campfire treats combining roasted marshmallows and melted chocolate in a graham cracker sandwich—eat one and you’ll surely want some more! Kids will enjoy face painting, shadow puppets, and storytelling provided by the Kids’ Club. Meanwhile, adults can indulge in a bespoke gin and tonic cocktail from our Gin O’Clock menu: choose from nine premium and four house-infused gins, add enhancers (e.g., pomegranate or ginger—there are 19 to choose from), and fizz up your drink with a premium tonic. Notios offers a wide-ranging menu of sushi for your fireside dinner, including sashimi, nigiri, and uramaki, so you can find something for everyone to enjoy. The radiance of the full moon inspires our miniature festival of light, with fire jugglers dazzling and poolside candles shimmering. The next full moon appears on 26 August, so plan to join the celebration from 19:30 to 21:00. Contact Guest Services to secure your reservation.
The mosaic floors of four Roman villas are the highlight of the Pafos archaeological site. Built between the second and fourth centuries CE, the villas were later destroyed by earthquakes, their rubble taken away for use in other structures. Now the floors offer clues to life in these opulent homes. Craftsmen arranged tesserae—cubes usually measuring one square centimetre—into colourful designs, setting the pieces into wet plaster. The tesserae were generally made from stone, but the most vivid colours (orange, yellow, green, and blue) were formed from glass. A figurative floor design usually has a background of plain white tiles. Look for brown shadows formed under the feet of human characters, though; they create a grounded perspective. The craftsmen worked from patterns, copying designs originally made for another home, so the design may not fit the space, as in room 8 of the House of Dionysos. The figures depict stories from Greco-Roman mythology. Sometimes inscriptions in the mosaics name key characters; museum signage and the Guide to the Paphos Mosaics identify the myths. Keep in mind that the walls and ceilings were also decorated: a three-dimensional floor border, for example, reflected the dentil on the ceiling. Sometimes a geometric border ties into the myth displayed, as in room 36 of the Villa of Theseus. The mosaic depicts Theseus slaying the Minotaur, while its border represents the labyrinth and the thread Ariadne provided to lead Theseus out of it. As you pass from room to room, imagine how the Romans were inspired by the decorative floors as they went about their lives. The site is just a five-minute walk from Almyra.
Photo credits: Room 3 of House of Dionysos, The Four Seasons, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York, USA; Room 36 of Villa of Theseus, Theseus and the Minotaur, Friedhelm Dröge.
Every August, the Lemesos International Documentary Festival presents films offering new perspectives on contemporary culture through innovative cinematographic approaches. This year, two of the screenings take place at Eauzone, Almyra’s al fresco poolside lounge. On Thursday, 9 August, at 20:30, the festival presents How to Steal a Chair, the story of Greek designer and collector Stergios Delialis. Delialis is best known as founder of the Thessaloniki Design Museum, which rose to prominence in the 1990s with solo exhibitions and thematic displays drawing on his collection of 3,000 industrial design objects. After an extraordinary five-year run, he secures a deal with the Ministry of Culture to create a permanent home for the museum—only to see the deal go bad. The museum closed, he suffers at 72 the burden of his collection and the loss of his dream—yet plans a retrospective of his iconoclastic design work. On Friday, 10 August, at 20:30, the festival presents Bar Talks by Schumann. Charles Schumann, legendary bartender, proprietor of Schumann’s Bar in Munich, and author of celebrated guidebooks for mixing cocktails, introduces viewers to some of the most beautiful bars in the world, taking us on a journey that includes New York, Havana, and Tokyo. At 22:30, the festival closes with a gala party accompanied by the tunes of Salted Bossa. Screenings are free, and cocktail service is available.
When the site of Almyra was first developed in the early 1970s, the effort was pioneering in more than one sense of the word. At that time little of Pafos Harbour had been developed for tourism, so the new hotel virtually stood alone on the sea coast. First opened in 1972-73 as the Paphos Beach Hotel, the complex also exemplified a pioneering design aesthetic. The architecture firm of J + A Philippou was founded in 1960 to meet the needs of the newly independent and rapidly urbanising Cypriot republic. The architects created a modern look featuring clean, horizontal lines, simple materials such as poured concrete, sheet glass, and stone, and a terraced approach to siting the structure within the existing landscape. Subsequent renovations and expansions have refined the look of the property. In 2003, French interior designers Joelle Pleot and Tristan Auer led the renovation that accompanied the rechristening of the hotel as Almyra. Their lobby design features banquette seating, low wooden tables, and a subtle colour palette that recalls the light on the sea. Natural fabrics, expansive windows, and Carrara marble set the calming tone in the rooms. All furniture was designed by Pleot and handcrafted by Cypriot artisans. In 2007, Pleot collaborated with Karim Caballos on the addition of the Almyraspa complex. With its design bona fides set firmly in the mid-century modern aesthetic, Almyra is the only member of the Design Hotels consortium in Cyprus. Although much has been built around it, Almyra remains an oasis of calm, its modern structure at one with its natural surroundings.