Did you ever wish you had instantaneous, 24/7 access to information about restaurant seating availability? Almyra now offers this service through chatbot technology. A chatbot is an artificial intelligence programme that simulates human interaction. Text your query to the chatbot, and the programme will analyse it and answer you in a text message. The chatbot can advise on booking availability, answer customer service questions, book a table for you, or confirm or change a booked reservation. To initiate a booking, just type ‘BOOK’ in the restaurant’s chatbot and the process will begin. Almyra hosts chatbots for Japanese-Mediterranean fusion restaurant Notios, poolside lounge and bar Eauzone , and seaside taverna Ouzeri . You can also review menus and find additional information about a restaurant through its chatbot. Of course, the chatbot will refer you to a live agent if it cannot answer your question—and we continue to take reservations over the telephone and in person. But with the prevalence of smartphone and online technology today, the chatbot offers a speedy and convenient alternative to making your dining plans. Thanos Hotels, Almyra’s corporate parent, is the first hotel group in Cyprus to offer chatbot technology for restaurant reservations. Send us a text and see how it works!
When he started as a cook for the Paphos Beach Hotel in 1978, there was only one other hotel on the harbour. ‘The harbour was mostly a fishing village then, and housing was very hard to find,’ executive chef Nikos Kimonos recalls. The hotel was smaller then—it had only two restaurants and its northern wing had not yet been built. As the town developed into a major tourist destination over the years, so too did the Paphos Beach Hotel grow. Kimonos was promoted to executive chef in 1987. Trained in the French culinary tradition, he oversaw menus that used its techniques to prepare locally sourced seafood, meat, and produce. Big changes came in 2003 with a major renovation and the rechristening of the hotel as Almyra. The renovation expanded the number of restaurants on site to four. The addition of Notios, with its distinctive Mediterranean-Japanese fusion cuisine, required training in Japanese techniques by experts from the famed restaurant Nobu; now the hotel has three sushi chefs on staff. The addition of Almyraspa in 2007 also brought another restaurant, Eauzone, with a menu focusing on wellness. After forty years on property, Kimonos continues to see growth opportunities ahead: ‘Now we are preparing more Cypriot cuisine, using fresh local herbs in the process.’ And despite the dramatic growth of Pafos, he appreciates that it retains some of the village charm that greeted him in 1978: ‘I have only a five-minute walk to work.’
How can you make the best of a single day’s visit to Paphos? Recently Hermes Airports, the company that manages the airports in Larnaca and Paphos, posed that question to Natasha Michaelides, Corporate Affairs and Communications Director for Thanos Hotels. Her answer covers a full day, taking you from morning coffee to midnight cocktails and bringing you to cultural highlights and seaside delights along the way. She also makes recommendations for local dining spots. We invite you to check out the full programme in Hermes Airports' Welcome magazine.
Sunday Vibezzz, our weekly summer music session at Eauzone pool bar and lounge, closes the 2018 season on 9 September. The finale is an extended session with three DJs spinning back to back. We start the groove at 15:00 with DJ Andrez P, who plays a mix of R & B tunes. Greek recording artist Harri Agnel takes over at 18:00 with his down tempo electronic music. At 21:00, resident DJ Aris finishes with a deep ethnic playlist. The party is for adults only (ages 16 and up) and closes at midnight. As usual, the Eauzone kitchen will be presenting a menu of mini burgers and sandwiches, light bites, sharing platters, and sweets and desserts. In addition to regular bar service, we offer our Gin O’Clock Menu: Order a bespoke gin and tonic by selecting from one of nine premium and four house-infused gins, one or more enhancers (nineteen kinds of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices), and one of four premium tonic waters. Our al fresco setting is perfect for enjoying a shisha session. The regular shisha lets you enjoy your choice of flavoured tobacco with our premium glass water pipe. Or, for a more complex seasoning, try a shisha cocktail: in the Citrus Gang, for example, we carefully fill the pipe with slices of orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lime and top it off with Bacardi rum. Put on your swimsuit, flip flops, and shades and toast the summer with a chill day by the pool and sea.
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.