We’ve just returned from a weeks all-inclusive stay at the Holiday Village Aliathon in Paphos, Cyprus. It was booked via TUI and we travelled as a family of six plus my father in law.
This isn’t going to be a review, as such – more just a recount of our experiences and an excuse to share some of my favourite photos from our holiday.
We travelled from East Midlands Airport at 7:30am on a Wednesday morning which made for a very early start! The kids were great though and waking them up at 2:30am brought back lots of childhood memories of family holidays – waking up in the middle of the night always seemed so exciting!
After a fairly swift check-in we headed for breakfast at Frankie and Benny’s and boarded our 4.5 hour flight. Matt and I were both dreading the flight as we’ve had some downright awful ones since having two kids under two years old! After lots of seat swapping, snack dropping and chair kicking we arrived in Cyprus to cloud which was a little disappointing but we didn’t let it dampen our spirits.
I’ve got to admit I wasn’t excited at the thought of staying at a Holiday Village. I’d never stayed at one before but I imagined it to be full of large/loud groups, lots of unruly children, probably a little bit messy and of a lower quality then we’d usually go for. I don’t know why but that’s just what I’d imagined. My fears weren’t helped when my father in law returned from a trip to Cyprus in January and said he visited the Aliathon reception and it was deserted (he hadn’t realised the Reception was moving to a new building).
I imagined arriving at the hotel would be a little bit like that part of the Inbetweeners film where they arrive to some half built, run-down flea pit but I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Upon arrival to the hotel, via our transfer bus, I was pleasantly surprised. We pulled up to a large, modern Reception building which had only recently been finished and were checked in quickly by friendly staff who made an effort to make the children smile.
We were driven by a golf buggy to our room which was a welcome touch seeing as we had just lugged six cases, five hand luggage bags, four kids and a father in law through a 12 hour journey!
My father in law’s room was in the new reception building. It was a beautiful room and would have been more my cup of tea however they didn’t have rooms large enough for the six of us so we stayed in the ‘Fishing Village’ area of the resort in a two bedroomed apartment.
The apartment was basic but very spacious, clean and tidy. We were on the ground floor which meant we had an undercover, fully enclosed, terrace which was ideal for the kids to play in whilst we organised things inside. Our apartment also had a kitchenette with sink, fridge, freezer box, microwave and utensils – ideal if you’re travelling with a baby. The bed was very comfy and the cot provided for Mabel was large, clean and had a proper mattress (not just a travel cot one).
The food at the hotel was good. Not the best all-inclusive we’ve had but certainly not the worst. It was all always hot, clean and tidy and in abundant supply – what more could you want? Maybe a little more choice…particularly for the children but otherwise it was good. The staff in the restaurant really made it for us – they were so friendly and helpful. However, mealtimes in the restaurant were quite stressful as Mabel just didn’t want to sit in a high chair or a normal chair so she was constantly on the move; knocking cutlery off the table or dropping food on the floor.
We ate our breakfast and evening meal in the main restaurant each day but for lunch we found the snack bar by the main pool an easier and more convenient option. It’s quite beige….think chicken nuggets, chips, pizza and gyros.
There are sandwiches and small salads available but the few times we chose sandwiches for the girls the bread felt like cardboard. Having said that the kids (and I) were happy with a bit of beige food each day. We could sit in our damp swimwear and it was just easy. I think the kids must have eaten their body weights in mini muffins too!
We spent almost everyday between the splash pool and the main pool. When the kids grew tired of the splash pool we’d head over to the main pool and there would usually be some entertainment, some music or an activity. The kids had a go in the big water roller thingy a couple of times throughout the week which is free to do.
I couldn’t fault the entertainment team and kids clubs. The staff were working long days but were always smiling and always put in a lot of effort to give the kids a great experience. Florence joined kids club on several occasions and took part in lots of things she’d never done such as canoeing and zorbing.
Elsie and Mabel also went into the creche for two hours on one of the days but, despite it looking like a lot of fun in there, they didn’t want to return. The kids clubs are included in your holiday package however the creche is chargeable and needs booking due to staff ratios.
Logan, at almost ten years old, is a little past kids clubs now but he did go to football academy on three occasions and really enjoyed it. It’s chargeable but the coach is FA qualified and the children receive a football shirt and certificate at the presentation evening on your final evening at the resort. The sessions were about two hours each and played on a well kept astroturf pitch with water freely available.
The resort also boosts a great aerial obstacle course and climbing wall. Florence was so brave and attempted (and smashed) both – I really don’t know how she did the level 2 obstacles.
Matt and I both completed level 1 and that was enough for me….my legs were shaking and I felt frozen to the spot in parts! This activity is free to do – just make sure you check the schedule posted on the noticeboard as they only run the climbing wall on certain days.
In terms of the hotels location I’d say it’s almost perfect – all I missed was a sea view. The beach is about a ten minute walk from the resort and is well worth a visit. The promenade stretches along the coast and you can walk into Paphos quite easily in about 40 minutes (quicker if you don’t have kids). There are shops, restaurants and bars at the front of the resort and the transfer to the airport was around 20 minutes.