A new heritage-listed boutique hotel, and my go-to boutique hotel websites
Agro tourism has flourished since Cyprus’ EU entry nearly a dozen years ago, with heritage buildings lovingly converted into boutique hotels and guesthouses. One that is close to my heart is a newly opened 17-room boutique hotel and bistro in the coastal and airport town of Larnaca – Lokal – hidden away in the old district. It’s a late 19th century, heritage-listed mansion that my brother-in-law inherited from his great-grandparents. Along with his brother, over the last three years, they have been busy expanding the house from the original five rooms, adding a new 12-room wing, whilst restoring many of its historical features.
Not a fan of hugely modern hotels, I opt to stay in the original wing with its wooden beams and traditional arches. So much more atmospheric in my opinion, but the noise from the busy street below does filter through – so if you prefer peace and quiet then don’t pick the two front-facing rooms. This particular guest room has a walk-in-shower, whilst the suite and some of the rooms in the new wing have bathtubs. The Wi-Fi connectivity is super fast everywhere. Lokal’s spectacular centrepiece, the staircase inspired by traditional ‘Lefkaritika’ lace takes you down to the ‘living room’ and bistro where three-course breakfasts using local ingredients with a creative spin are served. My brother-in-law who himself helms the kitchen with his chef never cooks the same dish twice, so you will constantly be surprised (more in the photos below). If you’re after lunch or dinner you need to pre-book in advance for now. The second wow feature is the stunning rooftop infinity pool with sunset views across the old town – needless to say it’s too chilly now.
And for more, here’s a pictorial slide show of my Instagram i-phone snaps from my stay:
For a hugely comprehensive dining reference to Cyprus, here’s an update to my culinary travel guide – be warned it’s very detailed. I also post photos from my visits using the hashtag #CyprusDiva on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Since I left the corporate world of Hilton nearly six years ago, whenever I travel for pleasure I love seeking out boutique hotels for their quirky personality and affordability. Here are my top 10 go-to sites in order of preference. I tend to use them for research and then book directly with the hotel.
- Tablet Hotels – where I discovered a hugely atmospheric boutique hotel in Budapest.
- I-Escape – love their honest reviews. Really helpful for when I holidayed in Zanzibar.
- Hip Hotels – their coffee-table books also make excellent references.
- Design Hotels (now part of Starwood) – on the subject of books, I was given the current edition as a Christmas gift. Super comprehensive.
- Boutique Hotels & Resorts – where I booked a boutique hotel in Cape Town a few years ago.
- Mr & Mrs Smith
- Kiwi Collection
- Chic Retreats
- Epoque Hotels
- Small Chic Hotels
When you travel do you search out intimate boutique dwellings or do you prefer large chain hotels? Any other booking sites you can recommend?
— FooDiva SamanthaWood (@FooDivaWorld) January 13, 2016