Columbia Beach Resort, Pissouri, Cyprus review
In a nutshell
This honey-coloured resort in the rugged Cypriot hills overlooking the sea has everything for a luxury family destination. With an opulent spa, two swimming pools, and plenty of water and land-based activities, it was a winner with the whole family.
What we tested
- Fun for kids
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Fun for parents
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Worth the money
2.0A star rating of 2.0 out of 5.
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Family friendliness
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
- Beautiful, amazing food and very family-friendly
- Not going to suit all parent's budgets
COVID-19 safety update
Some facilities and attractions may be closed or restricted this year, due to COVID-19 – and there may be extra safety rules, pre-booking requirements or one-way systems in place. Please check Columbia Beach Resort's website before travelling or booking.
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Where is it located:
The coastal resort is based within the crescent-shaped blue-flagged Pissouri Bay, between Paphos and Limassol, reached by a winding mountain road, with great views. Nearby are the ancient ruins of Kourion, one of the most important and impressive archaeological sites in Cyprus, along with Petra tou Romion, the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. Pissouri is well connected with public transport and there are plenty of interesting, local villages to explore if you hire a car. The nearest airport is Paphos, which is around half an hour away by car. The airport itself is very family-friendly with lots of modern facilities.
What age/who is it best for:
We travelled with our two children, aged three and six. We all absolutely loved Columbia Beach Resort for different reasons. My eldest daughter headed off to the complementary Den Kids Club, welcoming children aged four to 12, where she enjoyed making crafts, games and cooking and other fun activities. My younger daughter enjoyed her time at the Cub Life Creche, which takes babies aged four months to four years old at an additional charge (from 28 Euros for a three-hour morning or afternoon session). Here she played with the large selection of age-appropriate toys, made crafts and was brilliantly looked after by the staff. There is a comprehensive list of daily activities for both clubs and as long as you are booked in, you can pick up and drop off your children as you wish.
There were families with kids of all ages there. The kids' clubs allowed for parents to have some time to relax and older children enjoyed the huge selection of activities on offer, including archery, basketball, table tennis, tennis, children’s sailing and swimming lessons.
The resort makes family travel painless and stress-free; there are family room, inter-connecting suites, children’s menus and the resort’s ‘BabyEase’ service allows you to pre-order many baby items, including nappies and wipes in advance. Items like changing mats, sterilisers, bottle warmers, baby gyms, baby baths and many other things can be ordered free of charge for the week of your stay – the ultimate packing saviour! There is also a babysitting service available for families in the evenings, from 15 Euros per hour for up to three children. We didn’t use this service but spoke to some other families who did and said it was excellent.
When to go:
Cyprus enjoys year-round warm and balmy temperatures; with winter lows of 17 degrees and highs of around 31 degrees in the summer. The hottest month is August, but it is usually very warm from early June to October. We travelled during the last week of October into the first few days of November and it was a wonderful 27 to 28 degrees and absolutely blissful to be sunbathing when everyone at home was digging out their woolly hats and scarves!
We flew with EasyJet from London Gatwick to Paphos, (4 hrs 30 mins). Gatwick can be busy and stressful, especially with small children, so I recommend booking a lounge for the family to relax. After a 3.30am start from home, we headed to No. 1 Lounge’s My Lounge (from £20 online for adults and £12 per child, aged two to 11) at the North Terminal for breakfast and time to relax before our flight. As well as a good breakfast, this allowed us complementary Premium Security access, so there were no long queues and getting from A to B. British Airways and EasyJet both fly to Paphos daily.
This elegant resort has beautiful honey-coloured stone architecture, red clay roofs and archways, all framed with bright bursts of bougainvillea, along with jasmine and olive trees – typical of traditional Cypriot buildings. The hotel, one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, felt like the perfect size for the family; small enough to never have to walk too far from the pool and back to the room but big enough for plenty of variety.
The accommodation is suitably luxurious and each of the 169 suites has handwoven-soft furnishings, and attention to the small details, such as a rucksack for the children with a letter welcoming the to the resort, with a cap and fun pencil and bathrobes and slippers and spare beach bag for the adults. The bathrooms have huge bathtubs (we all piled in together after a day in the sun), double sinks, separate showers, Molten Brown toiletries and a lot of towels; there were no arguments over who was going to have to have the damp one!
We stayed in a spacious Executive Suite Pool View with the girls on camp beds, which worked brilliantly but there are bigger two bedroom family suites, including suites with private plunge pools. They have thought of everything in the rooms, with flat screen TVs with 31 satellite channels, tea and coffee-making facilities, ceiling fans (along with easy-to-operate air-conditioning) and there is good wi-fi throughout the resort. We all loved the turn down service in the evenings, where we were left a treat before bed! There was also a spacious balcony, which allowed us to sit outside after the kids were asleep.
Despite the fact the hotel is nestled into a hill, it was very wheelchair and buggy friendly with plenty of paths, lifts and suites adapted for wheelchair use. Colombia Hotel & Resorts is privately owned and this is one of two hotels; the other is the Londa, a boutique hotel situated in Limassol.
Where to eat:
The hotel has a wide range of restaurants, with crisp linens and smiling staff at every turn. Our favourites were Cape Aspro, which offered fantastic al-fresco dining with stunning sushi and sharing seafood dishes allowing for a relaxed feel to the evening meals and the views over the secluded bay were incredible. This is also where we ate breakfast, which were so extensive it’s hard to know where to start; my six-year old regularly averaged three courses (including those all-important pancakes from the pancake station!). For fine diners, the Bacchus Italian gourmet restaurant offers dishes from the award-winning Michelin star-trained Executive Chef, Ionnis Giakoumidis, such as Black Cod, Duo of Veal and Iberico Pork and this was also a quieter setting for breakfast. The rustic Apollo Taverna serves food all day, including Cypriot favourites and other staples, such as salads, pasta, risotto, grilled meat and fish and other fare. In all restaurants there is a dedicated children’s menu and they are happy accommodate dietary requirements. One hit with the girls was the cats that roamed around outside the restaurants and swimming pools, who are looked after well and enjoy plenty of attention from visitors! There was also live music every night throughout the resort, which was very enjoyable.
There are a number of bars dotted around the resort, which are the ideal place to relax during the day for a drinks, snacks and coffees and to play board games with the children. Lunch was also available too on the dry side of the bars! There was plenty of people staying here but nowhere ever felt that busy.
What’s on offer?
The villas are situated around the stunning 80-metre lagoon-style pool, which flows indoors into the hotel’s Hebe Spa. At the other end is a children’s pool, surrounded by a terrace, where parents can kick back and relax whilst keeping an eye on the kids. There is also another pool, which also has a great children’s splash part and both pools have swim-up bars for those much-needed mid-afternoon refreshments. There are plenty of toilets and baby-changing facilities throughout the resort and the staff were always willing to help – Cypriots love children!
Top 3 things to do at your destination/resort with newborns:
Hire a baby gym or a parasol through the BabyEase service and let your little one relax, whilst you catch some rays. The resort makes a wonderful place to wonder around whilst your baby sleeps in their buggy; located on the grounds is the All Saints Chapel, painted in vibrant colours by celebrated English artist, John Corbridge. Babies may also enjoy dipping their little toes into the sea – it was quite warm!
Top 3 things to do at your destination/resort with children 1-5 years:
Smaller children will love the Cub Life Creche, which is here in collaboration with Worldwide Kids Co. Ltd. My younger daughter also enjoyed playing in the swings that are on the hotel site. One day we went out for a speedboat ride out of Pissouri Bay and around the nearby coast and both girls loved it. The water was crystal clear, and we were lucky enough to see a turtle swimming along!
Top 3 things to do at your destination/resort with children 6-12 years:
As well as spending all day in the pools, where inflatables are allowed in the smaller pool, older children will love the range of sport on offer here, including tennis and squash. They will also love the Den Kids Club; every family we spoke to had children who loved it here and were always eager to meet their new friends for a morning or afternoon of playing. The staff were incredibly welcoming and inclusive. On Halloween my eldest daughter loved heading around the resort for Trick or Treating.
Top 3 things to do at your destination/resort with teens:
Teens will adore the array of water sports on offer at the Colombia Watersports Centre, including adrenalin-filled kite-surfing, paragliding, through to kayaking, pedalos and banana boat rides. There are also activities like Backgammon and Greek lessons, Giant Jenga, archery and table tennis on offer. Colombia Beach Resort also has a professional cycling centre, BikeCyprus, under the direction of the two-time former Swiss cycling champion, Thomas Wegmuller and offers guided and rental services. There are also tour programmes, both by day and at sunset.
What shouldn’t be missed?
Adults must make time for the sumptuous and award-winning Hebe Spa, the ultimate haven for relaxation. Home to a Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and fully-equipped gym, it was the perfect place to go for some down-time. There are a huge number of treatments available using Elemis products, for both women and men and six treatment rooms. There is also a range of signature treatments on offer; I tried the 70-minute Hebe Ritual, which started with a foot bath, followed by a full body massage, using a blend of essential oils. I came out feeling blissfully calm and pampered!
We loved our time here and it is impossible to mention one highlight. This was a wonderfully lively place for the kids to make friends and have fun but there were also many quieter adult-only areas; the perfect combination for parents who are looking for the best of both worlds!
What to watch out for:
The only thing worth mentioning is that the beach is not sandy but pebbly, so sadly sandcastles are not on the to-do list, but my girls loved collecting stones in a bucket and paddling in the sea.
We loved the resort and the food was excellent but headed out one evening to nearby Pissouri Village by taxi, which is about a five minute drive away and it is well worth a visit. We went to the picturesque village square to buy postcards and souvenirs and ate at The Hideaway, which as the name suggests, is hidden away in a courtyard just off the square. The menu was extensive and we devoured some traditional Cypriot dishes.
Easter 2019 Package:
A seven-night stay at the five-star Columbia Beach Resort on Pissouri Bay, Cyprus during the Easter break 2019 starts from just £1,195 per person.This price is based on two adults and two children (aged 2-12) sharing an Executive Suite, Garden View, on a bed and breakfast basis. It also includes return flights from London Heathrow with BA departing on 10 April 2019 and private resort transfers.
Georgina is a writer, editor and journalist with over 20 years in the industry. She regularly contributes to the likes of Family Traveller, Metro and other titles, writing about parenting and travel.