Ayia Napa, Cyprus (review published 2007)

Are you dreaming of a romantic wedding on a stunning sun-soaked beach on some Caribbean isle?
Are those dreams in danger of being dashed because your nearest and dearest can’t afford to join you in ‘paradise’?
Don’t despair – there is a cheaper alternative to the Caribbean and you don’t have to compromise on the location or the weather.
And as for romance… Well, it also just happens to be the island of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.
Cyprus, where every day between March and October is as warm as the hospitality, is just a four-and-a-half hour flight from Birmingham.
And one hour from Larnaca airport is Nissi Beach Holiday Resort, the perfect setting for an unforgettable wedding and honeymoon.
Ceremonies take place in a marque overlooking the crescent of Nissi Bay, with its golden sands, crystal clear waters and picturesque island.
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Nissi Beach Hotel, Ayia Napa
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The celebrations continue in the tropical gardens where the hotel’s resident pair of pelicans will happily pose for an unusual wedding picture.
And for the ultimate evening reception and disco, a glorious beach bar lapped by gentle waves can be exclusively reserved.
If guests want to party on through the night, they’re in the right place. It’s just a five-minute cab ride to the centre of Ayia Napa.
Every year, over 250,000 clubbers swarm into the eastern Mediterranean’s party capital with its scores of bars and nightclubs.
The atmosphere can be explosive. But the tempo is slower during off-peak months when you’ll be among more pram-pushers and pensioners.
Back at Nissi Beach, the happy couple should spend their first night as man and wife in one of the hotel’s spacious Beach Suites.
Set in the lush gardens, these properties boast a separate living area and a terrace just a few steps from the beach.
Family and friends will be more than happy with rooms in the main building, most of which have spectacular views of the bay.
There is plenty at Nissi Beach to keep every wedding guest, of whatever age, happy for two weeks or more.
The beach itself is one of the best loved in the entire Med. The shallow waters provide safe swimming and you can even wade out to the island.
There are six beach bars, a diving school and a watersports centre offering windsurfing and parasailing.
But if you tire of the beach, the hotel has tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pools, a health and beauty centre and activities such as archery and aqua aerobics.
Toddlers will love the children’s pool, the pair of playgrounds and the kids’ club. Their parents will love the creche.
The hotel is a couple of miles from the centre of town but there are supermarkets, restaurants and a bar close by.
Of course, the happy couple should spend some of their honeymoon well away from family and friends.
For a romantic night out, I’d suggest they head for the restaurants at Ayia Napa’s old harbour, packed with colourful little fishing boats.
Then take a stroll up to the town’s well-preserved and floodlit Venetian monastery with its 600-year-old Sycamore tree.
The monastery is literally only a few steps from the bright lights of Ayia Napa’s clubland but seems a million miles away once inside.
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Venetian monastery, Ayia Napa
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If you can hire a car, head down the coast towards Paphos and you’ll find Aphrodite’s Rock. Legend has it the goddess entered the mortal world here and bathed in a serene pool nearby.
Swim around the rock seven times or take a dip in the pool and you will be blessed with eternal beauty, apparently.
If you’re not already married or engaged, fellas, this is definitely the place to pop the question. Trust me.
But for newlyweds looking for a little excitement, here’s something sure to get the heart racing.
No, not that! Right on Nissi Beach is a crane for daredevils to bungee jump down into the sea.
Now that’s what I call taking the plunge.

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Nissi Beach Hotel, Ayia Napa

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Travel file
The 4-star plus Nissi Beach Holiday Resort has 118 Garden View rooms (for up to three adults), 104 Sea View rooms (for up to three adults), 18 Beach Bungalows (for up to three adults or two adults and two children) and 30 Beach Suites (for up to four adults or two adults and three children).
All the rooms have recently been refurbished. In my opinion, it’s well worth paying the extra to upgrade from a Garden View to a Sea View room. Be cheeky and email ahead to ask for one on the top floor for the best views of Nissi Beach.
Prices start from £571 per person for summer 2007, staying seven nights on a bed and breakfast basis, based on two people sharing. Prices include flights and transfers, fuel charge and air passenger duty. There is a £10 per person discount if holidays are booked before January 31, 2007.
To find out more or to make a reservation, call First Choice on 0870 850 3929, or book online at firstchoice.co.uk
Wedding packages at the Nissi beach Hotel are £209, which includes: Planning and administration, wedding cake, carnation bouquet and buttonholes, and room upgrade (subject to availability), wedding dinner for two with wine, fruit, wine and flowers in room, breakfast in bed on the morning after the wedding, special bedroom decoration on the wedding day, wedding gift from the hotel, 15 per cent discount on selected beauty treatments and late check out (subject to availability). This package does not include the wedding license or a registrar.
The hotel hosts no more than two weddings a day. For details, call First Choice’s dedicated Weddings Team on 0870 242 4247.

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Nissi Beach, Ayia Napa

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