Whether you have a couple looking for a sophisticated break in the sun, or a family seeking a beach getaway to entertain all ages, look to Greece and Cyprus for a glittering new property, says Charlotte Cullinan.
The recent boom in new hotels opening across Greece and Cyprus shows no signs of waning, with launch plans under way for a slew of openings this summer.
Sunvil’s Greece director, Dudley der Parthog, says new hotels have been opening at a faster pace now that confidence has returned to the Greek market following the country’s 2012 economic crisis.
“The majority of these have been in the four- and five-star category. This shows that investor confidence in both Greece and Cyprus has recovered in line with the increase in tourist numbers – Greece welcomed record numbers of visitors last year, and Cyprus visitor numbers from the UK are also at an all-time high.”
Here are some of the top new choices to suggest to your clients this summer.
Tots to teens will be entertained at the Ikos Aria in Kos, which offers cooking classes, watersports and games, as well as a dedicated football academy. Parents can enjoy some adult-only time thanks to babysitters, and receive 30 minutes of free beach childcare a day.
When it opens in May, guests will receive complimentary use of a Mini Cooper for a day, and can choose to dine at one of the eight on-site restaurants, or even a local one as part of its all-inclusive package.
Book it: Olympic Holidays offers seven nights from £5,199 for a family of four, on an Ultra All-Inclusive basis departing in May half-term.
For families looking to enjoy Ayia Napa, suggest the NissiBlu Beach Resort in Nissi Bay, opening in May. It has two outdoor pools including one for children, a kids’ club and direct access to the beach. The resort also offers frequent evening entertainment including live music, mini discos and professional shows to keep the whole family entertained.
Book it: Jet2holidays offers seven nights’ B&B from £689pp based on four sharing including flights, 22kg baggage allowance and transfers.
Opening in Psalidi on Kos’s east coast in May, the adults-only Blue Lagoon Ocean will tempt couples with three pools, a gym and spa. At the all-inclusive property, they can enjoy Greek cuisine in the a la carte restaurant or savour a nightcap in one of the two bars.
For those seeking an extra dose of luxury, propose a junior suite. These are decked out in modern decor with pops of colour, offering private pools and sea views.
Book it: Seven nights’ all-inclusive starts at £679pp, based on two sharing, including flights and transfers, departing May 2.
Couples can also escape to two new Tui Sensimar hotels, opening in Greece this May. In Santorini, the Tui Sensimar Meltemi Blu is less than a minute’s walk to the beach and features an outdoor yoga space and three bars.
The hotel is on the edge of Perissa, so the village of Kamari can be easily accessed by water taxi, and the ruins of Ancient Thera are a short hike away.
Customers staying at the new Tui Sensimar Insula Alba Resort and Spa in Crete will be a short taxi journey from lively Hersonissos, or they can relax in the spa and sip a drink by the pool while admiring the resort’s minimalist design.
Book it: Tui offers seven nights’ half-board from £953pp based on two sharing at Tui Sensimar Meltemi Blu, including flights and transfers, departing May 28.
For customers seeking a quiet villa getaway, suggest CV Villas’ Pythaia in Corfu. The three-bedroom property sleeps six and is a short stroll from St Stephano’s pretty harbour and the beach.
Families will be tempted by the pool on the sunny lower terrace, and the pool house complete with a TV room and PlayStation.
Jo Simmons, CV Villas’ head of Greek sales, says: “Pythaia is popular because guests don’t need a car and can arrive by private taxi transfer, or even by sea taxi. They can walk to the village and enjoy the five traditional tavernas, two supermarkets and two family-run bars.”
Book it: A week’s villa stay in April is priced from £1,229pp, including maid service, excluding flights.
For families or groups looking for a self-catering option with resort facilities on tap, the Aphrodite Hills Resort near Paphos has added two new Superior Villas to its 2019 offering.
The three-bedroom properties have plenty of ultra-luxe touches, with private infinity pools and patios, under-floor heating and modern kitchens. The main resort is home to an 18-hole golf course, a tennis and football academy and spa. For active guests, highlight the hiking and cycling routes. In the on-site Village Square, clients can choose from 18 restaurants and bars.
Book it: James Villas offers seven nights for £949pp based on four sharing, including flights, car hire and airport parking, departing April 17.
In March, Limassol will welcome the Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, which is being pitched as the first internationally branded luxury resort in Cyprus.
The beachfront property has three pools, including seawater and adults-only options, alongside Padi diving courses and three tennis courts. For a more relaxing pace, try the Kalloni Spa’s thalassotherapy programme, head to the 300-metre beach or explore the landscaped gardens.
The family-friendly resort is home to the Park Kidz Club and a football academy, with celebrity players due to visit.
Book it: Cyplon Holidays offers seven nights from £895pp, based on two sharing on a B&B basis, including private transfers and flights. Departs April 2.
Another five-star option is the Hotel Elivi, which promises to bring an extra dash of luxury to Skiathos when it opens at the end of April. Dotted among the 200-acre site are three pools, three restaurants and a spa, and the property is stylishly kitted out in swathes of white with neutral accents and touches of wood.
Sunvil’s Der Parthog says: “What makes the Elivi stand out for me is its unique location. Skiathos is famous for its many fine, sandy beaches, and the Elivi is directly on or above four of the island’s best, including the famous mile-long Koukounaries. On each, the hotel has its own section with sunbeds and beach service for its guests.”
Book it: Kuoni offers seven nights’ B&B including flights and transfers in the resort from £1,679pp, based on two sharing and departing in August.
At the Louis Ivi Mare in Paphos, clients can choose between the main restaurant, a Greek restaurant inspired by the traditional food markets of Thessaloniki, or the Asian restaurant, which will serve fresh sushi and sashimi.
Opening in May, the hotel is within walking distance of Paphos harbour, and is near its family-friendly sister property the Louis Paphos Breeze, which opened last year.
Book it: Planet Holidays offers a seven-night stay at the Louis Ivi Mare on a half-board-plus basis, from £997pp including flights and private transfers, departing June 10.
Foodies can also head to the Amara in Limassol for a culinary treat, advises Cyplon Holidays’ product manager Costas Anastasi. He says: “Defined by luxury and grandeur, the five-star Amara oozes elegance with its modern and opulent design. Guests will be treated to the best dining options, from the world-renowned Nobu Matsuhisa’s Japanese restaurant to the delicious gastronomy of Ristorante Locatelli by Michelin-starred chef Giorgio Locatelli.”
The property opens in May and boasts a private beach, the Amara Spa, a daily children’s club and an adults-only area. Suggest a trip to Limassol’s pretty marina nearby, or the 15th-century Kolossi Castle.
Book it: Sovereign Luxury Travel offers seven nights’ B&B from £1,565pp including access to No1 Lounges, private resort transfers and flights.
Holidaymakers will find it even easier to jet off to Greece and Cyprus this summer thanks to a range of new flights.
Customers looking to explore the resorts on Crete’s northwest coast can fly to Chania with Jet2.com from Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, Stansted and Manchester. Flights will operate from May-October.
Meanwhile, Ryanair has launched two flights a week to Corfu out of London Southend and Liverpool John Lennon, from April-October.
British Airways will operate a Gatwick-Kos route from May-October with three flights a week.
For customers seeking beaches, ancient sites and seafood, suggest Preveza in north-west Greece. British Airways will offer two flights a week on its new Heathrow-Preveza service, from May-September.
There are daily services from Luton to Athens with Ryanair, or suggest Thessaloniki from Manchester on the twice-weekly service. Both commence in April. The airline will also offer a weekly service from Stansted to Kalamata.
Cyprus will also see a boost to airlift, with Ryanair adding summer routes from Bournemouth and Liverpool John Lennon to Paphos, each offering two services a week.
This will also be the first summer that easyJet will run a Bristol to Larnaca service twice a week, having launched the year-round route in October.