CYPRUS HOTELS: Venue fact file

Cyprus has a wide range of meetings facilities, from beach resorts such as Ayia Napa, Paphos and Limassol, to city properties in Nicosia. Jennifer Creevy lists 20 of the top meetings venues.

ADAMS BEACH HOTEL

Adams Beach Hotel has just completed a major refurbishment, which has seen it more than triple the capacity of its main conference hall. General manager John Xydas explains the hotel is now focusing more on the groups market. "The refurbishments have created a more exclusive property and we are hoping for five-star status next year, he adds.

Location: Ayia Napa
Number of rooms: 304
Number of meeting spaces: 9
Maximum theatre-style space: 1,050
Leisure facilities include: swimming pool, book shop, fashion shop,
beauty salon

AENEAS HOTEL

Located across the road from the Adams Beach Hotel, these two properties are often used together by large groups. This year the Aeneas had all its rooms renovated and in the winter season it will undergo a general refurbishment. Despite the general slowdown in bookings in Cyprus, the Aeneas has six confirmed groups from the UK this year, one up from last year. "We have been busy but rates are lower at the moment, says general manager Varnavas Theodorou.

Neon Conferences & Incentives managing director Demos Chrysostomou is taking a group from Johnson & Johnson to the hotel in November. "The client is a huge fan of the hotel and this is the second event they have held there, he says.

Viasys Healthcare took over the hotel in April this year for a ten-day conference. Its spokeswoman Julia Harrison says "everything ran perfectly".

Theodorou notes: "They turned the hotel into a hospital with all the equipment and demonstrations."

Location: Ayia Napa
Number of rooms: 294
Number of meeting spaces: 5
Maximum theatre-style space: 550
Leisure facilities include: 4,000 sq m outdoor pool, squash, tennis,
health club, mini golf

AMATHUS BEACH HOTEL

A two-year CY£8m (£9m) refurbishment programme was completed this May.

A new conference room was built, while the existing spaces were redecorated.

The property also added 36 junior suites, nine of which have their own private pools.

Sister property, Paphos Amathus Beach Hotel is undergoing a similar programme, which is due for completion this winter. Amathus Hotels sales and marketing manager George Kyriacou says the two hotels are quite different, with different markets in mind. "The Limassol property is more of a conference hotel and the property in Paphos is better suited to smaller incentive groups."

UK wholesaler Palmer & Harvey McLean has a group going to the Amathus Beach Hotel in October for an incentive. "We have used the Amathus for five years running now and have always found it to be great value for money with excellent facilities, says business manager Darren Bricknell.

"It did need updating, but now the renovation is complete it looks stunning."

Location: Limassol
Number of rooms: 239
Number of meeting spaces: 7
Maximum theatre-style space: 600
Leisure facilities include: swimming pools, tennis, gym, Clarins beauty
studio, Mineral Dead Sea Spa studio

Anassa Hotel

The Anassa is often described as the most exclusive hotel in Cyprus.

Set in the north-west of the island, it was thrown into the spotlight in March when it was the venue for a three-day birthday party for British entrepreneur Philip Green and celebrity friends.

The property can also cater for smaller, exclusive corporate groups.

Drakos Travel took a group of 50 from Xerox there earlier this year for an incentive. Drakos managing director Christina Drakos sees the hotel as perfect for top-end groups that want to feel secluded and pampered.

"The hotel is some distance from the airports so the nightlife isn't suitable for every group, she says. "But it is a beautiful property and offers a deluxe service. The celebrity attention it receives can be an added incentive."

The Anassa has two sister properties in Paphos: the Beach Hotel and The Annabelle.

Location: Polis
Number of rooms: 177
Number of meeting spaces: 3
Maximum theatre-style space: 300
Leisure facilities include: four restaurants, swimming pools, Thalassa
Spa

APHRODITE HILLS

The multi-million pound development ten miles east of Paphos will open in stages, starting from October this year. The 18-hole golf course will open first, followed by the villas, health spa, tennis academy, and an Inter-Continental Resort in spring 2004.

The resort is owned by Lanitis Development, a subsidiary of the Lanitis Group of Companies, which also owns Amathus Hotels. Amathus' Kyriacou says the property will team up with Aphrodite Hills to allow guests to use facilities at all properties. Aphrodite Hills director of golf Michael Stagnetto believes that while the villas will cater for the leisure visitors, the Inter-Continental will pull in groups. "The plans for the hotel haven't been released yet but we expect it to have meetings space. The golf and spa elements will be a huge incentive draw, he says.

Location: Kouklia, ten miles east of Paphos
Number of rooms at hotel: 290
Number of meeting spaces: n/a
Maximum theatre-style space: n/a
Leisure facilities include: golf, spa, tennis, shops

AZIA BEACH HOTEL

A five-star property set on the shore of the Mediterranean, it is well-equipped for groups with a range of meeting rooms and outdoor areas. Among its facilities is an amphitheatre that can hold up to 250 theatre-style, 600 for a banquet or 1,200 for a reception.

On the incentive side, the hotel also owns the nearby Morokampos Plantation, which has more than 15,000 Mediterranean and tropical plants. Groups can take a trip or even host events there.

Location: Paphos
Number of rooms: 264
Number of meeting spaces: 4
Maximum theatre-style space: 800
Leisure facilities include: pool, health and beauty salon, tennis,
squash, bars, restaurants

COLUMBIA BEACH RESORT

The Columbia Beach Resort is the umbrella name for the Columbia Beachotel and the Columbia Beach Suites. The Beachotel is the established hotel, while the Beach Suites is its deluxe sister property and is set to open by early October this year.

"Both properties are independent of each other despite their proximity," says Columbia Beach Resort general manager Andreas Gregoriou. "The Beach Suites resort will aim to pull in the exclusive incentive groups. There is a definite trend towards top-class resorts in Cyprus as we already have 11 groups booked in back to back next summer."

Location: Pissouri
Number of rooms: 109 (Beachotel) and 120 (Beach Suites)
Number of meeting spaces: 5
Maximum theatre-style space: 240
Leisure facilities include: swimming pools, water sports centre, health
and beauty centre, tennis, squash, shops, hair salon

CORAL BEACH HOTEL

The Coral Beach Hotel has remained a popular choice for C&I groups. It is set away from Paphos's centre and the town's other hotels, but is well geared up for conferences. It has the capacity in meetings space and room numbers to cope with large groups.

Hewlett-Packard has held a number of events there (see case study, opposite).

World Event Management's conference director Frances Charlton is another fan. "It's a great conference hotel, she says.

Location: Coral Bay, Paphos
Number of rooms: 424
Number of meeting spaces: 16
Maximum theatre-style space: 1,000
Leisure facilities include: swimming pool, mini golf, water sports, gym,
snooker and games room, tennis

ELIAS BEACH HOTEL & COUNTRY CLUB

Elias Beach Hotel has a range of facilities on-site but can also offer guests use of its Country Club. Based about 7km from the hotel, the club incorporates what it claims is the largest stud farm and racing stables in Cyprus, housing more than 250 horses. It also offers archery and quad biking. Gray Dawes took a group of 15 young sales staff from mobile phone supplier Dial-a-phone to the property in April. The group stayed for three nights. Gray Dawes office manager Sue Connolly says the hotel may not be as deluxe as some, but is good for groups on a budget. "It's great value for money and with such a young group, all they didwas sleep there anyway, she says.

Location: Limassol
Number of rooms: 175
Number of meeting spaces: 1
Maximum theatre-style space: 200
Leisure facilities include: swimming pool, gym, tennis, squash, table
tennis, pool tables

ELYSIUM BEACH RESORT

This £25m deluxe resort officially opened in June this year. Venetian in style, it has a range of rooms, including Cypriot loft rooms and royal garden villas with private pool.

It is located 15 minutes' walk from Paphos Harbour and around 25km from Paphos airport. The property is owned by Stademos Hotels, which also owns the Mediterranean Beach Hotel in Limassol. Sales and marketing manager Kratinos Socratous sees the property targeting the top-end groups. "Our aim is to make C&I around 20 per cent of our business and we already have a couple of group bookings, he says. "Our competition in Cyprus will be properties such as the Anassa, the Four Seasons and Le Meridien."

Location: Paphos
Number of rooms: 250
Number of meeting spaces: 2
Maximum theatre-style space: 400
Leisure facilities include: Aveda Spa, swimming pools, tennis, water
sports, amusement centre, table tennis

FORUM HOTEL NICOSIA

The Forum Hotel is operated by the Inter-Continental Hotels & Resorts group and is next to the International Exhibition Centre, a 30-minute drive from Larnaca airport. Future plans include a health club featuring a gym, sauna, jacuzzi, indoor and outdoor pools and beauty treatment rooms.

Location: Nicosia
Number of rooms: 201
Number of meeting spaces: 12
Maximum theatre-style space: 1,650
Leisure facilities include: swimming pools, shops, variety of
restaurants and bars, tennis

FOUR SEASONS

The Four Seasons is a deluxe property, well-known in the groups market.

Airtrack Travel sales director Lorraine Joyce recently visited the property while on a fam trip to the island. "We had a dinner at the Four Seasons on the first night, which was excellent, she recalls. "It is also a pick-up and drop-off point for catamaran cruises so it is well situated, she adds.

Dialogue Travel & Events took a group from Ricoh to the property earlier this year (see case study, p80). Dialogue managing director Linda Warr says of all the venues she has used for international events, the Four Seasons provided "the best food and beverages of them all". She continues: "The staff were a pleasure to work with and the management was always close to hand."

Location: Limassol
Number of rooms: 323
Number of meeting spaces: 4
Maximum theatre-style space: 660
Leisure facilities include: Thalasso Spa, swimming pools, diving school,
water sports, squash, tennis

GOLDEN BAY HOTEL

Golden Bay Hotel is part of the Lordos Golden Hotels group. The other two properties are the Golden Coast Beach Hotel in Protaras and the Lordos Beach Hotel in Larnaca. The Golden Bay Hotel is the group's five-star property. It is set just 14km from Larnaca airport and boasts a range of meetings facilities.

Location: Larnaca
Number of rooms: 193
Number of meeting spaces: 3
Maximum theatre-style space: 220
Leisure facilities include: lagoon pool, basketball, table tennis,
tennis, health club

GRECIAN PARK HOTEL

The five-star Grecian Park Hotel is a flexible property for groups. While its peak season is mainly reserved for the leisure market, the off-season often sees groups take exclusive use of the property. General Electric took over the property last year for a conference. The hotel also has a sister in nearby Ayia Napa. The four-star Grecian Sands Hotel has 137 rooms and is also available for groups.

Location: Protaras
Number of rooms: 245
Number of meeting spaces: 3
Maximum theatre-style space: 410
Leisure facilities include: swimming pools, squash, basketball, tennis,
table tennis

HAWAII GRAND HOTEL

The Hawaii Grand is a stalwart in Cyprus' conference offer as it has extensive facilities for groups. WEM's Charlton says the property is well set up for the C&I business, both in terms of facilities and staff.

"The management is so attuned to what the corporate business needs they are more or less one jump ahead of organisers, she says.

The hotel is looking to close for a period during this winter to re-landscape the outside area. General manager Nick Aristou says: "We want to add another restaurant and make the pool bigger. We've been operating for ten years now so we know our strengths and weaknesses and are aware of changes that need to be made. We need more outdoor areas for groups, so we hope to build in a space to have cocktails by the beach."

Location: Limassol
Number of rooms: 255
Number of meeting spaces: 4
Maximum theatre-style space: 1,200
Leisure facilities include: gymnasium, swimming pools, massage rooms,
tennis, squash, watersports, diving centre

HILTON CYPRUS

The Hilton is located downtown, next to the headquarters of the Central Bank. It is a 35-minute drive from Larnaca airport and has a selection of meeting rooms. It is also supported by the international Hilton branding.

Location: Nicosia
Number of rooms: 298
Number of meeting spaces: 14
Maximum theatre-style space: 1,000
Leisure facilities include: fitness room, swimming pool, squash, tennis

LE MERIDIEN LIMASSOL SPA & RESORT

From April 2003 the five-star property will be a self-contained luxury resort with a "residents-only policy. After its £6m investment, the resort will have added a range of facilities, such as a mini football pitch and an amphitheatre. Director of business development Demetris Tsangaras explains: "When we added the spa we started to attract the top-end groups so this change is the only way forward. Our rates will increase by around 75 per cent, but this will be reflected in the facilities we will offer. We will be an entire destination in one resort."

Airtrack Travel's Lorraine Joyce deals mainly with top-end incentives and is a fan of Le Meridien. "It is an impressive hotel and the spa is superb, she says. "I would have no problem taking the senior people from a company there."

Location: Limassol
Number of rooms: 331
Number of meeting spaces: 6
Maximum theatre-style space: 510
Leisure facilities include: Thalassotherapy Spa with 32 treatment rooms,
swimming pools, Leisureland, including basketball and badminton,
designer shops, six restaurants

LOUIS APOLLONIA BEACH HOTEL

Situated a few minutes from the city centre, a short drive from a number of archaeological sites, and 100 metres from the nearest shopping area, the Apollonia is easily accessible. It was last renovated during winter 2001 and has a variety of facilities available.

Location: Limassol
Number of rooms: 212
Number of meeting spaces: 3
Maximum theatre-style space: 200
Leisure facilities include: sauna, tennis, squash, swimming pools, water
sports

PALM BEACH HOTEL

The Palm Beach Hotel is a four-star property set in Larnaca Bay. It is situated in the centre of the island, and is just 12km from Larnaca airport and a 30-minute drive from the capital Nicosia. It boasts a modern, purpose-built conference centre and has a chapel set in its gardens.

Location: Larnaca
Number of rooms: 228
Number of meeting spaces: 2
Maximum theatre-style space: 700
Leisure facilities include: health club, tennis, squash, water sports,
swimming pools

ST RAPHAEL RESORT

The St Raphael Resort recently hosted a fam trip for UK agency McGarvey Russell. "The hotel was excellent and it is really well geared up for groups, enthuses managing director Sally McGarvey.

WEM has also used the property on a number of occasions. Charlton sees it as a flexible hotel that is keen to work to meet any requirements.

The hotel's sales manager Robina Demetriou says refurbishment plans are in the offing but a date is yet to be set.

Location: Limassol
Number of rooms: 216
Number of meeting spaces: 14
Maximum theatre-style space: 525
Leisure facilities include: swimming pools, gym, beauty salon, tennis,
diving centre

VERDICT

P&MM special projects manager Jane Tattersall

Tattersall has organised many events for P&MM on the island and holds Cyprus in high regard

The first event I organised in Cyprus was a brewery conference in 1986.

Back then, Ayia Napa was absolutely beautiful - one hotel, the beach and a couple of tavernas. As ever, there were a couple of golfers who had to have their "fix so I arranged a round for them on the island's only course. Sited on one of the British bases, the greens were actually a mixture of sand and oil - "browns really - a far cry from the clubbers paradise of Ayia Napa today and its top class courses.

Since then, P&MM has worked in Cyprus on nearly 20 occasions, always using DMC Palm Conferences & Incentives. Cyprus makes the event organiser's job easy, the people are so friendly and professional; the infrastructure is great; Cyprus Airways is excellent, there is a wide range of high quality hotels; the food is good; it has great weather for nine months of the year and offers skiing in winter - there are activities to suit everyone.

The hotels are brilliant for both conferences and incentives. We have used the Four Seasons a lot, but we also have experience of a number of others, including Le Meridien, and the Palm Beach. Apart from the accommodation, the service really stands out. In Cyprus hotel managers don't hide behind their office doors and this hands-on approach rubs off on the staff.

I believe Cyprus is under-used at the moment but, like all destinations, the appeal is cyclical - hotels and DMCs are working hard to come up with new ideas and the island merits another look. For me, the appeal of Cyprus is as a high quality, good value destination for a European based conference with a motivational element, looking to combine work with activity and culture. But if I had to single out the one thing that makes Cyprus special for me I would have to say it was the warmth of the people.

CASE STUDY
Company: Hewlett-Packard (HP)
Event: sales incentive
Date: 5-8 April 2002 Group size: 60
Agency: Perspectives Red Cell
DMC: OM DMC
Venue: Coral Beach Hotel
Budget: undisclosed

Hewlett-Packard (HP) took 60 delegates to Cyprus as a reward for achieving high sales targets in April. The trip had been scheduled to take place on 14 September last year, but inevitably it was postponed.

"As the event was held in April, the itinerary had to change quite a lot because of the weather, says HP colour category manager Katie Palmer.

Perspectives Red Cell senior account manager Nicky Currah says the original programme incorporated a catamaran cruise and beach barbecue but the replacements worked just as well. "While the weather was still great we didn't want to risk it spoiling any of the activities, she adds. "OM were great about changing the itinerary and were flexible about everything."

The event saw the group take part in a 4x4 jeep rally, wine tasting at a local winery and a variety of water-sport activities. "There wasn't a strict itinerary, so delegates could take part in the activities or do whatever they liked, says Currah.

Currah points to the dining options as a creative part of the event.

Delegates enjoyed a Caribbean evening, a Cyprus night at a local taverna, lunch at a fish restaurant, and a Greco Roman dinner at the hotel.

"OM made sure we sampled a range of food during the event and it was all fantastic, Currah remembers. "For the Greco Roman night they gave us togas to wear and it really got everyone into the party mood."

Palmer says the feedback from delegates was all positive. "The agency and DMC really worked together to make everything run smoothly, she says.

"The Coral Beach was a fabulous hotel, and I would certainly take a group back there."

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