I was expecting Aphrodite’s bath to be bubbling over with champagne.
I was expecting larks singing from the boughs of trees.
I was expecting to be able to dip my finger in the Goddess of Love’s bath and be rejuvenated; to have 20 years worth of stress and age shed like a whisper thin outgrown skin. I was expecting all of this, but I was in the wrong place. That would happen but later in the day with the man with the golden touch.
Whilst I was researching for my trip to Cyprus I was delighted to discover that the Anassa was just down the road from the Baths of Aphrodite, where legend has it, the Goddess of Love would bath after swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Bay of Polis. Legend also has it that it was here that the Goddess first met her lover Adonis. They say that swimming in the water will restore beauty and youth.
So, you can imagine why I was excited about getting to see this magical spot. No, not because it’s the hang-out of Adonis and others like him! I already have an Adonis at home and he gives me quite enough gip. No the real incentive was the opportunity to look younger, feel more alive – that’s real incentive when you’re a knackered almost 44 year old (Gulp!) working Mum of three.
So off I trot to the Baths which are a quick trip up the road from the Anassa on a headland overlooking Polis Bay. The bay itself is magical with tourist-brochure perfect crystal clear waters at the bottom of a path lined by magnificent spring wild flowers. That Aphrodite had taste!
But the Baths themselves are actually on the other side of the road, a short walk through a carefully maintained garden which is free to the public. I wasn’t sure I actually had the right place at first because it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. No, not just the lack of champagne and larks – the Baths are a small spring set in a grotto shrouded with moss-covered boughs and creepers. And most crushingly of all, there was a sign asking that you refrain from swimming!
What on earth am I going to do with this age-worn skin?
Feeling somewhat disgruntled I snapped a couple of pix to show my Mythology-mad daughters, and started the walk back to the Anassa. I did not want to be late for my very important date – my Hot Stone Massage.
Anassa boasts a superb Thassalotherapy Spa and its facilities and treatments are second to none. The Spa uses 100% organic ingredients in its therapies as well as natural sea water. Rejuvenation and restoration are at the heart of its ethos, and the facilities include a serene indoor Roman bath (which is flooded with natural daylight), jet pools, sauna, steam rooms and the divine ‘womb room’ (otherwise known as the Relaxation room).
I hadn’t had a lot of success with rejuvenating body and soul at Aphrodite’s spot, so maybe I would have a better shot at it in the Spa?
I put all ‘ugly girl’ insecurities behind me and met with the Spa staff to go through some basic health checks (no I’m not packing any artificial limbs and no I’m not pregnant), before being introduced to my therapist who would carry out the hour long, full body, Hot Stone Massage.
And then, in walked Harry Potter!
Not the actual actor but a young man who looked as if he could pass as Daniel Radcliffe’s brother. Oh well, now this is going to be interesting I thought to myself with a certain amount of spa related performance anxiety as Vlad led a very demure Vegemitevix into the dimly lit therapy rooms. I anxiously tried to remember if I had done a good job of shaving my legs. I needn’t have worried. Vlad was entirely professional and calming, quietly explaining that he would leave the room whilst I disrobed and organised myself – snuggled under the warm towels on the massage bed.
What happened next was divine.
Encased in towels so that my senses of touch and smell were heightened, I breathed in the heady fragrance of rose and jasmine, whilst lying on a bed of hot rocks that warmed my thrilled spine. Next came a drizzle of oil and a strong massage with oil infused hot rocks. Massage is a funny thing – if the pressure is too light it becames spidery and ticklish, too strong and you end up bruised and subdued. But Vlad’s massage was just right. His strong touch combined with the smooth warmth of the lava rocks scooped down deep into the very tissue of my muscles, relieving stress from where I didn’t even know it lurked.
Who knew there was so much stress in my fingers? Or in my ankles?
My muscles and sinews yielded to the firm pressure and the warmth of the stones and before long I felt I was breathing stress away on a vapour, scented with rose and jasmine. And then sufficiently relaxed and warmed through, I was led into the dimly candle lit relaxation room, where I was to simply ‘relax’ and ‘just be’ for as long as I liked. Quiet music played, candles whisper-flickered and with my body warmed and relaxed by the hot stone massage I did what any woman would do in that sensual situation. I dozed off. I veritably returned to the womb.
After rousing, an hour or so later, I popped into the sauna and steam rooms and spent another further hour luxuriating. Sitting in the steam room I reflected on my life, searching my soul as entirely as my body had been massaged. Sitting in the quiet steam I took a step out of my busy life and reviewed where I was at, and where I wanted to be. I thought about my Englishman and our journey together from that first meeting in Paris; and I thought about my kids and how wonderfully supportive they’ve been following their crazy Mum to live in England. And as I walked out into the twilight I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Aphrodite. She was so close, and yet so far. She should have taken her bath at Anassa’s Thassalotherapy Spa. It’s a truly magical place where even I – stressed out, and tired – turned into a goddess myself – rejuvenated, relaxed and reborn.
Where: Baths of Aphrodite are not far from Polis, Cyprus and handily just up the road from the world class Anassa Spa resort.
How: I flew to Cyprus with Easyjet from Gatwick. It’s an easy 4.5 hr flight across Europe.
How much: Easyjet flights were £131 and accomodation at the divine Anassa is from £450 per room per night. I recommend you go, but if you don’t believe me Conde Nast Traveller’s recommendation might persuade you further. Worth every penny. How quickly can you get there?
Disclaimer: I was the very grateful guest of Thanos Hotels staying at the Anassa for two nights in late March 2012. All reviews reflect my true, frank opinion of my experiences.