In the Lap of the Gods in Cyprus; History and Holidays Go Hand in Hand on the Island of Cyprus, as Sherna Noah Discovers

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Byline: Sherna Noah

IHAD planned to see for myself whether plunging into the Baths of Aphrodite really does deliver eternal youth. Sadly, it''s now strictly forbidden to enter the inviting shady pond, where the worldfamous goddess of love and beauty apparently bathed under a canopy of fig trees.

But I needn''t have worried - I returned home from our family holiday on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus rejuvenated, at least on the inside, anyway.

The location for a week of unwinding was Amathus Beach Hotel, in Paphos, which boasts a refurbished spa, choice of swimming pools and restaurants, a gym, and even private plunge pools on the terrace of some of its bedrooms.

It also has thousands of years of archaeology on its doorstep.

That''s where we began our stay - visiting the Tomb of the Kings.

We walked underground into columned sandstone chambers, where society''s richest were placed in tombs more than 2,000 years ago.

From there, we went to a medieval castle, a highlight for my toddler, because you can peep into claustrophobic cells where prisoners were incarcerated by the conquering Ottomans.

For me, the most spectacular sight in Paphos was a series of brightly-coloured mosaics, in honour of the god of wine, which would have decorated the floor of a Roman villa, the House of Dionysos.

Discovered in 1962 by a farmer cultivating his vegetables, the mosaic floors of four Roman villas are in a Unesco World Heritage protected archaeological park.

Our hotel may not have had a mosaic in homage to a wine god, but it did have a fantastic pool bar. We enjoyed a couple of days lying on sunloungers next to the large freshwater pool, within a landscape garden planted with palm trees and herbs, used in the hotel''s cooking.

As well as a playground and kids'' club, the hotel also has a paddling pool, where our toddler splashed about happily protected from the sun''s rays under an umbrella fixed inside it.

When we fancied going to the beach, we found a perfect cove of soft sand and calm blue water just a 10-minute walk away.

Slightly farther afield, you can also take a boat or taxi to the larger beach of Coral Bay, while golf fans can head to the nearby courses.

We took it easy, spending a few hours on the beach and then walking to the harbour for a delicious fish mezze or ice cream. …