Former sprinter LINFORD CHRISTIE warms to the slower Mediterranean pace of life
MY three children are not particularly serious about athletics but they are definitely active. When my wife Mandy and I take Briannah, 15, Tate, 11, and eight-year-old Kian away there's one essential requirement: always a pool.
During our holiday in Cyprus they swam every day. The Amathus Beach Hotel in Limassol, has three large outdoor pools, one indoor infinity pool and one especially for children so it scored highly on that front.
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I'd been to Cyprus just before the Athens Olympics in 2004 and really enjoyed it so I was eager to take the family.
The Amathus was welcoming and intimate despite being quite large (there are 239 rooms). It sits on a beautiful sandy beach five miles east of Limassol and is surrounded by stunning landscaped gardens.
As well as its many pools it has an enormous spa and wellness centre, five themed restaurants, a Pelican kids' club and a private beach.
The look is contemporary and sophisticated with refurbished rooms and furniture designed by the likes of Philippe Starck and Zaha Hadid.
Our Sea View rooms were lovely, giving both us and the children a bit of privacy when we wanted it. From the balcony we could gaze over the immaculate grounds to the private beach and sparkling Mediterranean beyond.
These days I coach around 15 athletes which means lots of travelling, so when I'm left to my own devices, I'm very happy just to chill out.
Wherever you go in Cyprus you are confronted by history. We visited ancient ruins on trips organised by the hotel and explored some amazing churches in Limassol as well as its medieval castle.
There's fantastic shopping, too, from souvenir and touristy stores on St Andrew's Street to Makarios Avenue's chic designer stores.
Most of our time, though, was spent at the hotel. Mandy enjoyed various treatments in the spa, and I enjoyed a sports massage. Its 11 therapy rooms, accessed by "floating" walkways above still pools, made it supremely relaxing and it even had a Men's World area for the more sceptical male.
I keep in shape and having a gym on site (with a panoramic glass wall overlooking the pool) was essential once we discovered the hotel's restaurants.
The buffet breakfast at Kalypso, with everything from exotic fruit platters to traditional Cypriot dishes such as eggs fried in olive oil with halloumi cheese, set us up for the day.
At night it was a case of choosing one of five restaurants. Kalypso had shaded dining by the pool while La Terrazza had an open kitchen and tasty made-to-order pizzas and pastas.
feasted on deliciously fresh meze.
My favourite memory of the trip was one night after a superb meal in the romantic, shore-edge Limanaki Fish Tavern, where we feasted on deliciously fresh meze. As the waves gently lapped the shore we skimmed stones across the moonlit water. The simple things are what make a good holiday, I always think.
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As the waves gently lapped the shore we skimmed stones across the moonlit water. The simple things are what make a good holiday, I always think.
We loved Amathus so much I'm considering returning soon with my athletes for a training camp, but with all that food on offer I might end up with a serious problem.
Sovereign Luxury Travel (0844 415 1936/www.sovereign.com) offer seven nights at Amathus Beach Hotel, Limassol from £3,229 (family of four sharing), B&B.
Price includes return easyJet flights from Gatwick and private transfers. Departs August 24, 2012.
Cyprus Tourism Organisation: 0207 569 8800/ www.visitcyprus.com