This year I had my first experience with AirBnB and it was surprisingly good. I don’t know why I’m so surprised. Well actually I do. Budget travelling scares the bejeez out of me. I’m not a travel snob (well maybe just a touch) but I’m much more of a 4* kinda girl nowadays. Actually the use of “girl” is a stretch and so maybe I should let that go…along with 2* disasters, grim hotels and dodgy cheap holidays! Which is exactly my point. Even on a budget I want my holiday to be a holiday, not an angst ridden few nights in hell hole worthy of a bad tv show.
Luckily my most recent budget holiday to Cyprus was as far from that as you could image. Yes it was a girls trip and yes, it had all the hallmarks of one (note the strawberry daiquiris are lethal, contain way too much sugar but taste sensational). But it also had much more class and sophistication (depending on which photos you look at).
The reason we came to look at AirBNB was – I hate to admit – as a last resort. Invited to a wedding, unable to stay for a week or afford the wedding hotel, we were looking for an alternative. And we found plenty actually. Obviously I can’t speak to the quality of the others, but my particular rental was fabulous. The whole process of booking, payment and confirmation was seamless, which was very reassuring. Of course, I think communication helps and I could fault the host, Andrew, on his timely and detailed responses. He went the extra mile to make sure our stay was as enjoyable as possible, even arranging a private airport transfer (at a cost).
In terms of the accommodation itself, if you are looking for a small apartment in Protaras, this one is fabulous. The complex is clean, spacious and well maintained. The location is ideal as it’s close enough to walk to town, but far enough that it’s dead quiet in the evenings. And of course the weather….ah the weather. As I sit here freezing my bits and bobs off in between bursts of central heating, I cannot relay to you how fabulous the weather was. Considering we were knocking on the door of November when we went, we had sunbathing weather every single day. And it was heavenly.
We even flew with a budget airline, Norwegian Airways. I’d not flown with them previously but had heard numerous good reports and I concur, they are really good. For a no frills service, the seats were comfortable and leg room surprising. What more could you want?
In terms of Protaras itself, it really is beautiful. The beaches are stunning. Although I’ve been to Cyprus before I’d not been to this area and there is loads to do, without feeling like you are crowded or harassed. Not that I done much of anything except lie on a sun-lounger sipping the dangerous daiquiris!
There are some great restaurants too, which is always going to make it a winner for me. Two particularly stood out. The first was a traditional Cypriot restaurant on the main strip that I’m afraid I don’t have the name of. We ordered a meat platter to share between two. It could have fed six and was bloody delicious. The second was an Italian restaurant called Ravioli’s which was near the wedding hotel, technically in Paralimni. I had seafood and it was immense, but equally everything that was served to our huge table, looked delicious. Of course there are some trashy bars too but hey, after a few daiquiris even the best of us can belt out a karaoke classic!
The number one reason this holiday was so special was without doubt seeing my beautiful friend marry her man. There wasn’t a dry eye (or brow due to the weather) in the hotel. It was a trip full of fabulous memories, that gave me a serious bout of post holiday blues. But it also eradicated my preconceived ideas of AirBNB. Budget travel has never been so appealing. Hmmm… now, where to next?