By Margaret Sheard…..
The Almonds is an extremely friendly hotel and holiday complex in Alsancak, a family run business which gives a lot of attention to the comfort their guests to ensure they enjoy their holiday. The Aşık family have kept their business at a manageable size for this very reason. The family comprises Ali and his wife Dervişe and their 4 children, Gülten, Ahmet, Ayşe and Afet they all contribute to the running of the complex.
Gulten deals with reservations, marketing and finance, Ayşe is an artist and you can see her work all around the hotel, Ahmet is responsible for the restaurant, bar and event management and is also a very forwarding thinking businessman who has a formed a number of business partnerships to promote and enhance tourism, Afet deals with the accounts side of the business. Mum and Dad – Dervişe and Ali, are very much involved with the customers, many who have become friends, to ensure that the family welcome and service is maintained for their enjoyment.
Having been there many times before, we went along to see the now completed new outside pergola, which is the summertime dining area, and were very impressed with the result. It is a very large area with many new features, including the existing rock at the side of the pergola with a more prominent water feature and traditional wooden bread trays which Ayşe has painstakingly hand painted with various types of Cypriot flowers, she was in the process of starting a new bread tray when we were there and she said it would take her one day for each rose she was painting as a central feature so it would take her 8 days to complete all of the 8 feature paintings The Almonds closes for the winter from December to March so that they can carry out refurbishment and improvements and their policy is to do this type of work during this time and not spoil their guests’ enjoyment when they arrive for their holidays.
As well as the hotel rooms there is separate accommodation of 1 and 2 bedroom mezzanine villas and also triple bedded accommodation and garden cottages, nothing has been overlooked with a disabled friendly villa also being available, giving a total of 33 rooms available. For those guests that want to explore, Almond have their own car hire service.
Much love has gone into what is now a very successful holiday complex and Gülten told us about how it all came about. Her grandfather and his family which included the then young Ali Aşık, fled from Famagusta to the UK in 1960 when the troubles in the island were increasing. Ali returned to Famagusta in 1977 for a holiday and at this time he met Dervişe, it was love at first sight, they married within 2 weeks of meeting and Dervişe went back to the UK with Ali. Their 4 children were all born in the UK.
The family returned to Cyprus in 1990 and Ali bought the land in Alsancak in 1994 which was totally barren and overgrown except for 4 almond trees which were just blossoming and so the name of The Almonds was decided upon for his project of a holiday venue and he upgraded the entrance track by making it into a road with a traditional stone wall along the side of the adjoining stream. The buildings and walls were made from stone which Ali transported from the Karpaz, he built the complex and even dug out the huge pool himself with a JCB. This indeed was a labour of love and today we can see the results of all of Ali’s hard work. Gulten told us that Ali had an architect who drew up the plans for the villas and cottages but Ali felt there were too many and they were too close together and so he changed the plans as he felt they should be. Again thought was given to their future guests’ pleasure and comfort.
The Almonds is situated near to the main road but far enough away to give the complex a quiet and peaceful atmosphere and it certainly has that, it is also still near to the sea and of course there is a lovely backdrop of the mountains.
Some of the improvements which have been added is a communication system for the waiters to the kitchen, which will make life much easier for them and also speed up orders which are placed electronically, and cooked in a brand new programmable oven. In the garden area there is a traditional Cypriot oven which Ali built and is used for BBQ’s and also demonstrating bread making.
The water supply is from their well, which is regularly checked, and has a purifying system for the hotel and a separate one for the bar area which ensures a high level of hygiene. Quality hygiene appliances include top quality ice makers and dishwasher.
The new pergola is situated beside the large pool at the rear of the hotel and this area is surrounded by the villas and cottages, beyond that there is an orchard and vegetable garden area where there are chickens, ducks and also a family of ostriches. The garden areas all around the complex are beautifully laid out and well cared for and there are so many interesting artefacts, large and small, scattered around the grounds which you will suddenly come across, so well worth a stroll around. There is a wonderful backdrop of the Kyrenia mountains together with the views of the gardens from the various villas and cottages.
Everywhere in the hotel and in the grounds you can see the results of Ali’s passion for Cyprus history with his many years of collecting pots and cooking items and basket-ware, stone and wooden artefacts, most of which are labelled to give information about them.
The Almonds can also cater for small wedding parties and it is certainly a lovely setting for this type of event.
Most of the staff have been with the family for many years and especially Nilűfer, which translates into English as Lily so most of their visitors use this name. Lily has been with the family for about 10 years and always greets you with a cheerful smile.
Almond Holiday Village have received numerous Trip Advisor awards and they have already received 5 awards in 2016 as shown below
12th bargain hotel in the world
8th bargain hotel in Europe
1st bargain hotel in Cyprus
3rd best service in the whole of Cyprus
5th romantic location in the whole of Cyprus
A wonderful achievement for the Almond Village Hotel and the Aşık family.
Many couples and families return to Almond Village time and time again and even those who decide to purchase a property still come to say hello when they are here. This is what a family run business is all about, paying attention to their guests, making sure they enjoy their stay and cultivating friendships which continue year after year.
e-mail ; firstname.lastname@example.org tel ; 0090 392 82 12 885 ( 6/7/8) / fax ;0090 392 82 12 889
There are some more pictures of the lovely gardens in the collage below.