The SpaceFlora's House, built in the early 1900s, is in a beautiful, peaceful village with friendly locals and easy access to all the best that Cyprus has to offer. At night, you will probably hear the resident scops owl in the distance as you drift off to sleep - a lovely comforting sound. Flora's House has been a much-loved family holiday home for over 20 years, and is getting a gradual upgrade to reflect its forthcoming Listed Building status. Some of the rooms could do with some cosmetic redecoration, thanks to the power of the sun doing its work - although it has that comforting distressed look according to guests. Perfectly positioned half way between Larnaca and Limassol, with the sea ahead and the mountains behind, Flora's House is really special. The house is old and idiosyncratic, tons of character. Cyprus itself can be quirky - for example the water will occasionally stop for no apparent reason (there is a large storage bottle for this purpose) and then come back on again, but the beds are comfy, the fridge/freezer is brand new and the kitchen is equipped as for a family home. If you respond well to a super 'luxury' feel with everything working perfectly at all times, then Flora's House isn't the place for you. However, if you respond well to rustic, quirky and charming, with that special and immediate sense of peace and place that only certain houses have, then Flora's House is ideal to relax in. The stone arches, the balcony, the sense of timelessness under the high ceilings are all things that visitors and family have loved for years and cite as amongst the glories of the house. That said, there is now wifi in the house - so if you prefer to be in constant communication, you can be. If not, just pretend it isn't there!
We've been told by previous guests that the kitchen "has all the equipment you could need". As for devices/appliances: an oven, hob, barbecue, a kettle, a toaster, a blender, scales, a fridge freezer, electric fruit squeezer (ideal for using on the the grapefruits or lemons you just picked from the garden), a Nutribullet (plus instructions), gas fires for the winter "cold", a new washing machine, iron and ironing board. There is a great selection of books on Cyprus in the house, including history books, guide books, guides to the painted churches, birds and flora, etc, plus a stack of novels in the garden room wardrobe.
In the main sitting room, there is a drinks cabinet, games (cards, Smythson Bridge set, backgammon set, scrabble) and a top-of-the-range Yamaha Clavinova with pedals, perfect for musicians or any guest wanting to do a little daily piano practice. For the winter "chill" such as it is, there are gas fires (the kind with cylinders in the back) which, together with a cardie and slippers for the evenings, would be all that's needed in the evenings in the cooler months of January and February.
Current bed configuration is: ground floor - x1 large double with kingsize duvet for extra comfort in the cooler months; garden room - x1 single, x1 double four-poster (the four poster is unusually high, requiring use of the footstool to get up, and is therefore not suitable for people with limited mobility); the converted donkey house in the garden - x1 double (this gets you to a total capacity of 7).
Current loo & bathroom configuration is: ground floor - bathroom with bath, shower head & curtain, sink, and loo; garden room - shower, loo and sink leading off from a dressing room; "donkey house cottage" - shower, loo, sink. Guest AccessThe house is semi-detached, and guests have use of the entire space, including the lovely Mediterranean garden, which contains a grapefruit tree, lemon tree, orange tree, persimmon tree, pomegranate tree as well as some hardy drought resistant flowers and an ancient vine (with an outdoor shower underneath it). The adjoining house belongs to Cyprus' top architect for traditional buildings, who did the restoration of Flora's House and also owns and lets the stone cottages just beyond. Flora's House is divided into three interconnected, yet self-sufficient areas and guests access everything. The main bedroom and sitting room (in the same space, as is traditional in Cyprus) connects from the main kitchen/dining room and leads onto the balcony and the floating terrace. The garden room is accessed by a staircase running outside the house linking the balcony to the garden, and the "donkey house" (no donkeys any more!) is a sweet cottage in the garden, converted in 2011. All three double bedrooms have direct access to their own loo/bathroom plus access to their own kitchenette/breakfast room - so early risers can make a cup of tea or have breakfast without disturbing anyone else.
There is no pool but with the lovely beaches of Governors Bay and Ayios Georgios 10-15 minute drive and idyllic for relaxing at all day in the summer, a pool has always seemed superfluous. We would possibly have put a small one in if we had room, but have never wanted to sacrifice the lovely garden.
Guests are welcome, indeed encouraged, to open every cupboard and drawer to locate whatever they might need or want to use. Interaction with GuestsThere is a housekeeper who lives in the village, who will make sure there is bread, milk and cheese in the fridge in advance of your arrival, and will do the bedding when you leave. She doesn't speak much English but the wonderful couple who employ her for most of the week, Iangus and Katie, do speak English - and Iangus himself was actually born in the house many years ago! Flora's own "bible" of special places, nearest conveniences, independent car hire, and top tips (as well as house rules) is all written up and will be emailed to you before you travel. There is a gardener, Stavros (Greek only) who pops in from time to time to water the plants, he lets himself in through the garden gate but not when there are guests at the house. On request, Flora is more than happy to provide a map, lend her Rough Guide to Cyprus, talk through anything before guests fly out to Cyprus, give advice and suggestions of where to go and what to see, places to eat. The NeighborhoodThere is a very simple, utterly authentic cafe in the village where the locals, including the mayor, sit and drink coffee or beer and catch up on all the news. There's a famous restaurant in the village, Lord Kitcheners' Tavern, but at the time of writing it's not occupied - that will no doubt soon change. The best place nearby for food (greengrocer, grocer, butcher, and a fabulous baker plus a bank with cashpoint) is less than 10 minutes drive at Zygi Crossroads (now a small roundabout). There are lovely walks in the immediate vicinity of the village, and the house is the ideal base to explore the rest of the island. There is a handy hypermarket, AlphaMega, at Skarinou (come off at Junction 13) which is good for a big shop, and then I would always recommend buying bread, fruit, yoghurt from Zygi crossroads. Getting AroundThere is on-street parking for 1-2 cars just outside the house, plus a small carpark in the centre of the village for overflow. It's really best to hire a car in Cyprus (they drive on the left so very easy for English visitors) and we can recommend a local family firm we ourselves have used for over 15 years, or book with the usual global names in car hire. The airport you fly into is Larnaca. Other Things to NoteThe house is not suitable for toddlers or wheelchair users as it is old, has steps and stairs and only standard bathrooms/showers. Small babies are welcome - there is a new fold-away cot in one of the cupboards downstairs, plus some spare nappies for emergencies!