Holiday Gift Shopping

If you are in the market for totally unnecessary but lush local gifts when in Kyrenia please visit Istanbul Art Gallery and Dizayn 74 Pottery.

Istanbul Art Galley is located on the main road as drive into Kyrenia. It is passed Club Z and just before the hospital. The paintings are all done by a husband and wife team and they are really reasonable. I love the Bellapais and Kyrenia Harbour ones to the extent that we now need to buy a bigger house to hang them in – not quite the bargain as they first appeared!

Dizayn 74 pottery as the name suggests has been going for 40 years and is a family business. You can see the pottery being made out in the workshop and then purchase it in the shop. All prices are in sterling and they accept card. It is on the main road out to Lapta opposite the Ship Inn.

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Avanti :-)

Right next to Pia Bella is Avanti that advertises itself as a restaurant, bar, frozen yogurt shop, cake shop and patisserie. This would usually make me skeptical as can one place really do all of the above well however just had a lovely lunch there that was cheaper than pret!

Nice touch the two mini cakes with your latte!

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Creatures of Habit = boring bloggers

So we are a disappointment instead of trying out new things Martyn and I have had a typical day in Cyprus . Started with a coffee in shooters, picked up our hire car, chilled by the pool, went to beach club for lunch and then came into town to watch the football at cafe George! Don’t get me wrong it is definitely up there in my ideal Saturday list but doesn’t make for an overly exciting blog!

However we have good news from our meeting with Isve this morning. She was lovely and we looked around the rooms at the Pia Bella, that were really nice. She has reserved us a block (probably for the sanity of the other guests) and so we will just be disturbing each other! The pool area is also really pretty set in the gardens and the bar will be perfect for us all. So exciting and slightly surreal to think in just 3 months time we will all be holidaying together!

Unrelated picture of the day – the lengths Briggs will go to ensure he doesn’t miss kick off – including riding on the free kids shuttle to town!

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Resurrection of the blog – 100ish days to go!

Can’t believe where the time has gone and that this is our first wedding blog post of 2014! So excited sitting in the Ba lounge at Gatwick (very nice :-)) with a weekend of extreme wedding planning ahead! This weekend we are choosing cake, flowers, meeting the registrar, hair, go to both venues, taste the food (this is risky as already quite committed to venue as paid for it but keeping our fingers crossed!) Plus the hard task of working out the best bar for Rhods Birthday ……..

Since last September the one big change is the hotel as we are now staying at Pia Bella. Hopefully everyone knows this but just in case! We are meeting the legendary Isve tomorrow who has helped arrange all the rooms and so will report back in tomorrow’s blog.

That’s it for now we have a ‘power hour’ in the BA lounge to get through!

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Martyn on “lemonade!” (Gin and tonic)

Little things ……

North Cyprus is technically not a recognised country and so not always easy to find out info on. However here are a couple of things we have discovered –

1). Plugs are same as at home – no need for adaptors.
2). They drive on the same side of the road and it is really easy to get around with a hire car. We use Pacific car hire and usually pick it up from airport or they drop the car off at your hotel. They are doing a special rate of £18 a day when quote Stringer when booking. Plus we usually ask they put £20 petrol in and we will give them the £20 cash as saves trying to get to petrol station on first day.
3). SPEED CAMERAS are everywhere and they catch everyone out as usually speed limit of 65km/hr whether a motorway or a dirt track. They do suddenly drop down to 50km/hr in town and so be careful don’t get caught, as we have before!
4). Currency is Turkish lira (ttl or tittles/doinks as Martyn likes to say!). We usually find we get a better rate bringing sterling out and changing it up in town (at moment 3.2ttls to the £ which is really good.). On Main Street there are two/three money exchangers all offering very similar rates.
5). All restaurants and most bars take card and there are a number of cash points in town (including a HSBC one!)
6). We use the car park at the top of kyrenia as you come in on the main road from the Malpas, this is 3ttl (£1) for 2 hours but need to remember to take your ticket to pay the guy in the hut before you drive out otherwise get stuck at barrier.
7). Don’t rely iPhone maps as they do not have any of North Cyprus marked, Google Maps is much more accurate,

Hotel Overview

We have written about a number of different hotels already but wanted to sum up in one quick blog. We will be staying at the Merit Park next year but as can see below lots of choices –

Low Cost

Club Z – Please see our separate post on Club Z, one of Martyn and my favourite places for a cheap stay! Should be £40 a room, a night.

Pine Bay Club – Please see separate post, highly recommended by wedding planner and conveniently located. Should be £40 a room, a night.

The British – Try to avoid due to bad reputation.

Ship Inn – Comes recommended again by wedding planner, very English hotel with a pool and not far out of town.

Mid Range

Fairmont Villas – Brand new villas that look really nice, only finished this year. Have a pool and include breakfast in rate. Only about 20 rooms and so have a really nice small complex feel. Should be between £50-60 a night. Would say a car is needed as not walking distance to shops/restaurants but have mini kitchens.

Oscar Resort – If you shut your eyes driving down to Oscar and then only open them once in the hotel, it is a really good place to stay. It is walking distance to town but you have to walk through the worse part of town to get there and this is what lets it down. However setup for families and got brilliant facilities, including a number of pools. Range of board options but usually about £60 half board

Korenium Resort and Spa – Please see blog post, this is a lovely resort set in amazing surroundings on the golf course. It should be really in the next bracket as is a 5 star hotel however it is very reasonable as is so far out of town. It is a 30 minute drive and so once get there have to use the resort restaurants/bars or be prepared to drive. We have eaten there before and food is really good. Should be £60 a night bed and breakfast

Bellapais Monastery Village – Slight negative biased about this hotel as they mucked up our booking and so never got to stay there. However gets very well rated and is situated in Bellapais village, which is beautiful. Should be £60-70 a night bed and breakfast.

5 Star Hotels

Merit Park – Please see separate blog post. This is the chosen one :-). £123 a night per room all inclusive.

Malpas Hotel – Please see blog post. Lovely hotel and Martyn’s family will be staying there. Usually £90 a room a night for half board.

Pia Bella – The Pia Bella is in a good location just outside of town but within walking distance. Lovely pool area and really good facilities. Usually very reasonable about £80 a night per room half board.

The Colony – Love the Colony, as the name suggests based on a large colonial house and situated in middle of town. Has a rooftop pool and owns The House restaurant (see blog post.). Usually £90 a night per room, bed and breakfast.

Cratos Premium – This is an over the top hotel based just by The Malpas and about 10 min from town. We loved staying here, the rooms were brilliant, the buffet huge, the beach club is cool and it
has one of the biggest pools ever seen. However reviews say service is poor and it is only really geared up for the Casino guests. We never experienced this but could be as the hotel was only half full when stayed there. It does however have a hotel Bentley – what more could you need??? £130-£140 a night per room, full board plus.

The Rocks – Our Honeymoon hotel! Based in the middle of town, this hotel is known for excellent service and good location. Nice pool area and good cocktail bar. Worth a visit even if only for a drink – although it is London prices! £114 a night bed and breakfast per room.

If have any questions about hotels or flights please let us know. Or we are also using http://www.gonorthcyprus.com who should be able to help- please quote Stringer. There are also loads of villas scattered around Kyrenia, one website that has been recommended by wedding planner is amyvillas.com.

Malpas Hotel

The Malpas hotel is a 5 star hotel about 15 minutes from town and comes highly recommended as my parents stay here every year. It has a large pool area and the comfiest sunbeds ever!! It is not on the beach but have they do have their own beach club and a shuttle bus that runs regularly to it. The rooms are large with very comfy beds (actually the whole bed situation from sunbed to beds in the room are lush!). Plus the most powerful showers in the world. However this year Martyn and I got stitched up with a room with a view of the car park and a balcony with no sun. So if you are staying here let us know and we will try to get the rooms at the front of the hotel.

The Malpas is half board and both the breakfast and dinner were good. The drinks with dinner were more expensive than other hotels/in town. A bottle of wine is £13 and a beer £4. However you are able to take your bottle of wine from dinner to the terrace and there is nothing more relaxing after a hard day on the sunbed then sipping wine listening to the guitarist with the amazing view.

The Malpas is approximately £90 a night per room or can get package deals for approx £650 pp for a week, with flights and transfers.

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