It’s one AM at the City of Dreams Mediterranean and I’m laying belly down on my bed in one of the oversized grand rooms, with a walk-in wardrobe, bath and shower. I’m feeling a bit peckish, thinking about leftovers from the gluten-free margarita pizza I had at lunch, sitting in my fridge.
“Unfortunately, Miss Fawehinmi, no microwaves are available, but we do have a hot box you could heat up your food in,” says the bemused woman at the reception. “Would you like me to arrange for one to be brought up to your room?”
Within five minutes, a man from the in-room dining team knocks on my door to wheel in a black mini oven. It’s huge, has three stainless steel racks and is already pre-heated. He plugs it in and explains how it works, before leaving me to get acquainted.
No matter how big small or big the request might be, Europe’s first integrated resort and largest casino is on a mission to make every dream come true.
Spread across a former orange grove in Limassol on the southern coast of Cyprus, the €600 million, 500-room resort opened in summer. But in a country where temperatures can still reach 23C in November, it’s set to be a winter sun favourite – especially as a new British Airways flight from Heathrow to Larnaca – a 45-minute drive from the resort – makes it even more accessible.
According to British Airways Holidays, who are selling packages to the City of Dreams, searches for Larnaca, Cyprus have risen by 165%.
The attention to detail verges on obsessive. At the reception, I’m surprised to see a man on all fours trimming the carpet with scissors. But it’s a clue to how this Dubai-style resort operates and hints at the level of high service guests can expect. Developers Melco have two other resort venues in Macau, Greater China, and Manila in the Philippines.
The 14-storey pyramid-shaped exterior was designed by LTW, which focused on the public areas and guest rooms. Westar took ownership of the gaming areas, including two casinos, with thousands of slot machines, attracting locals every single night.
Elsewhere around the resort, there is a slightly hidden outdoor amphitheatre, a well-designed family adventure park — with mini golf, a zip line, trampoline, an obstacle course where I’m disgraced by an eight-year-old who completes it in half the time, and a Kid’s City, where parents can drop their children for a few hours.
There are four distinctly different outdoor and indoor pools, including a wave rider, sports facilities and the serene Renu Spa and Fitness, where I have the most relaxing full-body massage.
A variety of luxury retail outlets are also available for people to visit and there are eight newly established fine-dining restaurants and bars. Oléa, named after the 100-year-old olive trees the resort is built around is a fantastic tribute to Mediterranean cuisine.
Meanwhile, Aurora takes you on a long culinary journey of local and international cuisines from Europe to the Middle East. It’s an entire experience with an open kitchen and interactive cooking stations, where my gluten-free margarita pizza was made.
Beyond the resort, I’m eager to explore the local area. Once small, Limassol swelled in size following a tourist boom in the mid-1970s. But compared to places like Paphos – which I’ve visited many times before – this cosmopolitan city by the sea never feels overwhelmed by tourists.
Downtown, a traditional character has been preserved, despite the fact that a lot of buildings have been renovated. And the number of cats makes it a cat lover’s heaven.
If you are looking for a destination where you can escape the crowded beaches but still find searing temperatures during the winter months, Limassol is certainly one to put on your list.
How to plan your trip
British Airways Holidays (britishairways.com) offer five nights B&B at City of Dreams Mediterranean Cyprus Limassol from £516pp, including flights, travelling in November 2023.
Guided tours can be arranged by the Limassol Tourism Board. For more information, see limassoltourism.com/en/.