Liz and her husband have stayed in many hotels. They aim to help other travelers make informed choices by sharing their experiences.
Why We Chose Long Beach Resort
With the UK's departure from the European Union imminent and wary of the disruption it might cause to travel between the UK and the EU, we decided to search further afield for a break in the fall. We had visited Cyprus previously and the warm climate appealed to us. Apart from a day trip to the north, we had stayed in the south, within the EU. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is outside the EU. We could even choose to fly via Istanbul, Turkey, avoiding the EU altogether.
General location sorted, but where would we stay in North Cyprus? After many hours of online research, my husband found Long Beach Resort Hotel, just over 10.5 miles north of Famagusta on the east coast. The reviews were very good, the beachside location looked great and we found a very reasonable package deal with Cyprus Paradise. The deal was so cheap, it was almost too good to be true. Taking advantage of a free upgrade to half-board, we followed the advice of other visitors and paid a little more for a beachside mini villa.
As the date of departure approached, we wondered how this extremely reasonably priced trip would work out. I even joked with friends about arriving to find a shack on a beach. Far from it. Read on to find out why we call Long Beach Resort a "hidden gem".
The transfer process was very smooth from the airport if a little quirky. Arriving late at night, we were directed towards a man with a laptop, outside Ercan airport. After checking our details and scanning our passports he showed us to a large and very comfortable Mercedes taxi. Water bottles had been left for us in the holders and we were whisked to our final destination.
The only hiccup was the annoyance of the taxi driver when he realized that we had no small change for a tip. The following day a Cyprus Paradise rep told us that there was no need to tip.
We were greeted by the 24-hour staff on reception, offered wrapped sandwiches, and quickly checked in. Our suitcases were taken and we were led along paths, past villas until we arrived at the white wooden door of our mini villa. We appreciated the lantern light near the door as our guide found the hole for the key.
At gone midnight, after a long day, I remember being struck by the size of the lounge area, but little else, as we ate the sandwiches before hitting the pillow.
A New Day Dawns
Long Beach Resort offers a choice of mini villas/bungalows. Taking online advice from previous guests, we pushed the boat out and went for a beachside mini villa with a large separate lounge. There were also smaller bungalows with no lounge and cheaper locations with a pool or garden view. We were not disappointed with our selection.
Beach Front Mini Villa
The single-storey mini villas had a pleasant, traditional feel to them, with their whitewashed outer walls and the blue edging around the windows and doors. The added touches of the curved arch over the front entrance and the shape of the patio door were pleasing to the eye, as were the terracotta tiles on the sloping roofs.
The wooden blue rail near the front entrance was a nice touch. The white dividing walls at the front and rear of the property gave a secluded feel and added to the privacy.
The design of the villas meant that the water tank and solar panels that we assumed were on the roof, were not visible from the beachside.
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The front door opened into a hallway, with a door on the right into the shower room. Further along on the left, there was a door into a bedroom. Straight ahead an archway led into a large lounge. An interconnecting door potentially linked this villa with the adjoining one next door, useful for a family group. The patio door opened onto a terrace. A pathway and low wall separated this from the beach and sea beyond.
The mini villa was painted magnolia throughout, with white wooden doors and frames. The decoration was minimal with one moderate-sized modern art print in a rectangular gold effect frame near the uplighter in the lounge and two woodland prints in black frames in the bedroom.
Floors were fully tiled in beige, laid out in a square or diamond pattern.
Cream textured curtains hung from dark wood poles in the lounge and the bedroom.
There were modern air conditioning units in the lounge and bedroom. Each had a remote control. The villa remained cool, despite the heat outside, but we used the heating option on a cooler evening in November.
Plug sockets were three-pin, so British guests had no need for adapters. We noticed that plastic adapters were in use for some two-pin appliances, such as the kettle.
This was the biggest room in the villa. Full-width glass at the end ensured that the sea view was maximized. The patio doors were bordered either side by full-length windows and finished off with an arched window above. The white fretwork, giving the impression of individual panes was a nice touch.
A large dark wood unit stood in the corner. It contained a big cupboard and three deep drawers.
Along the opposite wall was a dark brown vinyl sofa, with two matching leather armchairs and a medium wood rectangular coffee table. A further small square dark wood coffee table was in the corner by the uplighter.
In the corner near the archway, there was a dark wood square table with a cream top and two green plastic chairs. On top were two glasses, coasters, and two wine glasses.
Around the corner to the right, there was an under-counter fridge. This was the minibar, fully loaded with drinks and a price list.
On top, there was a kettle, two cups, saucers and teaspoons, sachets of coffee, and whitener.
There was a generously sized flatscreen TV on top of the large unit in the corner.
There was a modern uplighter in the corner by the window, as well as a central light.
There was a useful pale wood folding suitcase holder.
A telephone was next to the TV.
We had never come across a note before like the one we found in the lounge, banning us from bringing any food and drink into the hotel from elsewhere. With cereal bars and snacks stashed in our cases as well as peppermint teabags, it felt like we had already overstepped the mark. Not to mention our usual habit of buying drinks and food from local supermarkets to consume in our room.
At breakfast the following morning we asked a Cyprus Paradise rep about the note. She said that such notices were common practice in hotels in North Cyprus, but she thought a few bottles of water would be fine.
I kept snacks out of sight in a cupboard and tried to be discreet when walking back from the supermarket, which was 800 meters north of the hotel, on the other side of the road, and reached via an underpass. This was no mean feat when the route back from shopping took us past the main terrace and reception area. But we never had a problem.
This appeared small, compared to the lounge, but it was adequate as a bedroom. The highlight was its twin aspect. One window overlooked the garden area at the front, with palm trees, rubber plants, bushes, and paths towards the pool area and another looked out towards a palm tree, patio, wall, beach, and sea at the rear. Both windows were at waist height and slid across to open halfway.
The double bed on a beige base had a wooden headboard in two shades attached to the wall. The medium brown bedside tables each had a single shallow drawer and a shelf on the bottom, with crossed beams at the side.
There was a dressing table to match with two shallow drawers near the front window. An upright wooden chair with a dark brown padded seat and back stood nearby. There was a tall rectangular mirror in a dark brown frame to the side, partially obscured by the dressing table. (I said the room was small.)
Opposite the bed, there was a tall wardrobe inset in the wall. As well as the two large dark brown doors, there were two further ones above up to ceiling height. A hanging rail ran the full width with 5 hangers on it. Not the most generous provision, but more were supplied quickly upon request. There was a shelf above with spare bedding. The top cupboard opened to reveal a loft hatch in the ceiling.
The bed had white sheets and a green and beige checked throw. There were two white pillows, with an extra one in the wardrobe. We requested another, which appeared very quickly. There was also another sheet and a red patterned blanket in the wardrobe.
There were lamps on either side of the bed with curved black stands and yellow shades. In addition, there was a central ceiling light with a cream shade.
Although there was a label on the dressing table for a hairdryer, the drawer was empty. We were offered a hairdryer at reception.