Somewhere in the middle of the forest, among the pastoral landscapes of the mountains of Cyprus covered with citrus trees and figs that grow alongside the mineral springs, lies a mysterious little place called the Secret Fotest. If you've dreamed of taking a break from daily stress, resting, letting go, lowering negative energy and restarting your brain - you've come to the ideal place for it. This is a different kind of recreation - inner renewal in nature.
Somewhere in the middle of the forest, photo: Nir Davidson
Yoni Kahane, the owner, who also owns several kosher hotels on the island, emphasizes: "This is not a hotel or a resort - it is a space for renewal of body and soul." According to him, the idea of opening such a vacation complex had been running around for a long time, but it took him a while to find the right place. Arriving at an ancient hotel near Miliou village, an hour's drive from Paphos town - fell in love from the first second.
Sunrise with meditation and bird singing
Cypriots discovered the medicinal properties of local springs centuries ago and used them to treat various health conditions. Around the unique springs lie traditional centuries-old stone houses, inside which you can find all modern comforts in a meticulous and thoughtful interior design, down to the smallest details. It's a place to get up in the morning with the birdsong, breathe clean, fresh air, look around with a cup of coffee in hand - and enjoy a breathtaking view of lush orchards that connect with a glowing sky.
To connect with a morning of nature and spirituality and unleash all the senses, you will be helped at the hotel with guided meditation in front of the sunrise. Later in the day you can choose a unique activity from a wide range: yoga classes at all levels, Pilates, aerobic dancing and sophisticated mountain bike riding trips, for those who like to combine sports and nature (use of bicycles is free for guests of the complex).
Guided meditation in front of the sunrise, photo: Nir Davidson
The main attraction of the complex is a huge and innovative spa, with three therapeutic pools of sulfur water coming from the natural springs. The professional staff will help tailor the treatments to each guest: personalized body treatments - or just take a dip in the relaxing water and relax in a sun bed with the spectacular view.
From massages to jeep tours
In addition, the team of facilitators and guides – most of whom are Israeli – organizes empowering dialogue circles, a healing workshop using sounds, and workshops and lectures in various fields to improve lifestyle, in order to return to living in harmony with nature. For those looking for a slightly more intense activity, jeep tours, guided walks in nature and more are offered. In the evenings there are intimate performances of quiet melodies and singers, as part of the DNA of the calmness of the place. If you're looking for a fairy-doo-doo in the pool, go elsewhere.
Farm to plate food
Another inseparable interest from the experience is the culinary experience, of course. The hotel offers Mediterranean (kosher) cuisine by the young and successful chef Dana Shapira, who is also known for her participation in the "Chef's Games" and "Come Eat With Me" programs. In accordance with the concept of the place, the meals served at the hotel are nutritious and healthy, with a special emphasis on freshness, from farm to plate: in a large greenhouse in the complex most of the vegetables you will find in the rich buffet. Also on the menu: fresh fish from the region, legumes, tahini bread, fresh hummus and various soups. The hotel also has a wine cellar with excellent local wines. The Friday night meal takes place in the basement, with Kiddush and conversations until the wee hours of the night, while sipping wine. The antique bar serves fresh fruit smoothies around the clock.
A rich buffet conducted by Chef Dana Shapira,
The last dinner at the hotel is a celebration of a Greek tavern, accompanied by musicians with traditional musical instruments, singers and dancers in folk costumes, and songs familiar to all Israelis. In the middle of the celebration, the chef removed from the kitchen the huge locus baked in a salt stone, opened the shell with a hammer, exposed the juicy fish and professionally divided it into plates. And the taste? Paradise.
Harmony with nature
Staying in the secret forest in Cyprus is a different kind of vacation, different from a typical belly or extreme vacation. The high demand among Israeli vacationers since the place opened indicates that there are quite a few who are looking for the perfect disengagement experience, even at a price starting from 380 euros per night (packages including flight - from 3,200 NIS for three nights) - higher than most "regular" hotels on the island. But for those who are looking for the calm and connection to nature - this is the perfect place.
The writer was a guest of the resort and spa complex "Secret Forest"
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