The Elea Estate in Paphos is rising above the property gloom in Cyprus to the dizzying heights of global golfing domination. Annabelle Dawson went to see if it lives up to the hype.
A few years ago home-hunters would not have touched property in Cyprus even if Aphrodite herself had risen from her Cypriot rock. Now, with the Title Deed fiasco under control and new laws which protect buyers from shady developers, buyers can relax a little.
This is good news for the Elea Estate in Paphos, a luxury golfing and residential development which will help Cyprus on its quest to become a premier golfing destination (it plans to increase the 3 courses it has to fourteen). Boasting a par 71, 18-hole Nick Faldo designed golf course, it has already been touted as 'one of the World's most exciting new courses' by UK title, Golf World and has been likened to Wentworth and Sunningdale, though ‘one year old Elea can only aspire to match the heritage of these clubs’ admits golf director Ross Robertson with modest pride.
Golf in the sunshine is thirsty work
300 luxury residences with views over the Mediterranean and course are yet to be built but the golf course opened in October 2010 and has already attracted a hundred and fifty members. As we sip ice cold drinks on the wide terraces of the clubhouse, it’s midday and pushing 38˚C but several golfers can be seen stoically putt-ing away through olive and carob trees on the four mile course which takes an average 4.5 hours to complete. “Elea’s course stands out,” Robertson says, “Faldo is more interested about strategy than length. Also, he wanted it to be fun - our aim was to appeal to children too.
But how canny is it to make an island with permanent drought a mecca for golfers? Those at Elea aren’t fazed – they use two reservoirs to water the course and every drop draining off into the lakes is fed back in. Also, the carpet of green is Paspalum grass, an American plant commonly found on coastlines which retains water and can absorb seawater should the reservoir dry out.
Buy property in Cyprus
But back to property, and here lies the rub – with only 56 of the proposed 300 residences plus a boutique hotel to be finished in eighteen months time, this is definitely a long term investment. The full project has been pitched at taking ten years, and by then will include a ‘village’ with shops and restaurants creating a community feel. Already the estate exudes Cypriot charm - friendly valets greet you at the Clubhouse and cater to your every need, and we hear the theme nights at the clubhouse are very popular with the members.
Chairman Xenon Eliades wanted the 2-5 bedroom residences to “be of quality not fashion with a strong Cypriot feel” and they come with infinity pools, shaded terraces for eating alfresco and authentic details such as wood framed windows and vaulted ceilings in the bedrooms. Also, only 20% of the land will be built on, giving each dwelling a feeling of privacy and space.
Something for everyone
For those not keen on wielding a club, a spa is soon to open in the clubhouse and plans are afoot for a water park. Outside the estate, hire a boat– or take your own, a marina at Paphos is in the pipeline and glamorous Limassol Marina is nearby - and explore Cyprus’ coastline; Aphrodite’s rock and the Blue Lagoon are as magical as they sound and the warm waters are a sanctuary for turtles. Head inland up into the mountains where monasteries used as Christian refuges bare the marks of Arab raids. Or sample award winning wines at the highest vineyards in Europe where the world’s first wine was made from the local Xynesteri grape.
Oh, and the food is sublime. Cyprus is a melting (cooking) pot of Turkish, Greek and Lebanese cuisines. But “produce in Cyprus is not championed enough” says head chef John Kouphou who has given up cooking for the likes Robert De Niro, Charlize Theron and Kylie Minogue to run Elea’s clubhouse restaurant, using the vast swathes of rosemary, thyme and lavender whose heady aromas permeate the golf course. Ultimately he wants to grow all his fruit and vegetables on the estate.
If you can bear the wait, this development should be fantastic and with phase one to be completed in just over a year, there’s still plenty of time to improve your handicap.
Phase one goes on sale September 2011. Prices start at £614,000 for a two bedroom garden villa and rise to £2.5 million for a 5 bedroom detached villa with guesthouse.
For those not keen on wielding a club, a spa is soon to open in the clubhouse and plans are afoot for a water park.