Visiting Cyprus Thanks to Alitalia

A couple of weeks ago I visited Cyprus for the first time, taking advantage of the Alitalia mistake fare from a year or so back (CAD $39 + tax, Toronto to Cyprus via Milan and/or Rome with stopovers permitted in both directions).

This was perhaps the best mistake fare ever. Oh, sure, British Airways once published North American to pretty much anywhere in Europe in World Traveller Plus for $20 + tax. But this was a business class fare, earning business class miles, and turned out to be changeable without a refare (once-only, via a special Alitalia representative in New York).

However, it was an Alitalia fare and they’re not the easiest carrier in the world to deal with. I suffered several delays (3.5 hours on my return flight due to an aircraft change and an inability to effectively reissue boarding passes — actual boarding of the plane took a full hour and a half, with no information shared with passengers or apology). The flights to Cyprus were codeshares on Cyprus Airways (a wonderful little short-haul airline), but Alitalia had a hard time keeping up with Cyprus Airways’ schedule changes.

Still, even though Alitalia doesn’t warm their nuts in business class (and on my return, no nuts at all, or even Canadian customs declaration forms)… And even though the Boticelli lounge in Milan in the single worst lounge I’ve ever seen (sure there are showers, but the drain was clogged and no hot water, on my return I used the British Airways lounge which is permitted as a Gold member even when not flying BA)… This was an outstanding trip.

And while I picked up a slight bug in Rome, and of course that city was overrun with tourists, it was a great trip. Lake Como was lovely as ever, and Cyprus was just a gem. I stayed at the Le Meridien in Limassol, and that property is certainly one of the real undiscovered treasures of the Starwood system.

View from the balcony


Platinum recognition was excellent. They pre-blocked me into a suite with a lovely ocean view and offered the usual platinum amenity card. Breakfast was included in our award stay (and everyone’s stays, apparently, there was no system to charge anyone, though I understand this wasn’t the case last summer — either this is a change in policy or how they handle things in the off-season, the latter being my best guess without asking the hotel).

Bed in the suite.


Living room of the suite.


When we walked into our room there was a bottle of wine, some fruit, and a plate of snacks. That’s in addition to the 500 point platinum amenity, just a little checkin gift from the hotel. And there was a giant bowl of individually-wrapped dark chocolates. Dangerous and delicious!

Snacks awaiting us in the room.


More photos after the jump…

Coffee served in the bar’s outside lounge.


And espresso.


One of the two outdoor pools (there’s an indoor one as well).


Another balcony view.


View of the beach.


Cyprus Airways lounge in Larnaca.


The lounge’s bar area.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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