Aphrodite Hills is £150 million golf, leisure, tourist and real estate development near Pafos in south west Cyprus. The nearest village is home to the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, a pilgrimage centre of the ancient Greek world which dates back to the twelfth century BC. Accessible from the newly opened main coastal highway linking Lemesos (Limassol) and Pafos, Aphrodite Hills is 15 minutes by road from Pafos Airport. The estate occupies 234 hectares (578 acres) surrounded by protected forest land. The development will be low density with only 8 per cent of the site occupied by buildings.
The plans for the new development, the first of its type in Cyprus, have been announced in London by Lanitis Development Limited of Lemesos, part of the Lanitis Group, one of the largest business organisations in Cyprus. All the necessary finance for the project is in place. A private placement of shares, combined with the value of land and cash contributed by the founding shareholders, has created £40 million of equity in an over-subscription of shares. A £35 million syndicated loan by seven banks headed by Depfa, a German bank specialising in land development, has also been secured. Funding of the remainder of the development will be by operating flows; as one phase of the real estate is built and sold it will provide finance for the next one.
The golf course has been designed by Cabell Robinson and will open in September 2001. It occupies two plateaux overlooking the Mediterranean. In 1970 Cabell Robinson moved to Spain to open the European office of Robert Trent Jones. He directed the design and construction of Robert Trent Jones golf courses across Europe before setting up his own design practice in 1987. His work includes La Cala at Mijas in Spain and Praia d’el Rey, north of Lisbon.
Commenting on his design Cabell Robinson said, “The overall experience of playing golf at Aphrodite Hills will be to enjoy the game in a very natural setting, a playing field which has not been designed to dominate the natural environment but to harmonise with it.”
Currently Cyprus has two 18 hole golf courses, both of them near Pafos. These are the Secret Valley golf course, which is adjacent to Aphrodite Hills, and Tsada Golf Club. Plans are in hand to develop five more courses on the island in the next five years. The Cyprus Tourism Organisation is encouraging the development of golf. The aim is to improve tourism in the ‘shoulder’ periods of early spring and late autumn while also promoting the game within Cyprus itself.
The golf club will be operated by Carnegie, a wholly owned subsidiary of Murray International Holdings, one of Scotland’s largest privately owned companies. Tom Younger, Keith Haslam and Scott Thorburn have all recently joined the company from the management team at Gleneagles Golf Developments. They have extensive experience of management and consultancy services within the golf and leisure industry.
The resort includes a five star Inter-Continental Resort hotel to open in April 2003. This is a joint venture between Bass Hotels & Resorts and Lanitis Development which will have 290 bedrooms and suites and extensive conferencing and business facilities. It is Europe’s first Inter-Continental Resort.
The project will also include a tourist village with retail and restaurant facilities and approximately 1,000 units of real estate to be sold as plots, luxury villas, town houses and apartments. The developers believe that these new homes, at prices more favourable than those in many second home locations in the Mediterranean, will attract British buyers to Aphrodite Hills. A public exhibition featuring the real estate for sale will be held at the Mayfair Inter-Continental, London during the weekend 30th September and 1st October.