A €30 million redevelopment plan is in place to breathe life into the Berengeria Hotel in Prodromos, almost 30 years after it closed down.
The plan is merely waiting on a building permit from the government, and includes a casino, modern restaurant and large swimming pool, all of which are part of new owner Michalis Ioannides’ grand vision.
“My first wish is to reinvigorate the Marathassa area with its 14 communities which has suffered as a consequence of the Berengeria closing-down in 1984,” Ioannides told the Cyprus Mail. “Tourism in Cyprus began when the hotel was built back in 1931 when it drew society’s elite and honeymooners with its serene environment and clean-air,” he added.The plans to redevelop the Berengeria Hotel also include plans to turn Zena Gunther’s palatial home, also owned by Ioannides and also in Prodromos, into a beauty and rehab centre and spa.“Those looking to get away, to spend some time in the wilderness, far from the noise of life will find an ideal place to rest and recover,” Ioannides explained. “Plastic surgery services will also be available,” he said.
All these works hold the potential to employ roughly 500 people from the area, according to Ioannides. “Along with the many people who will be employed for the refurbishment and redevelopment, once the buildings have been fully restored and redeveloped and ready, some 200 positions will be available for those looking to be employed at the hotels,” he said.“It won’t only be my two establishments that will benefit, as they will not be able to accommodate all the visitors to the area,” he continued. “Other hotels will profit from the re-emergence of the Berengaria, with restaurants and supermarkets bound to receive more business,” he added.
Ioannides said he is expecting to be given building permission by the end of the month, when works will begin and hopes work will be completed on the two projects by the end of the year.
The Berengeria will retain its original shape but the plans are to modernise all of its facilities and expand on the 88 rooms it had when it closed in 1984 to 172. The hotel will have its own spa, which will be situated under the new large swimming pool.
Ioannides has a history with the hotel and was a former employee, forming a strong emotional bond with the building, leading him to buy it in 2007.
It has attracted many renowned personalities, and is the reason the hotel is also known as “the hotel of kings”. This was because it was visited in 1931, the year of its establishment, by Pharouk King of Egypt and Ezer Vaisman, the president of Israel. The hotel’s name Berengeria was the name of the queen of Navarre, wife of Richard the Lionheart. The royal couple were married in Cyprus and they allegedly spent their honeymoon camping in Prodromos.The hotel also had the honour of opening the first nightclub on the island, called ‘The Knights Club’.