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Pano Platres - Why is it down?
29 January 2017
Perhaps the most attractive mountain resort in Cyprus is Pano Platres village, with a wooded environment, approximately 10 minutes away from the Troodos square and 30 minutes from Limassol, with colonial houses and beautiful views, proximity to waterfalls, monasteries, walkways etc. With all these benefits, one wonders why it falls behind other less attractive mountain resorts in its business and residential activities and villages such as Kalopanayiotis, Omodos, Kakopetria have taken the lead. And this notwithstanding that P. Platres has many added facilities to offer, including a football ground, theme park, conference/exhibition hall, plenty of parking (on and off street) and other conveniences including hotels, apts for rent etc.
We suspect that the main reason for this state of affairs is the lack of locals. The original Platres village which is known as Kato Platres (approximately 5 kms west) but during the colonial era the then Government decided to boost this area by providing incentives, with sale of forest land, division of plots sold to civil servants etc and established Pano Platres as the “in” place at the time. The lack of local residents however restricts the village from expanding, whereas in the past years (1970’s-1980’s) the locals comprised mainly of the British forces staff and some local business people. The relocation of the local British force (radar) to the bases did a lot of damage as well as the weather conditions. In the past with the cool climate of Platres there was a keen demand to enjoy the cool summer weather. Now with the air condition, this is no longer a necessity for months. In addition the better access from the town (say on average 1 hour as opposed to the 2-3 hours in the past mainly by bus) made short trips more attractive. The imaginative measure of “social holidays” (subsidized holidays by the Government) and which referred only to the mountain resorts, having been extended to all including the seaside areas/hotels and as such the mountain resorts could not compete.
The village appears to be managed well by the local council, it is well looked after, clean public services on spot, whereas there are local promotional events be it not evident in the winter, but there are mainly in the summer.
We have a soft spot for this village that we often refer to it. What are we going to do in order to help out, by others offering other ideas and suggestions which are feasible and manageable? A couple of months ago we have submitted a proposal for seaside hotels who they require relaxation for expansion in the seaside areas (most of them do) to have to take over either under management (or otherwise) the mountain resort hotels, restaurants/places of entertainment and including subsidized excursions from the seaside areas to these destinations. To all those, the lack of snow and the changing weather has not helped – long were the delays that the hotels were fully booked for 2 months time due to ski-snow conditions. This no longer happens, but as an example of the recent snow fall this has caused a full occupancy for the last 10 days.
We are informed that the local Platres council is to construct a 500 car underground parking at a cost of €10 mil. out of which €9½ mil. will be provided by the Government/E.U. We wonder if this will help out the village and we ask if this amount could not be used for the local hotels upgrading and completion of the local sewage installation-pending for the last 10 years (notwithstanding that locals pay for this service without having it). The new Limassol road when constructed will help the village, but this is a long term with no immediate results.
Regrettably the old King Farouk (of Egypt) days are long gone by the more recent years and for those who remember, back in the 1970’s-1980’s, they might recall Phidis bar, Pavlos & Chloe’s hot curry, the Grand Hotel’s indoor ballroom – turned into Badmington court, the Kilada sougla restaurant, the local tennis court etc. All these are not there, be it that some new establishments have taken place. The only one remaining from the old times is Psilodendro (a trout farm), most popular even nowadays.
The Israeli tourist era of the 1970’s (Hava Nagila) with endless parties mainly with young Israeli people is worth remembering as well.
An attempt has been made a few years ago by Platres business lovers (Nicosia based) to establish part of their houses as a business. Regrettably and despite their love for the village, it became not feasible and they have abandoned the place after 3-4 years of operation. Had they succeeded and others followed, Platres could have become an elite business/residential area (be it for some persons only).
We will still keep trying to come of with something helpful and we invite our readers to come up with views/ideas that can be implemented (financially and otherwise).
Having said this and not forgetting the nature of our column (real estate) Pano Platres has a good local property market demand and it is a village with a distinct property values: the upper road (the most expensive), the middle road (expensive) and the lower road, the cheaper of the three. The upper plots have a sales price (if there are mind you) of approximately €200.000 (±600 sq.mts.) and there are only few (1-2) houses for sale at a price of ±€600.000, whereas the beautiful local colonial houses with the red bricks etc are none available in the market. Lower priced development land is to be found approximately 1½ -2 km south of the village (Makedonas area) but it is not the same.
Platres is an expensive place in terms of real estate, but for those who manage to acquire a property, it is the Cyprus Heaven.