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Lodging

Mykonos & DelosLodging

There are a gazillion hotels on Mykonos…

And, I think I’ve seen them all. I did this just for you, believe me: I never want to see some of those places again. That said, there are some exquisite hotels on the island, a great many, but I’ve narrowed down my list to upscale places where I’d want to spend a week myself, places where the service is impeccable.

Do not, God forbid, just show up on this particular island without reservations, and make your high season reservations well in advance, through my travel agents. Let them know you’re coming through me, and tell them you want the best rooms and rates they can come up with. Since I’ve vetted each of the following hotels myself, my travel agents in tow, these hoteliers know you’re coming, and I want to know, immediately, if you’re not treated well.

Resort Lodging

Santa Marina Resort & Villas, A Luxury Collection Resort

Ornos Bay
84600 Mykonos
Tel: 22890; 23220
Fax: 22890 23412
info@santa-marina.gr;  www.santa-marina.gr

Back when I was writing for Penguin Travel Guides in the mid-1980s, I was invited to visit a very special “conclave” being built just beyond Ornos Bay, on the island’s then-undeveloped southeast coast. For that visit, I stayed in an actual, traditional Mykonian windmill which had morphed into a luxury villa—with my own pool, and every amenity imaginable in-house. The owners were just then realizing their dream of creating an all-inclusive, exclusive resort complex (a first, on Mykonos) and, since 1986, the Santa Marina has maintained its traditional Mykonian/Cycladic architecture while expanding its unique, luxury facilities to attract an elite clientele.

In the fall of 2011, I revisited the resort, and found it utterly transformed, though the windmill still stands and the architecture remains in complete harmony with the nearby Cycladic fishing village of Ornos. The Santa Marina today comprises eleven villas with private pools; 25 suites; and 60 primarily deluxe rooms in a gated community housing, as well, three fine on-site restaurants. Extensive winter renovations will add an additional five luxury suites, a new, state of the art lobby, and improvements to the bountiful breakfast buffet (which is already by far the best on the island: terrific, hot coffee, too!).

The Santa Marina, unlike other so-called “luxury” destinations on Mykonos, is walker-friendly: there are no steep hills, no impossible distances between, say, the Lotus Spa and a guest’s villa: and every visitor has a view of the azure Aegean. This year, I made use of the fully equipped gym on a daily basis, swam laps in the Olympic-sized saltwater pool, and snorkeled daily off the Santa Marina’s 150m private beach, which is the envy of this side of the island, protected from the summer winds, with a fine sand beach and child-friendly, enclosed swimming area. (The resort also provides jet-ski and private boating expeditions to nearby islands from the beach.)

The three “in-house” restaurants—the Colonial Pool Restaurant and Bar; the Beach Restaurant “Bayview” (which features the catch of local fishermen); and the Mediterranean Club Restaurant & Bar (offering sushi and other seafood specialties)—mean that you really do not have to leave the resort unless you want to.

Other unique amenities include: a floodlit, enclosed tennis court, complete with tennis coach; exclusive boutiques; a Kids’ Club; a Hair Salon; Jet and Helicopter services, plus a helipad; a fully equipped business center, with (mirabile dictu) lightning-speed WiFi; and the aforementioned Lotus Spa, with its menu of pampering services and treatments.

What is most remarkable about the Santa Marina, however, is the staff. The staff to guest ratio is unmatched on Mykonos, and every need, requirement and whim is catered for by omnipresent but discreet multilingual personnel. Shuttle services enable guests to visit Hora, 3km distant, with its famous nightlife and shopping—but many prefer not to leave the confines of the resort. (Santa Marina visitors have included Harrison Ford, Oliver Stone, Melanie Griffith, Denzel Washington, Roman Polanski and “Ronaldo,” though, due to the design of the resort, guests are able to maintain total anonymity and seclusion if they so desire.)

When you e-mail or fax to book, remember that fall is an exquisite time on Mykonos: September is my favorite month to visit, and I am always resident in Ornos during that period. Let the Santa Marina’s management know that you are coming through GreeceTraveler.com . . . and tell Christiana Papageorgiou that Elizabeth sent you.

Lodging

 The Anemos Apartments, Ornos

Anemos Apartments ("Three-Key" Rating*)

Ornos Beach, Mykonos

A local "Orniotis" husband and wife, Popy and John Theocharis, along with their daughters, Irini and Maria, own and manage this 33-apartment complex, located on the main road to Ornos Beach, but shielded by palms and oleander from the passing parade. (In the event Popy has no vacancies, her sister-in-law, Eleftheria, will have rooms next door at the Cyclades Apartments (also "Three-Key" rated apartments). The Anemos is spotless, beautifully landscaped, and constantly under renovation. All apartments are self-catering, with kitchenettes, hot-plates and mini-fridges. All rooms have TV, AC and balcony space. There's a large pool and pool area, as well as a breakfast/snack bar, free WiFi--AND the family is in residence on the site. Open April through October, this complex is a stone's throw from Ornos Beach, and about 2.5km from the main town, Hora (www.anemos-apartments.com; anemosapartments@yahoo.gr). *Apartments on Mykonos are rated with "keys," the maximum being five. Hotels are rated with "stars.")

Dionysos Hotel

Ornos Beach, Mykonos

Adjacent the apartment complex where Dean and I stay every autumn, a half-block from Ornos Beach, is the up-scale Dionysos Hotel, owned by members of the extended Theocharis family of Ornos, Mr. and Mrs. Ioannis and Angeliki Theocharis. The hotel comprises 49 suites and superior rooms circling a pool and elegant patio. All the perks are provided: AC, flat-screen-TV’s, beautiful baths and showers, pan-hotel-WiFi, a bar, pool bar, and breakfast buffet, travel services, an in-house gym, etc. Service is personalized and friendly, and you’re right on my favorite beach . . . from which you need not budge, if you don’t want to: the hamlet of Ornos now has supermarkets, fine restaurants, bars, a patisserie concocting homemade ice-cream, etc., etc., and daily caique service, in season, to Mykonos’s more famous beaches (Tel: 22890 23313; Fax: 22890 23402; info@dionysoshotel.gr; www.dionysoshotel.gr). When and if you e-mail, tell Angeliki I sent you, or book through my travel agents.

Harmony Boutique Hotel

Harmony Boutique Hotel (A Class)

On the harbor road, Hora (www.harmonyhotel.gr)

New in 2004, this deluxe hotel is truly “boutique,” authentically Cycladic in its whitewashed design, and quiet, despite its right-in-town location. We stayed here in 2005, and thoroughly enjoyed the service, which is warm, personal, and authentic. The Harmony also rivals the Cavo Tagoo for “best breakfast on the island.” There are only 22 rooms at present, 6 of these suites complete with Jacuzzis. The rooms aren’t enormous, but contain every amenity, and are divided up into Garden View, Sea View and Junior Suites. There’s a small, small pool and bar, an in-house restaurant, and on-site parking, which is a blessing. But it’s the service that sets the Harmony apart: it’s truly inspired, and it makes a stay on this sometimes-hectic island very pleasant indeed. Tell Elli we said hello: the rates are reasonable, so spring for a higher quality room.

Hotel Cavo Tagoo

Hotel Cavo Tagoo (A Class)

Near Tourlos, Mykonos

Easy walking distance from Hora in the off-season (high-season traffic on the San Stephanos road is pretty hair-raising), the Cavo Tagoo is owned and was designed by Paris Liakos. Built between 1985 and 1995, and renovated in 2006/7, on the site of an abandoned rock quarry, the little complex of 72 rooms hovers Cycladically above a charming saltwater-pool terrace. There are 13 split-level suites, 20 suites with private pools; a fine, gourmet, in-house restaurant, Mediterraneo; a popular pool bar; and rooms feature cable TV, mini-bars and safes—oh, and one of the best buffet-style breakfasts in Greece, with everything from apple tarte to quiche! What really sets the hotel apart, though, is the architecture and the 5-Star service. Tell Elli Giannouli, the Reservations Manager, that Elizabeth sent you: this is where Dean and I would stay, if we could stay anywhere we wished on the island.

Koukas Family Hotel Eva

Hotel Eva (Four Stars)

Above Ornos Beach

The Eva—named for the owner’s wife, and totally family-run by Yiorgos, Eva, Stavroula and Yannis—is a small, quiet, safe little sanctuary perched on a hill overlooking Ornos Beach and Bay. This isn’t a deluxe establishment in terms of “infrastructure,” but it has a lovely, large pool, impeccable service, free internet access, and a lovingly served, delicious breakfast. It’s been Dean’s and my base of operations since the fall of 2007, and we’ve ended up feeling like treasured members of the Koukas family. (There are 27 rooms: ask for those atop the main building, which have sea views and large balconies—and be sure to book through my travel agents in Athens or use my name when making reservations: we’ll be in residence here from early September till October almost every year, God willing.)

Hotel Belvedere

Hotel Mykonos Belvedere (A Class)

School of Fine Arts District, Hora

This is one of two hotels in Hora proper (the Semeli is the other) that I recommend highly to young, well-heeled, first-time visitors. It’s a stunning, boutique hotel and, well, the website (www.belvederehotel.com) says it all. There are a limited number of standard, superior and deluxe rooms, plus junior, family and senior suites. All the rooms and suites are just incredibly beautiful. The hotel facilities include: a swimming pool, fitness studio, Jacuzzi baths, a steam room, 2 fine in-house restaurants and 2 bars, plus modem hook-ups in the rooms. The advertising “hook” at the Belvedere is a quote from Ezra Pound: “Do not move/Let the wind speak/that is paradise.” For once, those marketing guys got it just right.

Mykonos Theoxenia Deluxe Boutique

Mykonos Theoxenia Deluxe Boutique (A Class)

Kato Mili (near the windmills), Hora

Completely renovated in 2004, this 1960 marvel of design was the first place my family stayed on Mykonos back when I was ten. But, boy, has it grown up! Sprawling over about an acre of prime, Hora real estate, right on the sea above the famous windmills, the Theoxenia comprises 52 rooms (deluxe, deluxe sea front and junior- and one-bedroom suites). “The Plate” restaurant, “Breeze In” cocktail bar, and “Breeze Out” pool bar—and what a pool!—round out the offerings. Oh, there’s also a health club and, really, every amenity imaginable in the rooms. It’s all very 60s—as we wish the 60s had been.

Mykonos Grace Hotel

MykonosGrace Hotel (Four-plus-Stars)

North of Hora, above San Stefanos Beach

Completely “re-imagined” in 2007, this luxury boutique hotel comprises 32 suites and superior rooms. It’s pricey, but you will lack for nothing, from the American Champagne Breakfast, to the suites’ hot-tubs, the gym, the spa, on-site parking, wi-fi and laptops, a gourmet in-house restaurant. . .need I go on? By the way, they call the bar/restaurant “State of Grace,” which is the condition in which you will leave this place. It’s one of the best Mykonos has to offer (and there’s a sister hotel in Oia, on Santorini, called Ikies, where Dean and I spent three glorious days in the fall of 2008).

Petasos Beach Resort & Spa

Petasos Beach Resort & Spa (A Class)

Platy Yialos Beach, Mykonos

The Petasos is located some 2–3 miles from Hora, with views down to both Platy Yialos and Psarrou beaches, and it’s where I would stay were I more interested in beaches (and solitude) than the nightlife of Hora. Reasonably priced—for the resort it is—there are suites with private pools for higher rollers; a fabulous spa center; on-site restaurants, pools, bar, gym, etc. And the management of the hotel is friendly and impeccable: it’s a big place that feels intimately Mykonian (www.petasos.gr <http://www.petasos.gr>), and the location is superb.

Princess Of Mykonos

Princess of Mykonos (A Class)

San Stephanos Beach Area, Mykonos

This small hotel, located just above San Stephanos Beach, some 2-3 miles from the harbor, is one of three hotels owned and run by old friends of mine on Mykonos. Owner Theodore “Ted” Rousounelos runs a tight ship, and the service and quality here are always consistent. Amenities here include: a swimming pool overlooking San Stephanos Bay and the port; AC, mini-bars and safe boxes in rooms; an in-house Italian restaurant and poolside bar; and a gym and sauna. Ask my travel agents to reserve a studio or suite for you here, and make sure you meet Ted over breakfast on the terrace.

Studios Agia Anna/Paranga

Studios Agia Anna/Paranga

Directly on Agia Anna Beach (near Paranga)

Lining a flower-filled stone courtyard 20ft from the tiny beach at Agia Anna, are 15 self-catering and/or mini-fridge-equipped small studios, owned and managed by Marsoula and Yiorgos Daktilidis. The little complex is renovated and improved annually, spotlessly clean, and booked well in advance by regular, returning guests. Contact Marsoula directly on her cell phone (30+6944268372), and be sure to tell her Elisavet of GreeceTraveler sent you. The rates are very reasonable; the rooms feature TV and AC--but the biggest perk is sister (and brother-in-law's) Nicolas Taverna, located next door. (PS You'll need to arrange a rental car through my travel agents during your stay here: Agia Anna is located 5km from Mykonos's main town, Hora. Have your car waiting for you at the airport.)

Semeli Hotel Mykonos

Semeli Hotel Mykonos (A Class)

Fine Arts School District, Hora

The Semeli (www.semelihotel.gr) is my other recommended (for the young and the honeymooning) deluxe boutique hotel in Hora, and this place really has the feel of a private, neoclassical Mykonian residence. It’s a little less luxurious than the Belvedere, but quieter and a bit less outré. This would be my choice of all the hotels in Hora for price and location. The amenities are attractive: there are only 42 rooms; 3 suites. There are a fitness center, swimming pool, Jacuzzis, an in-house restaurant and bar, and an on-site garage. Rooms feature color satellite TV, and mini-bars. And, like the Belvedere, you’re already in town, so there’s no getting home by car, late, from the clubs.

PS For family retreats, artists seeking a completely-off-the-maps Mykonos hideaway, and other reclusive types, we found a little goldmine a few years back. Way, way out above unspoiled Lia Beach (where there’s some of the best swimming, and dining, on Mykonos), is a vacation rental property called the Villa Loulaki. There are 4 fully equipped, en-suite, air-conditioned bedrooms here, a kitchen. . .and lots of privacy. Owned by a Greek architect and his artist/wife, and let out to friends and other known entities, the Villa Loulaki is a find for some of us (Tel/Fax 210 8082997; 22890 72230; e-mail: carpedm@otenet.gr; Cell 6972271775). Please let the owners know you came through my website. Also, at Elia, Christos, of Christos Coiffures (contact his manager at elenitzineta@yahoo.com for info and bookings), has some exclusive apartments on the beach.

Further note on lodging: Two hotels just above Hora that are gay-friendly are the Elysium and the Geranium. Two family-run hotels—and they’re run by an extended family I love, the Kousathanas brothers, Nikolaos and Stathis, and their wives and children—are located on and just above Megali Ammos Beach, easy walking distance from Hora. They are: The Myconos Beach Hotel and the The Myconos Bay Hotel. Much more reasonably-priced than the aforementioned A and Luxury class hotels, their rooms are smaller and humbler, but Stathis and Liz, their daughter Marika, and Nikolaos are all wonderful hosts. It all depends on what sort of Mykonian experience you’re seeking. Another modest, friendly family-run hotel is the Hotel Carbonaki, located slap-dab in the middle of Hora, but up a quiet side street. There are only 20 rooms, and the pool’s really only big enough for a toe-splash, but it’s a bargain. As is the Terra Maria, with 14 rooms surrounding a lush Hora garden. Both these latter hotels are for those seeking bargains, and for those who may remember and miss the Mykonos of far earlier decades.

Ted Rousounelos Hotel Princess Of Mykonos


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