Our guide to the dreamiest new hotel openings in Greece, from neoclassical mansions in Syros and bohemian beauties in Kos, to sophisticated food in Mykonos and sunset villas in Santorini. The fun doesn’t stop there: our selection includes a cat café, weekly dinner parties hosted by the owners, and city tours around Athens in a cherry red Fiat 500, with pit stops at coffee shops and picnic spots you’d never find without a local.
Syros, the 19th-century shipping capital of Greece, has the architectural pedigree to prove it. Among the neoclassical mansions that grace the waterfront capital, Hermoupolis, is Aristide, a nine-suite hotel that’s both respectful of the building’s magnificent bone structure and bang up to date. Family-run, the house still feels like a home – all richly painted walls and ceilings, designer furniture, and contemporary art (the in-house gallery hosts exhibitions by resident artists.) Champagne breakfast, superb Cycladic tapas, and classic cocktails are served in the secret garden or at the rooftop bar. Top marks for sustainability, too: rooms have biodegradable slippers, environmentally friendly cosmetics, and no single-use plastics.
• The best hotels in Greece
Nothing comes cheap on Mykonos, but privacy is at a premium on an island swarming with celebrities and paparazzi. Above the fray of Ornos bay, Kalesma is a low-rise cluster of 25 suites and villas that all have sea-view terraces and private heated pools. The look – neutral, natural, understated and uncluttered – is low-key luxe; but prices (from €1,200/£1,033 for a suite that’s big enough for a family of four) are brazenly high-end. Owners Aby Saltiel and Makis Kousathanas are Mykonos aficionados and successful restaurateurs, so expect a savvy concierge and excellent food (including a weekly dinner party for residents).
Moon and Stars, Athens
It took three years to secure planning permission and another year to restore this enchanting 1920s building in the historic heart of Athens. Formerly the home and workshop of a toy maker, the five suites are a playful mix of old and new: parquet floors, patterned tiles, metal four-poster beds. Husband and wife Theodore Vasileiadis and Vaso Adamou designed and run the Moon and Stars with real flair. A rooftop breakfast bar, with glorious Acropolis views, is in the works. Another bonus: city tours in Theodore’s cherry red Fiat 500, with pit stops at coffee shops and picnic spots you’d never find without a local.
Cretan Malia Park, Crete
Cool digs, sophisticated food, and self-care are usually forgone on family holidays. Not at Cretan Malia Park, a beachfront resort conceived in the 1980s by Antonis Stylianides, an acolyte of Walter Gropius. Radically re-imagined, the verdant resort is peppered with pieces by House of Hackney, Gubi, and LRNCE that will thrill those with a keen eye for design. Deliciously unpretentious food is sourced from the organic kitchen garden and local suppliers (including many staff members, who are trained in sustainable farming off season). While parents are doing Pilates, kids can run amok in the two pools, performance space, playroom, and test kitchen. There’s even a Cat Café, a sanctuary for strays, and a bar and cinema exclusively for teenagers.
White Pebble Suites, Milos
Milos has been getting a lot of buzz lately. Beyond the August crowds lining up for a table at O Hamos taverna and the Instagrammers striking a pose on the bone-white cliffs of Sarakiniko, this picture-perfect Cycladic island is amazingly unspoiled. With some 70 beaches, there’s always space to escape. Now there’s a sexy, adults-only hotel too, with 12 curvy suites in a restful palette and a luscious little spa. Poised on the waterfront of Pollonia, White Pebble Suites is just steps from a sandy beach and a row of lovely seaside restaurants.
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The Modernist, Athens
In a quiet, upmarket area of Athens, this clean-cut newcomer has a knowing, edgy vibe. Monochromatic interiors in black, white, and grey are warmed up by oak floors, leather headboards, and plants. Even the smallest rooms (which range from S, M, L to XL) feel considered rather than claustrophobic. The biggest has an outdoor hot tub, a selection of vinyl, and a drinks trolley stocked with premium spirits. The roof garden, with the requisite Acropolis views, doubles as an outdoor cinema and the ground floor café hosts workshops by local artists, who have created and curated everything from the ceramics and artworks to the books and playlists.
Skinopi Lodge, Milos
Skinopi Lodge is the epitome of Cycladic simplicity. With a minimal footprint, the stone, glass, and polished cement dwellings are reduced to the bare essentials: a great bed, an outdoor shower and kitchen, a walled patio protected from the northerly wind, and front row seats for the sunset. Surrounded by lavender, sage, olive trees and the sea, nothing tries to outdo the beauty of the setting. The only traffic are sailboats and goats. With a fanatical word-of-mouth following, it’s always been hard to score a reservation; but four new villas open in summer 2021, bringing the total to seven. The largest villa will be embedded in the landscape, camouflaged with a green roof.
Villas from €290 (£250), skinopi.com
OKU is the reincarnation of Casa Cook, the bohemian brand launched as an antidote to Thomas Cook’s all-inclusive resorts, just before the company went bust. With a new look, new owners (Westfort Capital) and a new name (Japanese for ‘inner peace’), OKU Kos still feels on trend. Seaside yoga shala? Farm-to-fork restaurant? Shaggy hammocks, wicker lampshades, weathered ceramics? Check, check, check. Throw in swim-up suites, an open-air cinema, and sensational sunsets and you have the kid-free beach resort of millennial dreams.
Santorini Sky, Santorini
A modern take on the ypskafo, the subterranean houses burrowed into Santorini’s volcanic terrain, Santorini Sky’s six villas are slotted into the hillside of Profitis Ilias. Two thousand feet above sea level, it’s the highest point of the island so the views are out of this world and the privacy is absolute. The architecture is impressive too: raw concrete walls, lashings of local marble, and sliding glass doors that open onto expansive terraces with heated pools that seem to plunge over the cliff. It’s a five-minute drive to the pretty village of Pyrgos, where Santorini Sky has two more villas if you prefer a bit of buzz.
Villas from €249 (£214), santorinisky.com
Marbella Elix, Parga
A sweep of tawny sand wedged between two headlands, Karavostasi is one of the finest beaches along the relatively unscathed Ionian coast of mainland Greece. It’s a tree-lined stroll or funicular ride up to Marbella Elix, a snazzy makeover of an old resort. Balconies and infinity pools are eye level with the horizon, streamlined interiors are flooded with natural light. Activities focus on fitness and wellness (the region is ideal for cycling and the hotel can provide bikes, maps, and organic lunchboxes), and there’s a great outdoor adventure club for kids.
Koutsounari is one of the longest beaches on Crete. Tucked among the water-sports centres and beach bars is Numo, a laidback resort with a grown-up vibe. Soulful rooms are decked out in grey and green, reflecting the surrounding olive, tamarisk and palm trees. The upbeat beach club livens things up, while cute touches like a pop-up fisherman’s stall connect guests with Cretan culture. The location, just outside the lively coastal city of Ierapetra, is handy for diving, gorge hiking, or a day trip to tiny Chryssi (‘golden’) island, whose glowing sands are composed of thousands of shells.
Kanava hotels and architect Stamos Hondrodimos have history. On Santorini, they have carved a niche for contemporary resorts that respect their surroundings. Parilio, their first collaboration on the island of Paros, drew rave reviews when it opened in 2019. Now they’re upping the ante with Cosme, a chic revamp of a dated property just outside Naoussa, the island’s lifestyle and nightlife capital. Opening in July 2021, Cosme will have 40 rooms with a crisp Cycladic aesthetic, a spa, fine dining restaurant, and a private beach club.