Take your Greek Island dreaming to the next level with these extraordinary new addresses in the Aegean. Paradise looks like an ultra-luxe stay on a Mediterranean island complete with sweeping views of the ocean. Here, Kendall Hill pulls together the ultimate round-up of the best resorts in Greece to book right now.
Wait, is it Zakynthos or Zante? It’s kind of both. The Italians call this island Zante, which means “amazing and loving”.
Where is it? It’s one of the cooler, greener Ionian islands.
How do you get to that astonishing pool? It belongs to Artelia, a two-storey, five-bedroom villa that looks stark and contemporary from the outside but when you go inside, it’s traditional timber and stone, softened with neutral fabrics and potted greenery.
That pool, though… It’s quite something. But so are the mirage-like views over the Gulf of Laganas and the Zakynthos National Marine Park, home to Turtle Island, aka Marathonisi, a breeding ground for endangered loggerhead turtles.
Is Artelia private? Sure, but it’s not isolated. The property is built onto a hillside above pebbly Keri Beach and there are quaint inland villages nearby, each with a friendly taverna.
Who takes care of the cooking? The villa has an incredible kitchen and terrace barbecue, best enjoyed when someone else is on the pans. Villa managers The Thinking Traveller can organise a chef for that; guests can take care of the sundowner cocktails, from the terrace bar and lounge, themselves.
Are there reasons to leave? Head out to try Komis, a portside fish taverna, and Alesta on St Marcos’ Square for fresh pasta and pizza. Spend the day at sandy Kalamaki Bay (settle at the quieter eastern end) or take to the hot-spring waters at Xigia.
But wait, there’s more… The owner’s estate features vineyards and stables so horse riding can be arranged.
Milos? We’re intrigued… Some would argue Milos is the Cyclades’ most enchanting island. Like Santorini, it’s an extinct volcano but in this case, it’s a mineral-rich wonder with beaches coloured red, black, bone-white and golden. Likewise the various settlements, from the ancient hill town of Kastro to charming fishing villages like Mandrakia, cater to every holiday mood.
Sounds dreamy. Where’s the best place to stay? The hillside Skinopi Lodge sits above Milos Bay between the port town of Adamas, where ferries arrive from neighbouring Santorini and Sifnos, and the picturesque village of Klima. Currently there are three villas – minimalist visions in stone, cement and glass set in olive and lavender gardens. The owner, Nausika Georgiadou, is opening another four villas this European summer, including one built into the Milos rock. All face the sea and catch dazzling sunsets.
What is there to do? “Milos has its own little archipelago of volcanic islands with the most beautiful and varied coastline in Greece so a boat trip is for me the absolute highlight of visiting my island and my favourite thing to do,” says Georgiadou. “We take guests on private boat trips to swim in the caves of Kleftiko, dive off the white cliffs of Sarakiniko, marvel at the electric-blue waters of Polyegos, always ending up in Kimolos for a late lunch of just-caught fish on the beach at the taverna To Kyma.”
And if we tire of that (ha!)? Georgiadou is designing a common outdoor kitchen to host cooking classes by her favourite village women.
Is this the coolest new place to stay on Mykonos? For sure. Opened in May 2021, Kālesma’s 25 suites and two villas have swiftly become the most coveted address on the most fashionable Greek island.
What’s the big deal? Apart from being the only accommodation on the island where every suite has a pool…
You have our attention… owner Aby Saltiel and his partner, Makis Kousathanas, designed their hotel to have no “bad” rooms. Each 153-square-metre suite has the same view to the sacred island of Delos (birthplace of Artemis and Apollo) and all feature the same captivating Cycladic design of whitewash, dry-stone walls and natural materials. Living spaces segue effortlessly between indoor and outdoor terraces with dining, lounge, pool and panoramas of sea and sky.
Sounds amazing. Is there a restaurant? All-day dining at Pere Ubu ranges from oven-baked breads at breakfast to fish wrapped in fig leaves at dinner, all served with glorious Aegean outlooks. Thursdays are barbecue nights and Fridays are for live music, plus there’s a pool bar and a sunset lounge with a firepit.
How far is it from the Mykonos action? The resort is in upmarket Aleomandra, about 15 minutes drive from the town centre. It’s set directly above Ornos Bay with its popular beach and clubs.
What are the must-dos? Saltiel recommends “native” experiences such as Nōema, a thoroughly modern Greek restaurant in the old town that’s open during the European summer season. It’s the latest offering by the owners of Scorpios, the legendary beach club that’s still the hottest ticket on the island. Beach-wise, one of his top choices is Kalo Livadi. “The beach is beautiful and the surf is very good. There’s a restaurant called Solymar Mykonos – their barbecue chicken is the best I’ve eaten.”
The Rooster, Antiparos
Where’s Antiparos? It’s in the Cycladic islands, a short boat ride from its big sister Paros (easily reached by flight or ferry from Athens).
Give us the elevator pitch. It’s laid-back and comparatively undiscovered, ideal if you’re after a low-key, unspoiled alternative to the party islands. The Rooster opened last June promising “the luxury of slow living through sustainable-local-organic-wellness-fun-learning-inspiring experiences”, a post-COVID-19 siren call to Europe’s jetsetters and trendsetters.
What’s the vibe? The Rooster’s 17 houses, clustered village-style above Livadia Beach, come with sea views, private pools and a design that delivers folk-influenced accommodation ranging in size from 75 to 150 square metres, set in native gardens, with the emphasis on space, light and organic materials.
Tell us about the wellness side of things. The House of Healing is a bijou two-room spa offering all manner of ancient and modern therapies, including yoga and meditation, to balance minds and bodies. Where’s a good place to eat? The in-house restaurant serves healthy dishes with ingredients from the owner’s organic farm. Or soak up island time at waterfront Captain Pipinos and Soros Beach stalwart Taverna Peramataki (+30 2284 061211).
What about beach time? Just 15 minutes drive down the road you’ll find the juniper-shaded tables of The Beach House taverna in sheltered Apantima Cove. Or have the kitchen prepare a picnic hamper to have on Livadia Beach.
How to choose a room... It depends on your priorities but owner Athanasia Comninos’s pick is 106, a two-bedroom villa closest to the sea.
Santorini Sky, Santorini
Wow. This is Prophet Elias Mountain, Santorini’s highest point, 600 metres above the Aegean. The views are, obviously, spectacular.
Is that a hotel? Sure is. Santorini Sky comprises six mountainside suites in the style of traditional yposkafo houses quarried into the caldera rock. Sounds pretty rustic. They’re quite the opposite. The interiors are boldly modern and finished in local marble, concrete and glass with high-tech comforts like smart TVs, wi-fi and coffee machines. But the show-stoppers are the cliff-edge infinity pools – the island’s highest – that seem to brush the sky.
Does life get a bit lonely at the top? It could for some, in which case Santorini Sky has two more villas in nearby Pyrgos town. But if you’re craving utter seclusion, there’s The Lodge, a 19th-century farm shelter reimagined as the ultimate couple’s escape, complete with alfresco bed on its roof terrace.
What else is hot on Santorini this summer? For elevated indulgence, there’s a modern Greek restaurant called Kaliya with a bougainvillea-draped terrace that sits on top of the caldera at Fira. If you’re after excellent seafood right on the beach, try Salty Bone, Roza’s for passionately local cooking and Theros Wave Bar for sunbathing, swimming and fun flanked by the sculpted cliffs of Vlychada.
What’s the braggiest booking? Plan well ahead to score a slot in the resort’s transparent Sky Dome for sunset dinner or stargazing with a significant other.
How do we get there – like now? Fly from Athens to Mykonos and Santorini is less than three hours away by ferry.