Words by Sally Meeson
The island of Mykonos is famed for its rustic charm: whitewashed houses dripping with pretty pink flowers, cobbled streets winding up to windmills on hilltops and old captains’ houses turned into trendy sea front bars.
But picture a world of laid back luxury within that scene, where each hotel has exquisite design, infinity pools shimmer round every corner and private balconies have hot tubs with panoramic sea views.
That’s the world The Myconian Collection has created, in what is fast becoming a small empire of glamorous hotels and villas on the island. Originating in 1979, with just one hotel near Mykonos Town, this family run business has grown into a collection of nine outstanding luxury establishments, each with its own personality and style.
I recently visited a cluster of its newer properties in the cliffs surrounding the picturesque Elia Bay on the south side of the island. Arriving at ‘Avaton’ (a word the ancient Greeks reserved for their most cherished places) I was greeted by friendly, uniformed staff who served me a chilled glass of champagne on a terrace overlooking the Aegean sea.
After relaxing on a crisp white sofa and taking in the rugged beauty of the Myconos landscape it was time to enter a world of elegant interior design within the hotel. An enormous, egg-shaped, wicker chair hung from the ceiling of the reception area, overflowing with plump white cushions. Turquoise infinity pools lined with striking red sun loungers filled sun drenched outdoor spaces. Collections of carefully curated art hung from walls made of locally quarried rock.
And the stylish, sometimes whimsical, design continued into my suite – with its designer bathroom, black stone floor and an oversized, red, wing back chair and other wooden furnishings. Throwing open double doors I was delighted to find a private terrace with an outdoor jacuzzi where I would enjoy a glass of wine at sunset overlooking the Aegean Sea.
Part of the beauty of the Myconian Collection is that once you check into one property you gain access to them all. The hotel provides a fleet of Mercedes S-Class limousines, Range Rovers and Mercedes-Benz vehicles to transport you from one to another. So I soon decided to explore, having dinner at the Cabannes restaurant at the nearby Myconian Villa Collection. Here guests have the option to stay in their own private villa with exclusive personalised services, but still enjoy the amenities of a hotel.
An outdoor flower pergola with the sound of waves and a full moon glowing above made for a particularly dreamy setting. Once again I was struck by the exquisite design and attention to detail of The Myconian Collection, right down to the glassware and cutlery. My champagne was served in a handcrafted flute with an elegant spiral stem and the knives and forks looked like beautifully sculpted twigs. And the originality certainly didn’t end when my food arrived. A shrimp and wasabi starter was served in a red rose in a single stem vase, followed by a five course gourmet meal and a range of international wines.
Mykonos has become famous in recent years as a popular destination for the international jet set, royals and celebrities… as well as a great place to party. The Myconian Collection exudes all of this glamour, but equally offers a place to shut off, unwind and revive. Every hotel has a state of the art spa, offering treatments based on the healing principles of Greek medicine. After an hour long ‘Harmony’ massage, using St Barth products said to be perfectly harmonised with each other, I felt calm, content and incredibly pampered. Or in other words fully restored and ready to go shopping! Each hotel has its own boutique full of clothes and accessories to enable you to achieve perfect Mykonos beachy glamour. Browse around maxi dresses, over-sized sunglasses and chunky jewellery from designers such as Mary Katranzou and Tory Burch as well as classics like Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent.
The hotels offer impressive concierge services including helicopter flights and private jets. They also provide private yacht cruises to enable you to explore the Mykonos coastline or visit nearby islands such as Santorini. During my stay I took a trip to the tiny island of Delos, once one of the most sacred places in ancient Greece and now an incredible archaeological site full of original statues, buildings and mosaics.
I fell in love with the Myconian Collection from the moment of arrival. Finding this world of super luxury within the rugged and rustic beauty of Mykonos was a wonderful surprise. Be prepared for long, relaxing days, from breakfast with sweeping sea views through to al fresco evening meals against stunning sunsets. Infinity pools twinkle with coloured lights at night, helicopters drift out of private villas’ gardens and the mystical, spirituality of the Greek culture resonates throughout.
Myconian Collection offers rooms at the Myconian Avaton Resort, Elia Beach – a member of Design Hotels (myconianavaton.com) – from €255/ £225 per room per night. Direct flights from London to Mykonos available with easyJet. The harmonising massage treatment at Avaton is €100 for 55 minutes.
Address: Elia Beach, Mykonos 846 00, Greece
Phone: +30 2289 076100