After months of stay-at-home orders and lockdowns measures, it’s only natural that people are dreaming of getting away for some much-needed holidays. The irony of the strange times we live in is that, right when we most need to plan a holiday, it’s so uncertain if we can or should due to the pandemic’s global reach. Conflicting information abounds, while many countries are not accepting tourists, others are still trying to flatten the curve with all the health hazard this entails. Not all hope is lost though! Fortunately for those seeking sun filled vacations, Greece is one of the few countries that both welcomes international visitors whilst being considered as one of the safest – the country’s handling of the pandemic has been internationally recognized as one of the most effective globally, winning plaudits from international media.
Greece needs no introduction of course; from spellbinding Santorini, cosmopolitan Mykonos and the verdant Ionian Islands, to the mythological Peloponnese and the pristine mountains of Epirus, the country is a treasure trove of natural beauty, picturesque settings and cultural gems. To help you plan your summer getaway we have handpicked eight exceptional hotels around the country that represent the diverse beauty and open-hearted hospitality of Greece. Part love-letter to Greece, part antidote to the misery of our times, we hope our list inspires and excites you. After all, summer is supposed to be the season of exploration, relaxation and fun, and we firmly believe that there’s no reason why this year should be different.
Crete_ Cretan Malia Park
Surrounded by rolling pastoral hills and sweeping olive groves on the outskirts of Malia on Crete’s northern coast, Cretan Malia Park is a lush hideaway harmoniously integrated into the inland’s wild Mediterranean landscape.
Set amongst lush botanical gardens filled with palms, mulberries, Indian figs, local banana trees, cacti and wild flora, the hotel's modernist, low-rise buildings espouse a Palm Springs chic meets Cretan vernacular aesthetic courtesy of last year’s comprehensive renovation. Swathed in natural materials like walnut wood, rattan and Cretan marble, the revamped interiors feature contemporary furnishings of mid-century elegance interlaced with handcrafted pieces by local artisans, such as hand-hewn baskets, ceramic pots and custom-designed herringbone cement tiles. Add in the vibrant accents of mustard yellows, sea blues, flora greens and orange, and the ubiquitous floor-to-ceiling windows, and you get a sense of the resort’s masterful interior/exterior fusion.
The idyllic locale and sophisticated design are rounded off by a focus on wellbeing. A program of physical activities such as yoga, Pilates, meditation sessions and water polo, is complemented by three pools, a fully equipped gym, outdoor tennis and basketball courts, family facilities like the Little Explorers Kids Club, and an intimate spa offering signature treatments, while an organic kitchen garden provides the resort’s three restaurants, beachside eatery and classy bar with fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs.
Cretan Malia Park Resort a member of Design Hotels™
Malia, Crete, Greece.
Halkidiki_ Ekies All Senses Resort
Picture an Instagramable lagoon of crystal blue waters, rocky islands, sea caves and white sandy beaches, set below sweeping pine forests: welcome to Ekies All Senses Resort.
Located on the Gulf of Vourvourou in Sithonia, a protected area in Ηalkidiki’s most striking peninsula, the resort’s idyllic location is matched by its laidback luxury and sustainable ethos.
Fronted by a long sandy beach, the resort is imbued with a sense of peacefulness and relaxation, with hammocks and grassy areas throughout, a large, oasis-like pool hidden by palm trees, and a boutique spa housed in an all-white pavilion offering a range of holistic beauty treatments and massage sessions. In fact, Ekies’ design has been internationally recognized, having won an AHEAD hospitality award in the Landscaping & Outdoor Spaces category. Ekies’ accolades also extend to its award-winning culinary offerings underpinned by seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, including fresh fish caught daily from local fishermen. From the seaside Bubo restaurant serving Greek classics with a modern twist, to the magical Treehouse, an intimate, fine-dining restaurant high up in the pine trees with unobstructed views of the sea, to the chill out vibes, snacks and signature cocktails of the Loligo bar, gastronomic delights go hand in hand perfectly with the soulful character of Ekies.
Nestled among lush green, pine-scented gardens, accommodation varies in size and style, from spacious double rooms of contemporary design, to minimalist suites with private pools, through to eco-luxury apartments with private terraces. Soothing garden and forest views are complemented by design pieces and plenty of comforts like Coco-Mat beds, Marshall speakers and rainfall showers.
Ekies All Senses Resort, a member of Design Hotels™
Vourvourou Bay, Sithonia, Chalkidiki, Greece.
Kefalonia_ Emelisse Nature Resort
Overlooking the crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Sea amid acres of cypress, cedar and olive trees in the north of Kefalonia, Emelisse Nature Resort celebrates the island’s unparalleled natural beauty through a lens of laidback luxury.
A short 10-minute walk from the picturesque fishing village of Fiskardo, the resort has its own private beach, a tranquil stretch of white sand and turquoise waters, as well as two magnificent pools overlooking the sea, making it the ideal cocooning hideaway.
Connected by pebbled paths, a series of cliff top, colour-washed houses set amid evergreen gardens offer a wide range of accommodation, from spacious guest rooms and suites, to apartments and maisonettes, complete with terraces, balconies and private swimming pools granting guests mesmerizing views of the shimmering sea and rolling hills. Just as dreamy are the views from the poolside restaurant, with neighbouring Ithaki and Lefkada islands looming in the distance during lunch, while at night, the refined menu of Greek and Mediterranean dishes is uplifted by the candle and lantern-lit setting and star-studded sky.
All the amenities you’d expect from a first class resort are here: a luxury spa where guests are spoiled for choice with numerous face and body treatments, a state-of-the-art gym, tennis and squash courts, and yoga classes and scuba diving courses, and even an outdoor cinema. With such comforts you’d be excused for not wanting to leave the resort but if you do, a sleek Princess V50 motor boat and a fleet of kayaks and bikes allow you to explore Kefalonia’s pristine coastline.
Emelisse Nature Resort
Fiskardo, Kefalonia Greece.
Metsovo_ Grand Forest Metsovo
Perched on top of a private mountain on the footsteps of Pindus National Park in north-western Greece, Grand Forest Metsovo is the perfect place to discover Greece’s alpine side.
Surrounded by sweeping black pine and beech forests, the five-star resort is blessed with panoramic views of the surrounding mountain peaks, valleys and ravines, including the historic village of Metsovo wherefrom it takes its name.
Inspired by the region’ vernacular architecture, the resort’s modest building complex – think stone-built walls, timber beams, and stone roof shingles – belies interiors of subtle luxury and contemporary elegance. Comprising 62 spacious suites, Grand Forest Metsovo is a peaceful haven where guests can unwind and recharge, pampered by the first class amenities it offers and soothed by the natural beauty of its location.
Head to Fontus Spa for a range of treatments based on Greek aromas and herbs, a heated indoor pool with expansive mountain views, or relax in the hammam, sauna and Jacuzzi. Hungry? Visit Metsovo 1350m, the hotel’s signature restaurant named after its altitude, whose local cuisine with a twist is based on the area’s gastronomical traditions, or try one of the tavernas, ouzerias and traditional bakeries within Metsovo village, a 20-minutes-drive down the mountain. Granted, there are no sea views or beaches here, but with a vast network of hiking trails on the resort’s doorstep (Metsovo is one of the leading hiking destinations in Europe) and a range of activities that include wild truffle hunting, horseback riding, biking, paragliding, canoe and kayak, you can be assured you won’t miss them.
Grand Forest Metsovo
Metsovo, Epirus, Northern Greece.
Mykonos_ The Wild Hotel by Interni
Perched on a cliff side on the south of Mykonos – once the home of the “the wild ones”, the island’s most fearless fishermen – The Wild Hotel by Interni is a peaceful haven of subtle luxury inspired by the Cycladic landscape, architecture and crafts.
Comprising 40 rooms, suites and villas, the five-star hotel unfolds amphitheatrically over five levels with unobstructed views of the shimmering waters of the Aegean below, making it the perfect place to immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of Mykonos.
At the heart of the hotel, a sprawling infinity pool overlooking the sea echoes the fluid contours of the surrounding terrain, while the hand-built stone walls, wooden pergolas, and planted tamarisk trees, bougainvilleas and herbs filter the island’s landscape through a lens of effortless sophistication. A few steps below the pool terrace, the hotel’s private beach allows guests to enjoy the island’s crystal waters away from the crowds – a true privilege on Mykonos.
Channelling the island’s architectural heritage, the hotel’s minimalist aesthetic is underpinned by the use of natural materials like aged oak, bamboo and rattan, which, combined with a muted colour palette of earthy hues and a collection of handcrafted furniture and hand-painted ceramic tiles, imbue the hotel’s interiors with a soothing ambiance that fosters calmness and relaxation. The island’s culture is also reflected in the Greek menu at the Taverna, whose soulful dishes are prepared with fresh, locally sourced produce, and the treatments offered in the subterranean spa, which have been inspired by ancient Greek therapies.
The Wild Hotel by Interni
Paros_ Parīlio Hotel
Conceived as the first luxury gateway on Paros, a Cycladic island of unexplored beauty, Parīlio is an all-suite resort of unpretentious sophistication located on the north-western corner of the island.
In close proximity to the picturesque fishing town of Naoussa and the renowned Kolympithres Beach, the hotel’s identity and design are rooted in the island’s landscape, history and mythology, which makes staying there an authentic, effortlessly Greek yet thoroughly modern experience.
The boutique hotel’s whitewashed cubic massing and wide arches channel traditional Cycladic architecture through a contemporary lens, while the liberal use of coloured concrete, terracotta floors, rustic stone and local marble enhances its Mediterranean appeal. The unassuming building complex is intersected by palm tree-reflecting infinity ponds, potted cacti and landscaped patios that imbue the property with a mood of stillness, while the expansive, cross-shaped pool is the hotel’s de facto hub, complete with yellow parasols, loungers, oversized cushions, and a minimalist pool bar. The hotel’s unique brand of Mediterranean simplicity is carried on inside, where the use of natural materials and a soothing colour palette complement a collection of vintage and modern furniture, along with a series of handcrafted ceramic and textile artefacts.
Rounding out Parīlio’s offering of an authentic Greek experience is Mr.E, a fine dining restaurant where traditional recipes and local produce are reinvented into modern dishes through a contemporary filter courtesy of celebrated Greek Chef Alexandros Tsiotinis, while the serene Elios Spa offers the ultimate time out for those looking to fully embrace the slow-paced Cycladic way of living.
Parīlio Hotel, a member of Design Hotels™
Santorini_ Andronis Arcadia
Santorini’s spellbinding beauty of its partially submerged caldera, whitewashed villages and black sandy beaches demands a truly relaxing getaway such as Andronis Arcadia in order to really relish such astounding beauty.
Scenically located on the outskirts of Oia, the island’s loveliest village and go-to location to watch the sunset, the all-suite hotel combines breath-taking views of the Aegean Sea, minimalist interiors of understated luxury, and a peaceful ambience that evokes the mythic Arcadia wherefrom its takes its name.
The hotel is Andronis Exclusive’ newest uber-luxe hospitality project on the island and it shows: every single room enjoys its own private terrace and infinity pool where guests can relish the island’s magical sunsets away from the crowds. Just as panoramic are the views from the sweeping infinity pool at the centre of the hotel’s communal area, which evokes a beach-club vibe courtesy of a sunken bar carved into the poolside, floating day beds, and a resident DJ.
While the pool-side dining area offers Greek-themed and sushi menus, a unique dining experience awaits guests at the rooftop restaurant serving contemporary Greek flavours inspired by the tastes and ingredients of Ancient Greece. Just as unique is the hotel’s Evexia spa, which was designed with the help of Denise Leicester, the founder of cult British brand, Ila, and offers a range of treatments from facials to ancient rituals such as a crystal massage, as well as a Kneipp circuit, an open-air yoga pavilion and a well-equipped gym.
Zakynthos_ Contessina Collection
Located in the picturesque village of Tsilivi in Zakynthos, one of the greenest of Greece’s islands, best known for its breathtakingly picturesque beaches, Contessina Collection offers the perfect boutique experience to indulge in luxury hospitality and natural beauty.
Conveniently located just a short drive from the island’s main town, the resort nevertheless feels secluded in its unspoilt, natural surroundings, and emphasis on tranquillity and privacy. Comprising an adults-friendly, all-suite getaway and a separate, family friendly hotel, Contessina Collection is the ideal retreat for all types of discerning travellers seeking to unwind in unpretentious luxury. Just steps away from the beach and emerald waters of the Ionian Sea, both complexes are centred around expansive, outdoor swimming pools where you can spend the whole day basking under the sun on comfy sunbeds or relaxing by the pool bar offering refreshing cocktails and Mediterranean comfort food.
Despite the fact that the property is celebrating its 25th anniversary this summer, Contessina feels and looks utterly contemporary having been extensively renovated only last year. The revamped architecture embraces an austere, modernist aesthetic, softened by perforated timber screens and climbing plants, while the new minimalist interiors, underpinned by a muted palette of earthy tones and natural materials, are a paradigm of restrained sophistication.
This sense of refinement is also clearly evident in the resort’s culinary offerings, with the elegantly designed Vedema and Lentika restaurants featuring polished menus showcasing modern Mediterranean dishes by acclaimed Greek Chef Christoforos Peskias. With an in-house gym and a brand-new boutique spa, complete with a cave-like indoor pool, wellness and pampering provide the ultimate luxurious touch and go hand in hand with everything that Contessina proudly stands for.