Mykonos is known for its bohemian hotels and jet-set nightlife, whereas Santorini is all about romance, with infinity pools carved into cliffs and spellbinding caldera views. Begin your trip with a bang in lively Mykonos, where you can dip in and out of the hedonism at Grace Mykonos, a boutique retreat with polished service and decadent dining. There are just 32 rooms and suites here, each a harmonious haven of cool whites and ocean-blue hues, many with private plunge pools. Although you’ll be tempted never to leave your sanctuary, it’s worth doing so to experience one of the bespoke activities, such as a Mykonian wine tour, sundowner picnic or a Cycladic photoshoot.
For more envy-inducing snaps to add to your Instagram feed, hop on a ferry to Santorini, the poster child of the Greek Islands. Oia is the headline act, and you can spend hours getting lost in the warren of whitewashed houses. Seek out the churches of Saint Spyridon and Anastasis to see the iconic, blue-domed churches and hike the Oia to Fira coastal path for spectacular vistas. The picturesque village of Imerovigli is another striking spot and it’s where you’ll find one of Santorini’s most exclusive hotels, Grace Santorini, Auberge Resorts Collection. The beauty of staying at this hotel on the edge of the caldera is that you’ll not have to share sunset with the crowds; you’ll have front-row seats from the privacy of your own sea-view terrace.
The Sporades Islands are island-hopping escapism at its best. This picturesque archipelago, pocketed with tiny fishing towns, sleepy coves and lush forest, draws in those looking for a slower pace of Greek life. You can spend your days lingering over the catch-of-the-day in traditional waterfront tavernas or sailing between clear-water coves painted with fishing boats. We recommend heading to Skopelos first, reached by a short hydrofoil crossing from Skiathos. Known as the ‘Mama Mia’ island, you might recognise some sights, including that famous clifftop church where the musical wedding was held. Follow in the footsteps of the A-list movie cast and stay at Skopelos Village Hotel, a beach-chic bolthole with one of the best restaurants on the island.
Although smaller than Skopelos, Skiathos is big on charm, with a cosmopolitan capital and a beach-fringed coastline. One of the prettiest stretches of sand is Koukounaries, pinned between fragrant pines and cerulean waters. You can get direct access to this beach from Elivi Skiathos, a sleek wellness-focused hotel with Scandinavian-style rooms and a soothing spa.
If you like the idea of switching up your holiday but don’t fancy a ferry or flight in between, a hotel duo on one island could be for you. Split your stay between two contrasting beach resorts, or alternatively, enjoy a mini ‘city break’ in the island’s main town before oceanfront relaxation. In Rhodes, we suggest starting with a few nights in Rhodes Town. The Old Town is a labyrinth of cobbled alleyways and medieval architecture, while in the New Town, you’re spoilt for choice with upscale shops and trendy nightspots. Bed down at Rodos Park Suites & Spa, a Small Luxury Hotel of the World, just steps from the town walls. After your days’ adventures, freshen up in the outdoor pool, then find a cosy nook on the rooftop bar for cocktails with a view.
When you’re ready to kick back, the sugar cube village of Lindos is a great place to unwind. Keep with the characterful hotel theme and stay at another Small Luxury Hotel of the World. Lindos Blu Luxury Hotel & Suites is an ultra-modern hideaway ideal for couples and honeymooners. If you can tear yourself away from the two infinity pools and gourmet dining, the pretty village centre is just a stroll away; don’t miss the views at dusk over the Lindos Acropolis.
If you’re interested in history and culture, visiting Europe's oldest capital city is a must-do. Athens' storied past echoes on every corner of this vibrant metropolis, with the 2500-year-old Acropolis being the star attraction, standing proud over the city. Aside from exploring the ancient sites and museums, you'll find a thriving gastronomy scene, from vendors dishing up streetside souvlaki to trendsetting restaurants where the well-heeled Athenians hang out. Stay in the heart of the city at the uber-cool hotel, Grecotel Pallas Athena, which has an arty vibe and a top location close to the city landmarks.
After seeing and doing everything the city offers, hop on a short flight to Crete. This large and popular Greek island is peppered with golden beaches (and a few pretty pink ones), crumbling ruins, harbour towns and fascinating Minoan mythology. There are plenty of things to do and stylish hotels to choose from; we've selected the best of the bunch to feature in our collection. The beachfront Grecotel Caramel, Boutique Resort is one of our top picks with personalised service, eclectic eateries, and retro décor; think velvet sofas in the lobby and gold lily-pad loungers by the pool – which is lit up in funky colours after dark. We love the 'Dine Club' concept, which includes one dinner at the Agreco Farm Taverna, a delightful venue on Grecotel's own 40-hectare farm, where you'll feast on authentic Cretan cuisine in a romantic vineyard setting.
This feature was published on 8th July 2022. The information within this feature is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of print. Feature by Heather Flanagan.