A beautiful, beachside boutique hotel on the most cosmopolitan of the Greek islands, GraceMykonos is an intimate spa hotel that offers comfort and pampering, boasts stunning ocean views, and is dedicated to spoiling its guests.
11am, although changing facilities and storage are provided for late departures (and early arrivals). Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £246.32 (€280), including tax at 13.5 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €3.00 per room per night on check-out.
Rates include à la carte breakfast.
Be sure to look out for Petros the Pelican, the waterside resident who has been the island’s official mascot for half a century. The spotting scope in the library, which provides great views of the town, should help.
At the hotel
Spa, gym, valet parking, free WiFi throughout, concierge. In-room amenities: king-size beds, flatscreen TVs, laptops to borrow, Nespresso machines, air conditioning, Apivita bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Most rooms have sea-facing balconies, but the VIP Suite is reached by its own elevator and includes a private, fully furnished verandah with Jacuzzi. In the Grace Suite, you can access the capacious indoor-outdoor hot tub via the walk-in shower, which itself doubles as a steam room. The Honeymoon Suite at the top of the complex offers stunning ocean views from its terrace, where you and your beloved can enjoy a Jacuzzi with drinks from the adjacent wet bar.
King-size sun-beds and umbrellas surround the pool. Staff are on hand to bring refreshments and occasional unexpected treats, such as iced towels or frozen fruit shots.
The spa has a large steam room, sauna, hydrotherapy bath and a 'serpentine' shower. A range of spa therapies, including massages, body scrubs and facial treatments is available.
Aspirin, to combat the after-effects of Mykonos’ renowned nightlife (or too many hot-tub tipples).
In room spa and beauty treatments can be arranged.
Cots/extra beds, highchairs and cartoon DVDs are available for under-12s, who stay free if they're sharing with parents and as long as the room type is big enough. Babysitting can be arranged with advance notice.
Grace Mykonos is a 15-minute drive from Chora and within towel-flinging distance of the beach.
The hotel will fetch you from the island’s airport (€20 for a shared transfer, €55 private), which can be reached from the UK with EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) or Thomson Airways (flights.thomson.co.uk). For more choice, there are regular flights between Mykonos and Athens, Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Santorini and Crete in the summer. In low season (or for the scenic route), do the second part of your journey by boat.
The hotel is happy to arrange car/motorbike rental and has its own private underground parking area. It is located 1.5km north of the new port, 10 minutes from the airport, and just a 15-minute drive from the main town of Chora. See www.ferries.gr for information on car ferries.
Two ports near Athens (Piraeus and Rafina) have regular high-speed ferry services to and from Mykonos; the fastest is three hours. The Mykonos–Delos boat departs daily except Mondays; for more information about Greek ferry routes see www.ferries.gr. The hotel is 1.5km from the port – transfers can be arranged for €20 (shared) or €55 (private).
Worth getting out of bed for
The Agios Stefanos beach is just by the hotel, so there’s a good chance you’ll get no further than a horizontal position on this chilled-out curve of coastline. It’s worth the short drive south of the hotel to Chora, Mykonos’ main town, where you can see 16th-century windmills, milk-white adobe churches and twist and turn down Little Venice’s alleyways, before taking lunch with a view by the harbour – you might even meet Mykonian mascot Petros the pelican. The Archaeological Museum (+30 (0)228 902 2325) has artefacts dating back to the fifth century BC and the Mykonos Folklore Museum (+30 (0) 228 902 2591) has a cache of painted pots and stories of the island’s piratical past. If overloading on history has made you think Mykonos is something of a relic, think again; this cosmopolitan enclave is one of Greece’s more sophisticated clubbing-mad islands and there are plenty of slick VIP bars where you can down an ouzo and dance along to celeb DJs. The next day if you’re feeling a little delicate, see if you can stomach a gentle sail up and down the coast. The hotel can personalise the excursion to your wishes, right down to the on-board music, and when you return to port a blissed-out barbecue will be waiting for you.
Koursaros restaurant (+30 (0)228 907 8140) is like a traditional Greek trattoria that has been reimagined by Frank Gehry or Zaha Hadid. The rustic exposed brick walls and flagstone pavements are brought into the 21st century with cherry-red ‘nest’ chandeliers, chalkboard-style prints of boat blueprints and a webbed ceiling over the terrace. Upmarket fish dishes – linguine with sea urchin and prawns with ouzo sauce – are the order of the day here. La Piazetta (+30 (0)228 902 2343) serves Italian food, which may seem like a counterintuitive recommendation for your Grecian getaway; but with inventive dishes such as smoked salmon and swordfish millefuille with pineapple and goat cheese, you won’t mind that it’s not Cycladian. For something a little more authentic, head to En Plo Restaurant(+30 (0)228 902 3012) where you can enjoy simple seafood dishes, sunset views and gloriously camp rainbow-hued cocktails.
The Greek Gods must have had it good all those years ago – with the island of Mykonos as their playground. It would have provided just the right mix of glamour, beauty and mischief for the fun-loving deities. But then again they wouldn’t have been able to stay at this incredible boutique hotel in Mykonos.
Taxi-sharing from the airport, we met a couple who proclaimed that we’d just arrived at ‘The best place in the world. Fact.’ (This was their 27th trip to the island). So we were in high spirits as we wended our way around the coastal road, heading north to Agios Stefanos and the demure, cliffside Mykonos Grace, painted in the requisite white. In fact, white is the watchword at Mykonos Grace; from the double-sized sun loungers on the rooftop pool terrace to the flowing cotton uniforms of the super-friendly staff.
Thirst-quenching, freshly squeezed mango juice in hand, we were given our own guided tour of the hotel – spa, lounge with free internet, DVD-packed library, terrace – complete with telescope for nightly star-gazing – and finally our westward-facing room with king-sized bed (white again, of course). A splash of colour is provided by a huge modern painting over the bed and from the balcony – which overlooks the invitingly azure Aegean sea and the island of Delos beyond.
Seriously, is there anyone who isn’t impressed when there are enough bathroom goodies to suitcase-stash a tonne upon departure? The double-basin, tiled bathroom with huge shower was generously stocked with lots of yummy Korres products, but we’d enjoy that later. We had a date with some sunshine first. De-robed and cream-slathered, we emerged once more upstairs at the rooftop pool and claimed our right to the most superior-positioned lounger for sunbathing à deux. With a carafe of Greek white wine and a Mythos beer for Mr Smith, we snacked on baked aubergine rolls stuffed with local manouri cheese and a marinated cherry tomato and grilled halloumi salad. Below us the Aegean glittered in the sunlight and we lazily watched the yachts drift into the town’s harbour to dock for the evening.
Jumping out of our skin as a knock came on our bedroom door, we later woke from our early evening siesta – much needed on this island where the best time to eat is 10pm and the bars are rocking until dawn. Our interruption was a delivery of chilled water – for which we were grateful – even if I did look like a petrified meerkat in the headlights as I opened the door.
As we wanted to stay local for the evening, the handsome assistant manager Costas recommended an authentic Greek taverna up in the village behind the hotel. A steep climb up stone stairs cut into the hillside revealed a traditional restaurant: To Koutouki tou Limniou, where we dined on huge plates of tender barbecued lamb chops, local bread and oil, and the most enormous Greek salad we’ve ever chomped through. We ordered carafe after carafe of the delicious local wine (top tip: carafes are amazingly good value at three euros – don’t order wine by the glass), while raucous groups of locals next to us chattered away in Greek, their tables laden with fresh grilled meat. At the end of supper, the (rather taciturn) waiter brought us two shot glasses of Mastika (a Greek liquor made from the resin of the indigenous mastic tree), a liking for which I developed throughout our stay, much to the amusement of some of the trendier bars on the island.
The next day we headed to Stefanos beach below the hotel, which is dotted with loungers and umbrellas and home to one of prettiest tavernas I’ve ever been to – all baby-blue wooden posts, banquette tables facing the sea and a vine canopy to shelter us from the sun. Ordering freshly grilled sardines, Mr Smith was in raptures, proclaiming they were the best he’s ever tasted, while I washed down yet another tastebud-tinglingly flavoursome Greek salad with more wine.
Whisking us into town that evening, the hotel’s driver dropped us off at the glamorous Santa Marina hotel for dinner. Hollywood stars such as Harrison Ford and Roman Polanski have enjoyed the five-star privacy of this place – and when tasting the food, we discovered why. Dining alfresco, we tucked into exquisite tuna sashimi and California rolls, accompanied by warm sake. OK, possibly a strange choice when on a Greek island, but Mykonos leads the way in the designer stakes; anything goes.
Determined to experience a taste of the island’s nightlife before we left, we took a taxi to the so-called 'Little Venice' area of town. We soon found ourselves in Caprice: a snug bar just by the water’s edge, packed in with hundreds of revellers ordering obscene amounts of colourful cocktails, while a DJ provided a mix of Eurotrash and classic pop. A lethal concoction. Finally escaping at 04h and stumbling through the maze of tiny streets, we hailed a taxi and returned to the peace and privacy of the glorious Grace.
Small but luxuriously formed, the white-hot Mykonos Grace offers an elegant and intimate boutique hotel experience on one of the Aegean’s most vibrant islands. Leaving the next morning (late check-out? ‘Of course, no problem!’), we took one last look back at our cotton-draped king-size and sun-warmed terrace agreeing on one thing: Mission Relaxation accomplished.