Blink and you’ll miss Skinopi Lodge, seven barely-there villas camouflaged into the craggy cliffside of Milos’ eastern bay. Minimal intervention architecture by Athens duo Kokkinou – Kourkoulas pulls Mother Nature firmly into focus with discreet, stripped-back interiors of Cycladic stone and retractable glass doors that frame no less than nine acres of sweeping Mediterranean shrubbery. There’s a sense of wilderness to be found here; in the sea-bound steps carved into the rocky ridge, the wafts of lavender and thyme that linger on the back of the Aegean breeze, and along the resort’s stepping-stone trails, where, if you’re lucky, the resident black cat – Shadow – may just cross your path.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £396.14 (€450), including tax at 13 per cent.
Rates don’t include breakfast, but a hearty morning meal can be delivered to your door for €50.
Though it may seem serene, the bay upon which Skinopi has sown its seeds was once the site of a 3,000-man siege by Athenian soldiers during the Peloponnesian War.
The hotel is closed annually from November to May.
At the hotel
Private beach, beach towels, free Wifi throughout. In rooms: Fully equipped kitchens, a welcome fruit basket, bottle of wine and a bottle of the hotel’s extra virgin olive oil, Nespresso machine and tea-making facilities, Bose speakers, TVs available upon request, Korres bath amenities.
Our favourite rooms
Each of the seven villas have been designed to mimic the traditional Syrmata fishermen houses of the island – stone clad and single-storey, these airy, open plan spaces are much alike in design. South-facing Villa Elies is the largest of the bunch, but if it’s front row sunset seats you’re after, west-facing Villa Levanda is the one.
There’s no pool, but the hotel has its own private sea deck below the villas that can be reached by stairs carved out of the cliff. There’s a public beach five-minutes from the lodge, too, where guests can hire stand-up paddle boards to propel themselves into the blue.
In-room massages, hairdressing, manicures and pedicures are available upon request as well as yoga and private training sessions.
Two of the hotel’s villas are wheelchair accessible.
Welcome. Babysitting can be provided for €20 per hour and upon request the hotel will organise all kinds of family-friendly activities from boating and fishing trips to private swimming and kayak lessons.
All of Skinopi Lodge’s seven villas are designed according to the principles of bioclimatic architecture; built with local volcanic stone, heat-resistant glass and lined with insulation and cross openings, they form naturally cooling environments that require minimal air conditioning. The hotel has taken special care to preserve its surroundings, the property is hedged in by nine acres of wild Mediterranean gardens full of indegineous plants that need little to no water as well as green rooftops that provide ample pollinating ground for endangered bees and butterflies. Long-time participants in the Cyclades Preservation Fund, the team at Skinopi Lodge have recently created an NGO for the protection of the Milos’ marine environment, helping to stomp out major industrial waste reaching the Aeagan. Guests can stay up to date on their eco-activity by becoming members. In villas, all water is heated through solar-generated energy, the LED lighting is on an automatic timer, and amenities come in refillable glass bottles.
Less where than when – set your table for dusk when the Grecian sun gets ready to dazzle.
Since you’ll be dining in private, comfort is key; throw on a robe and tuck in.
The open-air kitchen offers you the freedom and flexibility to cook what you want, when you want. You’re in the perfect spot for it, too, with fishermen hauling in their fresh morning catch on the neighbouring bay and a surplus of wild herbs sprouting on your doorstep. Though if you’re partial to a lazy morning the hotel can prepare and deliver bountiful breakfast baskets of Greek yoghurt with seasonal fruits and local organic honey, homemade jams, basket of bread and pastries, local cheese pies and freshly squeezed orange juice straight to your door.
Be your own bartender. Smith members will be greeted with a bottle of wine to get them going, and while out exploring, make sure to pick up a bottle of Mastika, the cedar-flavoured digestif made from the island’s mastic trees.
Skinopi Lodge is set in its namesake fishing village, Skinopi, and spread across nine acres of craggy, wild coast on the eastern shore of Milo’s ancient bay.
Milos airport is a 15-minute drive away. Transfers for up to three people can be arranged for €50 each way.
A car comes in handy for exploring the island’s bountiful offerings, and although roads are generally wide and well maintained, sturdier wheels are advisable when going off-the-beaten track. There’s a free car park close to villas, too.
Helicopters and small planes can land nearby upon request, and while stepping off a private jet is certainly one way to make an entrance, Milos shows its best angles when approached by water – time to call in your Captain.
Worth getting out of bed for
They say small things come in small packages, and that certainly rings true here; Milos packs a lot into its 61 sun-baked square metres. Obsidian, silver, bauxite and kaolin are just some of the natural resources this island has built itself off the back of. A profitable business, sure, but the perks of mineral material far surpass economics – in fact, the beauty of the landscapes that produce them is the real draw, from the bone-white lunar formations of Sarakiniko and the sculptural sulphur mines of Paliorema to the black sand of Gerontas beach and red shores of Paleochori. And while not all 70 beaches of this volcanic island come in funky colours, they certainly have their quirks – get your kit off at Psaravolada, slip between sea caves at Firiplaka, shimmy down a rope ladder at Tsigrado, or follow in the footsteps of soul-searching Shirley Valentine at Agios Ioannis. The fishing village of Klima has you covered for an authentic afternoon amble, where you’ll find craft shops and multicoloured boathouses lining the bay, but for views of a different kind, head to Plaka, the island’s capital, where the 220-metre high view over the Gulf of Milos is unbeatable. And when you’re all sauntered out, spend some time cooling off in the company of local grapes down at Kostantakis Cave Winery.
Up in the pretty hilltop village of Trypiti, just ten-minutes from the Lodge by car, you’ll find one of the island’s best kept secrets. Taverna Ergina’s traditional menu of garlic lasagne and oven baked beef with homegrown onions and tomatoes, as well as their balcony view, keep in-the-know bon viveurs coming back time and time again. If seafood is your bag, you can’t get much fresher than sea-side Medusa, so close, in fact, that you could easily take a dip or two between courses. Try the salt water eel dipped in olive oil, fried zucchini balls and the sun-baked octopus with vinegar.
After hiking up Plaka, it’s understandable if you want to reward yourself with something special. Utopia Cafe’s checkerboard cliffside terrace is just that, with pergola-covered views over the Aegean and islands beyond and hors d’oeuvres to match. For something a little heartier, Pollonia’s Kivotos ton Gefseon bakery serves homemade pies and traditional Greek sweet treats in a dreamy rose garden setting. The oven-baked watermelon pie is a revelation, and, owned by a family of beekeepers, you’re going to want to try the honey, too.
Verina’s dedicated cocktail bar makes a fine spot for a sundowner, with mellow beats accompanying the views over Plaka’s whitewashed church. The recipe of their signature drink is a closely-guarded (though definitely gin-infused) mystery, but there’s plenty of colourful classics to choose from, too. Everything’s white at marina lounge Aragosta, apart from the wine, that is, which you’ll be pleased to know comes in an affirming variety of grapey hues. Owner Kostas is full of recommendations if you’re after a bottle of something Cycladic.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this wonderfully wild hotel in the tiny fishing town of Skinopi and unpacked their pickings of lavender and wild thyme, a full account of their cliffside break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Skinopi Lodge in Milos…
Milos has its fair share of marvels; mineral-rich landscapes, majestic mines and, yes, a certain marble statue. On the east coast of the island’s storied bay, Skinopi Lodge has been busy making its mark on that list with a back-to-the-land boutique that puts Mother Nature front and centre. Spread over a whopping nine acres, the Lodge comprises seven independent villas modelled in the style of Syrmata fishermen houses; square, stone dwellings typical of the island’s seaside vernacular. Designed by Kokkinou – Kourkoulas, the architect duo behind the new Benaki Museum Pireos 138, each of the seven villas work with the landscape, seamlessly blending in with the wild Mediterranean plant life that surrounds them. Inside, spaces are minimal and modernist with concrete flooring, whitewashed walls, draped linens and soft grey palettes, though let’s face it, you won’t be inside much, especially once you’ve discovered the outdoor shower and kitchen. Garnish your sundowners with herbs from the grounds and soak up the sun from your secluded terrace before taking a dip. Stepping stones lead the way to the swimming deck below, where hand-carved stairs lower you into the bay – with the Aegean this close, who needs a pool?