How to do Mykonos and Santorini Five Star Greece style..
Mykonos off-season is a delight – a fully functioning playground all to yourself. Choose your beach, wonder which vast stretch of empty sand is the perfect one for you, swim in the surprisingly warm translucent water, lie down in the sun for a little snooze – then wander up to the taverna playing chilled music in a very down-beat way. Choose your table, almost all are free, then choose one with better view. Taste the new dishes they have chosen for this summer, and linger till the shadows lengthen.
We inspected two wonderful villas – we are here to work after all – one of these would be grand for a larger group as its three houses, united around a vast pool with two beach ends, offer a veritable private restaurant with tables and chairs, sofas and coffee tables and a rosticceria, all under cane-roof pergolas.
The town is sparkling clean and ready for the summer onslaught – and the evening “passeggiata”has started, down on the waterfront. Maxi dresses are making a reappearance, thankfully in some cases, and the place is just lively enough – a group of Spaniards start an impromptu flamenco show, and the Myconian waiter watches longingly, saying “opa” and clapping his hands.
We enjoy the calm sea and watch the still blue air deepen to lavender as dusk falls. Back up at our villa, we have the Royal Box view over the town and its windmills, and watch the lights of the village come up and cast trembling reflections on the calm water of the harbour, and sounds of music drift up to us. Time to move on and test restaurants for you…
“Infinity”, glimpsed through an enticingly cushioned and gently lit covered alley, looks like an interesting new restaurant, but we went for dinner at Bandanna at Kalafati to eat sea-urchin spaghetti and watch the full moon rise out of the sea.
I am in one of the truly magical places of this world, the New Perivolas Suite of the Perivolas Hotel on Santorini, on the rim of the Caldera near Oia. The pearly gates to this paradise are guarded by tall, beautiful glamorous Majda Anderson, who is owner Kostis Psychas’s right hand man. If she likes you, you get to stay here, If she doesn’t you don’t. Luckily she likes me.
From the arched doors of my three room suite, I see my private infinity pool bleed into the calm sea, with the outlying islands of the blown-out volcano silhouetted against the pink sky. Later that night, there is a power cut for 10 minutes, and we have the unique treat of seeing Santorini with its crust of sugary white houses along the cliff edge, all lit up by the full moon alone.
This morning, Majda, Kostis and I climbed into Kostis’s sleek, babe-magnet speedboat, and set off across the glassy sea to have a sneak preview of Kosti’s newest project – the Perivolas Hideaway. This will be the nec plus ultra of hideaways – but I can’t say any more just yet – located on the island of Thirassia. Just a few minutes boat ride from the port under Oia, it is mind-blowingly glamorous in an entirely original way. As the speedboat roared up to the only private jetty in Greece, had he been lucky enough to find himself here, a slow smile would have spread across the face of James Bond – as it did across mine.
After an hour of wandering around in a haze of happiness that such a thing existed, we set off again back to Santorini in the boat, hair flying wildly in the wind, (most unfairly, Kostis is the one who has long, bleached blonde hair).
“Just another bloody day in the office” I said to Majda. I sometimes wonder why I do this job.
In the evening we drove to look at what has to be the ultimate boy’s play-house – a state of the art recording studio where Aerosmith and other rock stars of whom we oldies had never heard, had recorded or partied or both. “Beach??” said the startled owner when I asked where the nearest one was – “I haven’t been there for 7 years…”
One by one, sleepy looking young rocker vampires emerged blinking into the evening sun, looked horrified at the sight, and burrowed quickly back into their soundproof quietly purring spacecraft. The coolest things I have seen for ages – how to rock Santorini. Ask us to show you “Santorini Black” if you are a rocker vampire yourself and want to hire a studio/frat house for a few weeks next year.
We finished off our hard-working day at a wonderful restaurant called Perivoli down on Avis beach at Kamari – the calm sea reflected the island of Anafi opposite, and we had delicate little ravioli filled with white aubergine and soft Santorini cheese, followed by tiny baked apricots with a translucent rosemary sorbet and ribbons of meringue. Santorini offers some great wines, and Majda chose a sensational flowery white, a beautiful purply red – Agiorgitiko grape with Merlot, and then a Vinsanto, the perfumed Santorinian dessert wine. Unsurprisingly I got lost on the way home in the dark….