My father’s family were an old and not very ambitious Greek shipowning family- hence my working for a living. His generation though knew how to live well, and was the generation which “discovered” Mykonos, fell for its gorgeous little port with its maze of alleys, its hillside all hedgehog-prickled with windmills and dovecotes, rosy-pink in the sunset. They fell for its timeless stone walls that snaked across the landscape, fell for its bounty of golden sand beaches, the clear, open gaze of the old Mykonian captains, the songs, dances and the simple dignity of its celebrations.
Brand Mykonos is now known all over the world; the luxury, the style, the glamour, the dining, the shopping, the music, the hotels, the clubs, the service, the crowds, the modernity, the hype, the excess…. Five Star Greece bows to no-one in its admiration for some of what Mykonos has to offer, however, a little part of us was always a bit nostalgic for what Mykonos used to be before the party started. So, on my last trip to Mykonos, we were happily surprised to find that in some ways, Mykonos is going back to its roots – is the pendulum is almost imperceptibly swinging back to a simpler and more natural aesthetic, in keeping with the global mood?
Back to roots – literally and metaphorically; “Rizes” is a farm to table, family enterprise and the word means “roots” in Greek. Maroulio Zouganelli’s family rear the animals and birds, keep pigeons in the original “peristeronas” – the famous decorative dovecotes of the Cyclades, grow the vegetable and herbs, make the wine and the oil, it is all simply and perfectly cooked by the chef, and enjoyed in a peaceful setting that is rural island Greece. A world away from the coastal excesses.
Maroulio, the manager.
If you quail at the thought of the second rate, over-priced accommodation that afflicts much of the island in high season, let me share with you now the fruits of our trip, fruit gathered from the older trees with deep roots – the charming older properties that have got lost in the sea of new and shiny luxury, but have that indefinable charm and magic.
Far from the bustle of Mykonos town, but conveniently close to Rizes, is a laid-back beach house, our Mykonos ML, where the main entertainment is watching the moon rise from the sea. The owner carefully and lovingly collected old tiles, reclaimed doors, timber, marble fragments, and with an artist’s eye has created a uniquely low-key hideaway. Designers and fashion folk are the main guests here, and no one is crass enough to ask for a gym or media room.
If a private beach isn’t enough, you do want a gym, spa and a media room, want to feel the proximity of nature and tranquility but be close to the action, we can promise you an unforgettable stay in Mykonos Q, a newly restored, classic beach villa – not at all shiny, and with every possible luxury – gym, wellness centre, home cinema, hamam, two professional kitchens al fresco, private beach,and an emphasis on quiet good taste, quality materials and the sort of soothing service that wraps its guests up in a cocoon of fragrant bliss.
The daughter of one of Mykonos’ grandee families now runs a small style empire between Gstaad, London and Athens – and her Myconian home showcases her good taste and exudes the quiet elegance that marked Mykonos out from the crowd.
Mykonos AM, perched on its rock, shines like a beacon of old-school style and class- the owner is beautiful and zen, so is the house, so pack your yoga kit and ask us about it.
On a similar theme, Mykonos AQ gardens area a riot of waving, scented blooms and flowers which almost hide the expansive yoga pavilion – ideal for a yoga retreat.
Looking for seclusion and privacy, low-key comfort and a beach close by? Behind the massive sea wall of Mykonos CC lies a charming and light-hearted family villa within walking distance of an overlooked beach and close to the cult taverna “Kiki”.
Mykonos AK is one of the rare villas we can wholeheartedly recommend for families wanting an affordable yet pampering Mykonos experience. Above Lia beach and with sublime views, the hospitality here is warm and friendly.
Mykonos NZ has all the charm that one would expect from its bohemian, old-school owner, again, one of the original Mykonos crew:
One of the glories though of Old Mykonos is the fabulous Mykonos 23Z – belonging to one of Mykonos’ most influential families, it has a unique location in town that money cannot buy, while the discreet and international nature of the current generation shows in the deceptive simplicity and faultless good taste of the decor. Like having your private boutique hotel.
Ask the team for more information about where to experience Mykonos’s back-to-essentials vibe.