Hotel Review: Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort, Ayios Yiannis Beach in Greece
The pop of Champagne being uncorked, the rustle of glitter-studded dresses, the smell of Cuban cigars… Before I jet off to Mykonos, I know what to expect, fully ready to celebrity spot by day and party by night.
And then I arrive at the Mykonos Grand. Built into a hill leading down to the sea, the design is inspired by the island of Mykonos itself, with tiny cobbled lanes winding to each floor and blue and white bringing calm to each space. The resort even boasts its own chapel, like a mini Greek village.
I expect an opulent entrance, but there is nothing garish or over-the-top here. The lobby is a place of understated luxury and modernity inspired by Greek tradition. Cream fur cushions are scattered on a central leather bank below flickering Roman candles, making the wave-patterned floor mosaics glitter and wink.
But there are two stand-out features of every space here: the light and the view. It is a view that invites you to stare and stare, to watch the colours change from sunrise to sunset. And I do just that as I settle into my circular daybed on the balcony, which is suspended from the stone ceiling and sways in the breeze.
I am treated to a suite complete with two marble bathrooms, an enormous crisp white bed and a living room filled with treats. The fruit bowl overflows with strawberries and grapes alongside a glass bottle of the local mastic liquor, and the dvd menu is hugely extensive, making it far too tempting to cuddle up on the sofa and never venture out.
The egg-shaped bath is just below the double windows, making it ideal for ocean-gazing whilst soaking in the bubbles. And the cream and marble bathroom also comes with a steam room facility in the walk-in shower, spreading the scents of the L’Occitane essential oils around the room. The whole experience leaves me feeling cleaner than clean, and very pampered.
When I finally drag myself from my haven of a room, the sun loungers around the pool and on the beach are equally inviting and the views just as picturesque. I enjoy a few lengths in the infinity pool before bracing the slightly rougher waves of the sea on the hotels’ private beach, and finish my spell in the outdoors with a dip in the jacuzzi. Naturally, this was all preparation for the spa.
The treatments inspired by Greek therapies can be enjoyed in the open-air, in a cabana facing the sea, or in the comfort of a treatment room. I opt for a detox massage, which continues the oceanic experience. It begins with a body mask of marine ingredients and I am left wrapped up for the minerals to do their work, stimulating the metabolism and moisturising the skin. This is followed by a calming full body massage to stimulate the lymphatic and vascular system. I am left feeling utterly relaxed and ready to climb into bed.
I awake early for a sunrise run, trusting the handy running map left in my room, and discover a tiny cove along a coastal path. My rural discoveries really challenge the idea I had of Mykonos as a party destination. So I hop on a bus to check out Mykonos Town, ready to see the Mykonos of champagne and glitter.
It cannot be denied that there a designer shops aplenty in the Old Town as well as lots of little bars lining the water, an excellent option for sundowners before hitting the clubs. But there are also the famous windmills reaching up the sky, hidden tavernas to be discovered, a port filled with fishing boats and wandering ducks and tumbledown buildings galore. A little glitz and glam, sure, but the town has managed to retain its heart of Greek traditions and a slower pace to life.
A candlelit dinner in the open-air is an enticing way to end a day of pampering and exploration. I begin with a salmon tartare and a generous portion of langoustine risotto. The raw salmon bursts with citrus flavours and the risotto is creamy and filled with fresh prawns. A salad course follows and I opt for burrata in pesto, curiously paired with sticky Turkish delights. A fresh lobster is brought on a platter and served up with spaghetti for my main whilst for dessert I share a mouth-watering lemon mousse topped with crisped meringue. All of this is accompanied by a wine list filled with rich reds and light whites from both the mainland and islands.
Perhaps one of the highlights to each day at the Mykonos Grand is the long, lazy breakfast, with the waiting staff greeting guests like old friends with a seemingly endless offering of fresh food. I tuck into smoked salmon with Greek cheeses and breads, try the whole gamut of freshly squeezed juices and sample a selection of homemade pastries and cakes each day. This is alongside the made-to-order poached eggs and omelettes, the pancakes with honey fresh from the comb and views of the island of Delos in the distance, said to be the birthplace of mythical Greek God, Apollo.
Indulgent and luxurious…yet the Mykonos Grand is also a true oasis of calm. The design and feel of the resort wonderfully complements the natural beauty of its setting, allowing each guest to simply sit back and enjoy it through second-to-none hospitality. When I close my eyes and think back to Mykonos, I am taken back to the crashing of the ocean, the tang of homemade lemonade and those inimitable sunset colours…
Address: Mykonos Grand, Ayios Yiannis, Mykonos 84600 – Greece