The Hedonist’s Guide to Mykonos—Greece’s Unforgettable Island Getaway
Hit up sexy all-day restaurant and beach bars and five-star resorts that have hosted the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Mykonos is all dressed up, ready to preen and party like it’s 1999. Or, at best, like it’s the summer before a global pandemic drove us apart into pods.
Greece was among the first European travel destinations to welcome back foreign tourists without requiring them to quarantine, given they are fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test—thus the Endless Aegean Summer was born.
Emirates resumed routes between Newark and Athens, enabling a tsunami of hope in the hearts of pale travelers thirsty for sunkissed Grecian shores. And according to Bloomberg, travel-related search terms for Greece hit peak metrics.
By June, the Greek Reporter noted that the bays at Ornos and Psarou looked like “a parking lot for luxurious vessels designed for posh travel on the water,” with more than 50 yachts anchored in Psarou bay; while luxury travel network Virtuoso tallied a 225% jump in new hotel reservations across the mainland and Greek isles.
Luring glitterati for generations, Mykonos proves a seasonal staple with jet-setting celebrities and hot young things drawn to renowned dance clubs. Case in point, Mykonos is Kendall Jenner’s go-to summer chill-out island of choice. And momentum has only grown as Mykonos moves to reclaim its reputation as the prestige party capital of the Med, drawing coveted high-profile guests from around the globe.
The island has long been the seasonal rendezvous point for billionaires, or those simply swimming in disposable income. Little wonder then, that Soho House, the reigning private members’ club of the creative class, tapped this swank location for its newest club and hotel, Soho Roc House.
Set in a sheltered cove on the southern tip of Mykonos, the bright new beacon is housed in the former San Giorgio, fetishistically reimagined by the Soho House team, just a few minutes from the Scorpios beach club that the group recently acquired.
The design of Soho Roc House takes cues from the carefree sensuality of Mykonos; think polished floors, warm, inviting tones accented with timber fittings, and woven wall tapestries.
Like most Soho House properties, the crowning glory is the Pool Bar, complete with lush greenery, and a seamless plaster floor that extends right through the pool. Sun loungers abound, perfect for canoodling couples. Here, barefoot luxury means never having to carry a wallet. At Scorpios, you’ll find more buff Insta-models, trippy beats, and barely-there bikinis than you can shake a squid skewer at.
It’s this seize-the-day vibe that draws real estate impresario Ryan Serhant to Mykonos every season. To say Serhant has gone Greek is a gross understatement. The Million Dollar Listing New York star married Grecian beauty Emilia Bechrakis in an over-the-top episode of a series shot on location in Greece in 2016. With his feelgood bravado and telegenic confidence, Serhant has emerged as one of the most-watched luxury lifestyle property virtuosos.
“You can’t be sad in Mykonos—it’s impossible,” he tells us. “You just have to smile when on the island.”
Serhant’s sweet spot? “We really like Mykonos Blu, and we stay there each summer. It’s a great location, awesome staff, good beach, and food. Other than that, I leave all Greek choices up to my Greek wife!”
The Blu Villas on Psarou Beach are obscenely spacious, giving their budding family room to entertain. Imagine magazine centerfold-worthy villas flanked by cool shaded stone terraces and private swimming pools and you’re halfway there. Whitewashed walls drip with hot pink bougainvillea, cradled by cliffs overlooking the endless sapphire sea.
Optimism around Greece’s vaccination campaign allows for nightlife to mount a comeback. Perhaps the most hotly anticipated debut of them all is from Ibiza nightlife legend Pacha which opened its first hotel outside Spain this summer, Destino Pacha Mykonos.
Pacha’s venues are favored by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gerard Butler, and Michael Jordan, to give you a sense of who may be holding court on any given night; Idris Elba not only held down a DJ residency at Lío in Ibiza in 2018, he also threw down killer tracks at Pacha. The brand new hotel features just 34 guestrooms, including six sea-view suites. Bedrooms feature natural wood, stone, linen, and an abundance of glass to open up the ocean views.
Platters of honey-swirled Greek yogurt topped with fresh figs appear by magic, seamless service of the highest order. Expect its signature buzzy pool scene and an immersive cabaret restaurant Lío, featuring performers prowling among the tables, fusing burlesque, circus arts, and gastronomy in exotic over-the-top displays.
Ready to stoke your inner bohemian wearing next to nothing? You belong at Alemàgou, the sexiest all-day restaurant and beach bar in Ftelia Mykonos. Laid-back and eclectic, yet impossibly elegant with cosmopolitan influence.
We welcome the return of the three-hour lunch while on vacay; think bites of sea urchin bruschetta and a succession of killer sangrias, with a quick dip in the sea before the lobster spaghetti arrives. Resist pestering the resident goat, Maggie. She’s over Snapchat filters that make her look like a unicorn.
Sublime and superfluous, Modern Mykonos is a brand new, ultra-luxury private villa on the exclusive Aleomandra peninsula. A jewel of the Icon Private Collection, the property boasts mindblowing Aegean views. Well-heeled guests fully lean into the fullfrontal hedonism of the estate’s flair for indulgence.
Imagine reclining on soft, whitewashed sunbeds while dipping warm, olive-doused pita into picture-perfect bowls of impossibly creamy hummus. Interiors draw from traditional tones, bright white mixes with natural stones, and decorative motifs. A sprawling pool deck and beach access give big boisterous groups ample room to roam. Active types go Jet Skiing between Negronis and sunset paddleboarding sessions.
Much-buzzed Kalesma Mykonos debuted this season to insider fanfare, atop a hillside overlooking Ornos bay. Only 25 suites and two villas all have a private deck with a pool overlooking the sea. Known for their hotspots in Athens, the seasoned team behind Kalesma are all local to the island; the land has remained in the family of one of the owners for over a century.
The reception area—stylishly outfitted with Rick Owens furniture—sits at the peak of the property, along with the promising restaurant, Pere Ubu. Dive into Cycladic specialties like cheese saganaki spiked with spicy honey, thyme, and roasted almonds.
The house signature cocktail, the Mediterraneo, feels perfect for the climate and is made with Greek Mastiha—a liqueur from mastiha trees found only on the island Chios—infused with thyme and lime. Kalesma’s kinship ethos kicks off with nightly sunset celebrations featuring DJs and culinary events exclusively for in-house guests.
For foodies, Kenshō Psarou is a serious slice of nirvana southeast of Mykonos town. Mykonian award-winning chef, Ippokratis Anagnostelis infuses Greek, Japanese, and Peruvian flavors into modern Mediterranean cuisine.
Think tagliata Japanese Wagyu served up along with equally sinful cocktails. Care to spend the night? Kenshō is home to 31 luxury rooms and suites plus a four-bedroom villa, each bearing a bespoke design. The resort attracts the rich and famous who come to “flock and dock” their yachts and soak up the Grecian sunshine in style. For the crème de la crème, the Grand Suite showcases a phenomenal private pool.
If you prefer to crash where you party, the Belvedere Hotel is a one-stop haute spot on the edge of Mykonos town. Picture a sunbleached labyrinth of hanging balconies, stone-paved paths, and secret hideaways. At magic hour, the pool—a swimming and lounging area by day—transforms into the centerpiece of a buzzing nightlife scene.
Then there’s the beauteous Belvedere Bar, the more-recently launched poolside Sunken Watermelon Cocktail Bar, and the incredibly popular Matsuhisa Mykonos (Nobu Matsuhisa himself checks into the Belvedere during the annual Nobu Food Festival).
Private dining venue Thea Estiatorio lies gracefully above, while the Belvedere Cellar beckons inside. Brimming with a bevy of Mamma Mia! magic, the Belvedere gives your good-time muscles a monumental workout. There’s never been a more meaningful time to seize every day like it’s your last day on Mykonos.
Spotlight: Camilla Akerberg
Scandinavian/Australian model Camilla Akerberg unravels and unwinds on Mykonos, drawn to the laid-back, laissez-faire vibe of the island. The svelte siren-cum-wellness entrepreneur thrives on all the fresh, sunkissed Mediterranean fare, while exploring fitness with locals and global travelers alike.
As a content creator, she also thrives on creating a variety of images showcasing adventurous, playful moments, capturing compelling footage from unusual angles or by drone. The tall-and-toned blonde beauty works with select luxury hotels to emphasize wellness and sustainability, and the sensual beacon of Mykonos never fails to inspire some of her best work.
Her signature style is sexy elegance, and videos that capture and showcase a sense of place, but also the emotional reward of actually being there. As a personal trainer and yoga teacher, Akerberg runs her online business alongside traveling and teaching her own series of fitness and yoga retreats.
Her motto? “Be good to your own body and the environment around you.” For now, you can find her kicking back poolside on a daybed, planning a new series of core-igniting asanas to appeal to her more-athletic private clients
Buying Into Mykonos
Luxury real estate sales on the idyllic island are booming
According to Despina Laou of Greece Sotheby’s International Realty, Mykonos has “become a magnet for affluent property buyers from all over the world”—and it’s not hard to see why.
“Mykonos is known for its vibrant and cosmopolitan lifestyle,” she tells us. “People are drawn to the unique atmosphere and impeccable services the island provides.” Laou notes that “in the second quarter of this year, directly compared with the second quarter 2020, we have seen a 45% increase in enquiries specifically for Mykonos,” with several high-end property deals having closed.
“The countries leading the demand are the UK, followed by Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria, [and] the majority of buyers leading the demand fall within the Gen X age group.” The median value of property requests for 2021 is €2,300,000, or about $2.7 million, which is above 2020 levels.
“Whilst our priorities have changed over the course of the pandemic, the increased trend towards islands such as Mykonos is set to continue,” Laou predicts, “in large part due to the lifestyle offered by such destinations.” The most requested features are sunset views and close proximity to Mykonos town, “whilst privacy and private pools are a must,” in addition to an increasing trend towards indoor gyms.
Sotheby’s currently has a decent amount of inventory on Mykonos, with prices starting at about $2 million for a six-bedroom, six-bathroom villa, going up to about $14 million for Casa Reale, “an expansive property with appealing aesthetic equilibrium both inside and out,” that ranks as one of the island’s loveliest estates, in Aleomandra.
Some of the six master suites have private pools, while others offer a jacuzzi on the terrace, all the better so soak up the world class views. Mykonos attracts its share of billionaire buyers.
CEOWORLD magazine recently reported that Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, one of the richest men in the Middle East, bought two houses on the island four years ago, then recently built another on a plot of land he had also purchased near a site where he also plans to build a five-star hotel.—Jared Paul Stern