The Greek Gods must have had it good all those years ago – with the island of Mykonos as their playground. It would have provided just the right mix of glamour, beauty and mischief for the fun-loving deities. But then again they wouldn’t have been able to stay at this incredible boutique hotel in Mykonos.
Taxi-sharing from the airport, we met a couple who proclaimed that we’d just arrived at ‘The best place in the world. Fact.’ (This was their 27th trip to the island). So we were in high spirits as we wended our way around the coastal road, heading north to Agios Stefanos and the demure, cliffside Mykonos Grace, painted in the requisite white. In fact, white is the watchword at Mykonos Grace; from the double-sized sun loungers on the rooftop pool terrace to the flowing cotton uniforms of the super-friendly staff.
Thirst-quenching, freshly squeezed mango juice in hand, we were given our own guided tour of the hotel – spa, lounge with free internet, DVD-packed library, terrace – complete with telescope for nightly star-gazing – and finally our westward-facing room with king-sized bed (white again, of course). A splash of colour is provided by a huge modern painting over the bed and from the balcony – which overlooks the invitingly azure Aegean sea and the island of Delos beyond.
Seriously, is there anyone who isn’t impressed when there are enough bathroom goodies to suitcase-stash a tonne upon departure? The double-basin, tiled bathroom with huge shower was generously stocked with lots of yummy Korres products, but we’d enjoy that later. We had a date with some sunshine first. De-robed and cream-slathered, we emerged once more upstairs at the rooftop pool and claimed our right to the most superior-positioned lounger for sunbathing à deux. With a carafe of Greek white wine and a Mythos beer for Mr Smith, we snacked on baked aubergine rolls stuffed with local manouri cheese and a marinated cherry tomato and grilled halloumi salad. Below us the Aegean glittered in the sunlight and we lazily watched the yachts drift into the town’s harbour to dock for the evening.
Jumping out of our skin as a knock came on our bedroom door, we later woke from our early evening siesta – much needed on this island where the best time to eat is 10pm and the bars are rocking until dawn. Our interruption was a delivery of chilled water – for which we were grateful – even if I did look like a petrified meerkat in the headlights as I opened the door.
As we wanted to stay local for the evening, the handsome assistant manager Costas recommended an authentic Greek taverna up in the village behind the hotel. A steep climb up stone stairs cut into the hillside revealed a traditional restaurant: To Koutouki tou Limniou, where we dined on huge plates of tender barbecued lamb chops, local bread and oil, and the most enormous Greek salad we’ve ever chomped through. We ordered carafe after carafe of the delicious local wine (top tip: carafes are amazingly good value at three euros – don’t order wine by the glass), while raucous groups of locals next to us chattered away in Greek, their tables laden with fresh grilled meat. At the end of supper, the (rather taciturn) waiter brought us two shot glasses of Mastika (a Greek liquor made from the resin of the indigenous mastic tree), a liking for which I developed throughout our stay, much to the amusement of some of the trendier bars on the island.
The next day we headed to Stefanos beach below the hotel, which is dotted with loungers and umbrellas and home to one of prettiest tavernas I’ve ever been to – all baby-blue wooden posts, banquette tables facing the sea and a vine canopy to shelter us from the sun. Ordering freshly grilled sardines, Mr Smith was in raptures, proclaiming they were the best he’s ever tasted, while I washed down yet another tastebud-tinglingly flavoursome Greek salad with more wine.
Whisking us into town that evening, the hotel’s driver dropped us off at the glamorous Santa Marina hotel for dinner. Hollywood stars such as Harrison Ford and Roman Polanski have enjoyed the five-star privacy of this place – and when tasting the food, we discovered why. Dining alfresco, we tucked into exquisite tuna sashimi and California rolls, accompanied by warm sake. OK, possibly a strange choice when on a Greek island, but Mykonos leads the way in the designer stakes; anything goes.
Determined to experience a taste of the island’s nightlife before we left, we took a taxi to the so-called 'Little Venice' area of town. We soon found ourselves in Caprice: a snug bar just by the water’s edge, packed in with hundreds of revellers ordering obscene amounts of colourful cocktails, while a DJ provided a mix of Eurotrash and classic pop. A lethal concoction. Finally escaping at 04h and stumbling through the maze of tiny streets, we hailed a taxi and returned to the peace and privacy of the glorious Grace.
Small but luxuriously formed, the white-hot Mykonos Grace offers an elegant and intimate boutique hotel experience on one of the Aegean’s most vibrant islands. Leaving the next morning (late check-out? ‘Of course, no problem!’), we took one last look back at our cotton-draped king-size and sun-warmed terrace agreeing on one thing: Mission Relaxation accomplished.
Anonymously reviewed by Lucy Cleland (Country-house connoisseur)
Reviews of Grace Mykonos from Smith members
Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…
This is a fantastic hotel with great staff. As other people said, they can not do enough for your. It was our one-year anniversary and I was talking to the manager about us and he mentioned they would make a cake to celebrate our anniversary, I though he was just joking. It arrived with a bottle of bubbly after dinner one night, amazing! No other hotel has such attentive staff with a can-do attitude. We came back very relaxed and can not rave about this hotel enough; also, Mykonos is very beautiful. The rooms are clean and modern and there is even a shuttle service to town whenever you need it as part of their service at no extra charge. They are also very knowledgeable about restaurants and they set up a diving day for me.
It's difficult to say if they can do anything better; I've never seen such a welcoming and can-do staff. Makes you want to come back.
Bruce, BlackSmith stayed on 21 Jun 2013
The hotel is amazing. The rooms were spacious, comfortable and quiet and ours had a lovely view of the sea. The pool was always relaxed yet fun. However, the main thing that makes this hotel stand out is the staff – they were all amazing: at breakfast, at the pool, at lunch and in the evening. They were attentive to our every need – and more. They were really helpful with places to go and visit, car hire and dinner reservations. They couldn't have provided a more personable service.
Nothing – we had a perfect holiday!
Thomas, SilverSmith stayed on 9 Sep 2012
The service was amazing; we felt like royalty from the moment we arrived. I'm not sure if we were lucky with the time of year we went, but it often felt like we were the only people in the hotel which was wonderful. The staff are simply outstanding, nothing was too much effort and it was clear they all loved their jobs. They took great pleasure in taking care of the guests. The food was out-of-this-world, hence barely being able to fit in our clothes by the end of the holiday, but well worth it. We also treated ourselves to a couple of massages in the Spa which were fantastic.
I really have no words of negativity for this hotel, it was perfect and we can't wait to return.
Hannah, SilverSmith stayed on 31 Aug 2012
Grace Mykonos is fantastic. A very beautiful property with amazing staff whose warm and friendly manner with guests makes you feel welcome and at ease as soon as you set foot in the hotel. The hotel facilities are fabulous – beautiful pool area and gorgeous restaurant area by the pool with amazing food. Mussels in ouzo with feta were to die for. The hotel is 5-10 mins out of town so if you’re not hiring a car or bike you need to get a taxi or the local bus. No big deal really but there aren't a lot of taxis on the island so you do have to wait a while at times. There is a nice sandy beach just in front of the hotel. We visited a local restaurant up the hill from the hotel, a recommendation from hotel staff, and the food was excellent. Even though we are too old for the famous Mykonos party scene there are still lots of things to see and do and we enjoyed our stay on the island immensely. It is a beautiful place full of lovely people and we'd recommend a stay at Grace to anyone.
Karen, SilverSmith stayed on 9 Jul 2012