Mykonos Grand, Mykonos
Small Luxury Hotels of the World member Mykonos Grand fully lives up to the adjective, especially since a full renovation which was completed in 2015. It’s just uphill from secluded Agios Ioánnis beach, of Shirley Valentine fame, and 4.3km southwest of town. The hotel is arrayed in tiers, looking over the Delos and Rínia islets to superb sunsets.
The three low-rise wings of this large resort hotel are set amidst mature gardens, its lush lawns planted with cypress, mulberry and palms leading down to the pebble beach, stooked with tropical-island umbrellas, below. Set at the north end of Moraïtika on Corfu’s east coast, it fringes of one its best beaches. Plenty of on-site facilities include tennis courts and beach watersports. Children are well catered for, with a playground and games room, plus dedicated pool and activity programme.
A four-star resort on Agía Paraskeví beach that's tastefully modern without being outré, with wood tones and white surfaces foremost in six grades of rooms, suites or maisonettes (the latter fitting up to five). The original architect family who designed and built it still runs it. Common facilities include two pools, extensive lounges, and sweeping sea views south. Breakfast, served by the main pool, includes baked goods and traditional egg dishes like strapatsáda.
Kontokali Bay Spa and Resort, Corfu
On the isolated Toúrka Peninsula, Kontokali is behind a pair of sand beaches. Common amenities include a large, elevated salt-water overflow pool, plenty of loungers for the beaches and poolside, a freestanding spa with indoor pool and gym and watersports out of the private port.
St Nicholas Bay, Crete
With superb views over Mirabéllo Bay from its landscaped grounds, this stone-clad building is on Crete’s Nisi peninsula. The sandy coastline is limited to one little cove – flanked mostly by a terraced lido below the beach bar – but there’s a full watersports programme, scuba school on-site (accepting children over eight) and charterable 34-foot sailing boat (€850/day for up to 12 people). The cove is very sheltered and safe.
Four Seasons Luxury Suites, Hydra
The Four Seasons is a six-suite boutique hotel behind one of Hydra's better beaches, whose big pebbles belie its name (Plákes means 'slabs'). It's very peaceful, well out of town, so head-bangers need not apply – there are few better spots to just relax and unwind. It’s a romantic hideaway, and popular with wedding parties and honeymooners. Expect quality jazz on the restaurant soundsystem, beautiful grounds and numerous sun loungers on the beach, which offers decent snorkelling.
Delfino Blu, Corfu
The hotel is on the north edge of Ágios Stéfanos Avliotón resort, looking across the straits towards the sunset and Mathráki and Othoní islets. It’s an intimate, contemporary boutique hotel, flavoured with honeymooners and wedding parties. The pool terrace overlooks one of the best parts of the local sands, kept manicured by Delfino Blu’s beach bar.
Read the full review:
Minoa Palace, Crete
Beachside, especially so since the annexe – a somewhat austere building but better shielded from road noise – was built. Guests now have immediate access to the north-facing beach, which gets a good surf. Choose from 14 categories of rooms, including those with mountain or sea views, bungalows with private pools and Suite 301, with its giant veranda lookins out to the Ágii Theódori islet. Don’t miss the luxurious basement spa.
Golden Beach, Paros
This unobtrusive low-rise hotel sits behind one of the longest sandy beaches on the island, a mecca for windsurfers. The style is Cycladic garden-party: the hotel’s lush lawn, fronting the bar-restaurant and studded with wicker lounge furniture, plaited-reed umbrellas plus a few trees, extends uninterruptedly down to the sea. Understandably, it’s a popular wedding venue.