If the past year consisted of feeling severe wanderlust and pangs of jealousy towards the family and friends who were able to travel the globe, I’m right there with you! It somehow seemed like everyone was taking an island getaway. So, when I had the opportunity to travel to Finland, I knew I had to make the most out of my trip and explore. I shook off my puffer coat and swapped it for linens and a Mediterranean escape. My week of travel took me to three islands in Greece: Santorini, Mykonos, and Ios. Accompanied by a friend, we traveled via ferry to the best hotel on each island that reflected the beauty of the area and suited our different design aesthetics. Whether you’re booking a solo trip, a family vacation, or a couples getaway, these hotels will fit right in with your travel plans.
As I wistfully look back on the best vacation of my life, I know this trip will put my bucket list to shame—so it only felt right to share it. And, with its newfound Athens Design Forum and a design world obsession with the aesthetic of the islands, we’re betting on Greece’s popularity as a design destination only continuing to rise. So next year, let your couch potato days of scrolling past travel photos on social media go and pack your bags for a trip you’ll never forget.
With over 5 properties, Andronis hotel group is known for offering some of the best accommodations in Santorini. A 30-minute drive away from the airport (I suggest taking advantage of the complimentary pick-up service to avoid car rental mayhem) will lead you to Arcadia Hotel. The property is less than a 10-minute walk from the picturesque village of Oia which you’ll naturally visit to get mark your tourist checklist.
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Design: Pairing a rustic natural exterior and polished interior, Arcadia is an earthy, contemporary haven. The rooms are arranged in tiers, stacked strategically to offer scenic views while providing privacy. For a minimalistic boho feel, rattan and wicker accents stand out in the open-concept floor plan. A low loft king-size bed and daybed make getting a post-pool nap easy. The true star of the show is the view. Behind the suites’ sliding door and neutral linen curtains awaits a private infinity pool and the most breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea.
Atmosphere: Outside of your room, there’s a lovely buzz of energy in the air. You’ll hear laps of water pouring over the pool of your neighbors, music trailing off from the poolside DJ booth, and staff golf carts whizzing by. People-watching is easy with the constant flow of guests checking in and out of the hotel. The gentle bustle of families celebrating birthdays and group couple trips, and friends celebrating vacation gave an inviting pulse to the hotel.
Dining: Pacman is Arcadia’s sunset restaurant, which also provides incredible complimentary breakfast services. At night time, booking is required to enjoy an evening of music, delicious sushi and Mediterranean food (you have to get the sea bass!), and conversations with the welcoming staff.
What to Do: Souvenir shop and more in Oia village, spa, explore the fitness center, rent dirt bikes or ATVs, and go cliff diving.
It’s quite possible that my jaw never left the ground during my stay at Cali Mykonos, a new hotel that’s off-the-grid from the densely populated tourist center of Mykonos town. An eco-friendly gem positioned in the sea of rocky cliffs, Cali Mykonos doesn’t interrupt the natural landscape but invites it in with a self-sustaining water system. The lobby mimics a pristine art gallery with furniture almost too sleek to sit on and modern artwork. It’s a sexy, luxe, and privacy-first treasure for anyone in need of serious alone time where the only distraction you’ll entertain is ordering another cocktail. Redefine leisure with what’s sure to be the exclusive go-to you’ll see all over your Instagram feed.
Design: Reigning high above a private beach and massive pool, the stark white hotel suites and spacious villas deserve to be on the cover of a magazine. Natural materials steal the show within the suite with a blend of wood, marble, and stone. My favorite feature was the bathroom, decked top to bottom in marble (a Pinterest dream come true). Each room includes a glorious terrace with a perforated pergola and a private pool. You’ll be sure to find loads of inspiration in the design-forward oasis.
Atmosphere: Upon arrival, you will meet staff so charming, it feels like you’ve known them for years. There’s a familiar elegance to the Cycladic hotel, extending a warmth you’ll feel right at home in. The crowd consists of medium-sized families, introverted couples, and high-level entrepreneurs seeking a low-key (but elevated) hideaway. Guests will find various activities to participate in but the laidback lull will convince you to hit snooze one more time.
Dining: Breakfast is included at Cali Mykonos, where you’ll enjoy pastries baked to satisfy your sweet tooth. At Cali Restaurant, you’ll find the prettiest plates and fine dining made with local ingredients cooked by a Michelin-star chef, Lefteris Lazarou. If you do leave the property, I suggest visiting L’aragosta (I dream about their seafood pasta to this day).
What to Do: Pilates with Reformers, spa, guided tour to the highlights of Mykonos Island, scuba diving, water sports, olive oil tasting experience, terrace yoga, and wine tasting at Ano Mera Village.
All Access members: Cali Mykonos is offering an exclusive discount! Sign up here.
After you’re greeted by a herd of mountain goats, you can feast your eye on a true castle on a hill: Calilo. One step into this idyll feels like magically disappearing into a beach-themed snow globe. Calilo is the acronym for “create a life you can fall in love with” and the resort lives and breathes by this mantra. You’ll find it etched into the walls, as an installation, or written as affirmations everywhere you look. The sun basks over the rock-built property, exposing the beauty of retreating into nature and strengthening the hundreds of olive trees on the property. Calilo has a slightly untouched vibe, protected from the outside world. Prepare for a tranquil and romantic vacation you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Design: Handmade mosaics (which you’ll find repeated throughout the resort) adorn the walls of the colorful lobby. Though marble, granite, and stone make up most of the structure, there’s a playful breeziness to the oasis thanks to the wave-like cutouts. The swings near the infinity pool are tempting enough to lounge on all day but once you see you’re room, it’s tempting to never leave. Open your door to find a jacuzzi, pool, and outdoor shower matched with a panoramic view of the resort. The generous suite features a gray marble-clad bedroom that flows into a bathroom you’ll beg an architect to recreate in your space.
Atmosphere: I found myself waking up before dawn each morning to soak in the sunrise. Stillness fell over the resort, beckoning time for self-discovery. beach cabana. Calilo is a sanctuary for newlyweds lovers or anyone looking to prioritize self-care.
Dining: Whether you’re interested in eating lunch in a pit-style booth or under a cabana, you’ll happily stuff yourself with Mederrteanean eats (the olive oil alone will have you going back for more). You can leave your room for an impressive buffet breakfast bar at CALILO Restaurant or a dramatic, intimate dinner at CHES.
What to Do: Spa, beach, or travel to the center of Ios. I would suggest doing absolutely nothing.
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