Travel is well and truly on the brain this month. With many of us transitioning into double-vaxxed life, European getaways can finally become a reality. And the latest offerings from Greece – both mainland and islands – fuse effortless vacation with design-led elevation.
From monochromatic modernism in Athens to contemporary Cycladic architecture in Crete, these are our favourites.
NUMO Ierapetra, Crete
Located in Ierapetra — the area that boasts the most hours of sunshine and the lowest rainfall in all of Greece — is Crete’s latest addition, wellness retreat, NUMO. Its beachfront destination is juxtaposed with evergreen gardens that delicately decorate the design-led rooms inside the chic and contemporary Cycladian facade.
Expect a conscious design that draws the outside in, purposely increasing the mindful experience, with a colour palette that follows suit. The neutral and earthy tones take inspiration from the light grey tones of the beach sand and the gentle greens of the native tamarisk trees that adorn our neighbourhood.
The Modernist, Athens
Housed in the former Canadian Embassy, The Modernist is perfectly situated for those looking for proximity to the city as it provides a convenient base on the southern slopes of Lycabettas Hill. Its decor takes on an undeniably cool tone with a monochromatic palette and warm, tactile finishings.
The Modernist also prides itself on fusing ethics with aesthetics, looking to its neighbours and supporting its local community to ‘create uniquely crafted, heartfelt and holistic experiences.’ See more on the Athens hotel.
Santorini Sky, Santorini
As the name suggests, Santorini Sky sits 2,000 feet above the Aegean Sea and offers unparalleled panoramic views over the crystal-blue waters, as well as the highest infinity pool on the island. Each of its eight elegantly designed villas is finished with high-end touches — spectacular Greek marble is hand-carved locally while minimalist lighting is by Tom Dixon. Each bolthole is fitted with indoor-outdoor showers, private terraces and plunge pools for sumptuous seclusion.
Aristide Hotel, Syros
In contrast to Greece’s typically white-washed Cycladic offerings comes the Aristide Hotel on the island of Syros, which injects bold colours into the mix. The restored mansion, located in the historical centre of Hermoupolis, combines classic and contemporary design.
A dramatic marble staircase and Doric columns highlighting the architectural styles of Greek neoclassical and art deco in the public spaces. In addition to the nine suites, the mansion also hosts an art gallery, an artists’ residence and workshop, and two bars.
OKU in Kos takes the traditional Greek island village and centuries-old architecture as its inspiration. It features a collection of one and two-story cubist buildings, congregating around gardens, patios and pools, that house spacious guest rooms, suites and a handful of private two-bedroom villas.
Inside, midcentury elements are contrasted with naturally tactile textures and traditionally handmade pieces in warm, earthy tones to create a space that elegantly fuses slow-living, mindfulness and minimalism.
Kalesma is one of the latest hotels to open on the island of Mykonos, yet it is the only one with a private pool and terrace in every suite. Both the architecture and design are unquestionably minimalist, but a Cycladic aesthetic runs throughout its spaces. Whitewashed walls, neutral, earthy colour palette and clean-lined furnishings lend a laid-back, low-key glamour.
Unobstructed sea views can be enjoyed from the freestanding tub, offering a comforting highlight.
Shila is a bohemian boutique hotel situated in the undeniably cool neighbourhood of Kolonaki in Athens that revives a late-1920 residential building. The hotel comprises six distinctive suites, each with its own unique character and an old-worldly elegance running throughout. Bold, contemporary design touches and modern amenities are ideal for indulgent self-care.
You’ll also discover original terrazzo floors, high ceilings, reading nooks, and a wild yet quaint garden oozing old Athenian charm.