Written by Tiffany Bowne – Lounge Couture an affiliate of All Star Travel Group
If you haven’t been to Greece or are thinking of going back there, there are some fresh new hotels on the scene as well as some refreshed favorites. The long-anticipated opening of the Four Seasons Astir Palace is all-the-buzz! I was lucky enough to be one of the first agents to stay there and it’s spectacular. It’s about 25 minutes outside of Athens in the elite area known as the “Athens Riviera”. It boasts large swimming pools as well as beach. Perched on a hill cascading down to the water, the hotel offers magnificent water views. It’s sure to be a hopping scene during high season! The rooms are contemporary, design oriented with deep soaking tubs and amenities. If you are ok not being in the heart of Athens or if it’s not your first trip to the city, this option offers a fresh, current luxury experience. A visit to the Acropolis and new Acropolis Museum is a must do for any trip through Athens.
I did a little island hopping starting with Naxos. Naxos, being one of the largest inhabited islands in the Cyclades, is a contrast to the touristy and sometimes glamorous Santorini and Mykonos. It takes you back to old world Greek island life. There is no true 5-star property here but there are some lovely boutique options as well as gorgeous villa rentals available. Naxios Collection offers a high-end boutique hotel feel with excellent service, hand crafted cocktails, cooking classes and a warm friendly environment where guests love to chill after a day of sites. Naxos is known for agriculture like cheese, wine and fresh fruit and vegetables. A drive to Apeiranthos Village is so enchanting and strolling through the marble walking street a delightful afternoon!
Santorini and Mykonos are the Greek islands most people want to see and explore. Santorini is stunning with its white buildings set in steep volcanic cliffs. Be warned if you are scared of heights, you will be challenged here! The sweeping ocean views and spectacular sunsets are to be enjoyed by all. It can be difficult to get around in peak season between the number of cruise ship passengers and traffic congestion. Wandering the streets of Oia, shopping for handmade local crafts, and stopping at a café are moments not to be missed. Canaves Suites is a superb 5-star option right in Oia and its sister property Epitome is outside of Oia by 20 minutes and can accommodate families and guests who are looking to be out of the hustle and bustle. Other favorites are Katikies right in Oia or Kirini Spa Suites that is walking distance to Oia but set a little outside of the crowds. I love both properties! Most of their rooms have incredible views with private pools – which is the dream and worth the splurge! Make sure you have lunch at Ammoudi Bay at Sunset Restaurant for a magical lunch on the bay.
A trip to Greece is not complete without Mykonos – one of Europe’s summer hot spots! This island in contrast to Santorini has a more chic, beachy scene. It has trendy restaurants and beach clubs and Mykonos Town is fun to explore day or night! Santa Marina Hotel is the true luxury option with a private beach, Buddha Bar restaurant beachside, luxury rooms and villas and an excellent spa. This is the grand dame of the island. In the last year, Katikies opened a gorgeous hotel overlooking a quiet bay. The rooms are spacious and most have private pools. I loved this hotel with two swimming pools, a daily DJ and excellent cuisine. If you need a night close to the port or cruise ship terminal Cavo Tagoo and the new Riviera Mykonos are the perfect choices depending on your preference. A beach club visit to Scorpios or Nammos is worth an afternoon to experience the Mykonos “scene”.
Greece is on everyone’s list and is a wonderful country with an island to peak anyone’s interests. Make sure you give yourself enough time to enjoy your next trip without too much moving around. Settling into Greek life is part of the charm!