The Greek island hotels and resorts to check into for a sea change

With thousands of islands dotting the sparkling azure waters around mainland Greece, there’s little wonder why holidaymakers flock to the Aegan Sea in droves for more than just fun in the sun. The crown jewel of the Greek islands is undoubtedly Santorini, famed for its whitewashed villages, sublime sunsets and theatrical views of the caldera. From the mythical isle of Crete to nightlife-friendly Mykonos, there’s an island for every kind of traveller. Here are ten high-design Greek island resorts for the discerning island-hopper.

Concrete balcony at Vora hotel, Santorini
(Image credit: press)

Vora
Santorini

A quiet residential area awash with spectacular views, Imerovigli in Santorini is renowned for its breathtaking sunsets and has been dubbed the ‘balcony to the Aegean’. Carved into the cliff of the island’s famous caldera is Vora, designed by Athens-based K-Studio, which sits suspended high above sea and overlooking the volcano. Comprising just three villas, the ultra-exclusive property boasts minimalist Cycladic design, custom-made furniture, and a soothing palette of beiges and greys complemented by dark brown wood – and each comes complete with a private plunge pool. Construction machinery could not reach the difficult hotel site, so Vora was hand-built over a four-year period. That’s not to say the hotel is too secluded from action: Imerovigli is located five minutes from the capital of Fira.

Imerovigli, Santorini 84700; tel: 30 2286 025287; www.voravillas.com (opens in new tab); rates: from €533

Andronikos
Santorini

This small but perfectly formed property is perched on Santorini’s highest point in Imerovigli, where London and Athens-based KLab Architects has put a retro-futuristic spin on Cycladic architecture (think The Jetsons meets D’Agostino), a reinterpretation of the island’s cave-houses. Recessed lighting place emphasis on curving architectural embellishments and the calming pastel palette of egg-shell blue and creamy whites. While hotel’s facilities are limited, the upper suite floors feature al fresco Jacuzzis and facials and massages can be conducted in the comfort of your room. We also recommend drinking in views of the Aegean and Santorini’s famed sunsets from the Skybar.

Imerovigli, Santorini 847 00; tel: 30.2286 036545; www.andronikossantorini.gr (opens in new tab); rates: from €280

Guestroom at Andronikos hotel, Santorini

(Image credit: Akiss Pasraskevopoulos)

Casa Cook
Rhodes

Opened in 2016, Casa Cook Rhodes marked the debut property in the Thomas Cook’s collection of breezy boutique hotels. The tour firm tapped architect Vana Pernari and interior designer Annabell Kutucu of Berlin-based design agency Lambs and Lion to create a series of 90 one- and two-storey pool villas in Kolymbia, a small seaside town on the mid-eastern coastline of Rhodes. The hotel has been inspired by the Grecian concept of paréa, ‘the celebration of people coming together and sharing good times’. And that they do at Casa Cook Rhodes, where the spartan architecture is peppered with midcentury Californian touches such as woven straw poufs, rough throws, tasselled hammocks, retro wire chairs and rough cotton. There are five room categories at Casa Cook, all with swim-up pools; except two bungalow suites which have private pools – the ultimate indulgence.

European Union Street, Kolymbia, Rhodes 851 02; tel: 49.234 961038606; www.casacook.com/rhodes (opens in new tab); rates from: €100

Guestrooms by swimming pool at Casa Cook hotel, Rhodes

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Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas
Crete

Set into the rugged cliffside overlooking Daios Bay, this luxury resort designed by 3SK Stylianidis boast 230 spacious rooms, 30 suites and 40 villas. There’s little reason to venture far from the complex thanks to the abundance of recreational options and amenities on offer, including a private beach, two outdoor pools, tennis courts, water sport activities, sailing and motor yacht rental, beauty studio, four restaurants, and more. The spa is a beautiful oasis within an oasis – think punchy sea-blue ceilings, slick wooden furnishings and a lavish spa menu. The hotel also offers a private jet and helicopter service and has a fleet of limousines and chauffeurs.

Agios Nikolaos, Crete 721 00; tel: 30.2841 062600; www.daioscovecrete.com (opens in new tab); rates: from €252

Balcony at Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas, Crete

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Domes Noruz Chania
Crete

This adult-only Crete escape is set on Agioi Apostoloi beach on the shores of a sandy cove, opened in 2016 under the umbrella of Marriot’s Autograph Collection – though it feels anything but a chain hotel, thanks in part to its sci-fi desert-style architecture and pristine gardens. The 83 rooms and suites welcome guests with sweeping windows and striking views of the verdant surrounds. Finished with Aztec-inspired design touches and earthy textures, each room also has its own plunge pool, outdoor Jacuzzi or outdoor pool.

Strati Pantelaki 5, Agioi Apostoloi, Chania, Crete 731 00; tel: 30.2821 505900; www.domesnoruz.com (opens in new tab); rates: from €122

The swimming pool at Domes Noruz Chania, Crete, Greece

(Image credit: press)

Casa Cook
Kos

The sophomore effort of Thomas Cook’s lifestyle hotel brand, Casa Cook Kos features 100 rooms in a series of off-white cubist pavilions, which provide a picture-perfect view of the island’s mountains, white sand beaches, and palm and olive trees. Berlin-based design agency Lambs and Lion looked to build on the resounding success of Casa Cook Rhodes, teaming up the group’s creative director Remo Masala and local firm Mastrominas ARChitecture to bring a ‘village-like feel’ to the Kos property. All rooms open onto a private terrace, while the interiors are dressed in shades of grass, charcoal greys and hessian, and Coco-Mat mattresses. The British travel group has its sights set on Chania for its next Casa Cook opening in 2019 – watch this space.

Marmari, Kos 853 00; tel: 30.2242 440380; www.casacook.com/kos (opens in new tab); rates from: €116

Indoor swimming pool at Casa Cook hotel, Kos

(Image credit: press)

Istoria
Santorini

Comprising just 12 suites, Istoria is one of Santorini’s newest resorts, boasting an enviable location on the black sands of Perivolos beach. The property’s cleverly layered structure– devised by Athens-based Interior Design Laboratorium – means Istoria feels more akin to a Santorinian mansion than a hotel. A striking interpretation of Cycladic island architecture, Istoria reigns in it with traditional architectural elements: floors are bedecked in locally crafted mosaic and forged cement, while the interiors are adorned with handcrafted textiles and wooden furniture. The hotel’s restaurant boasts impressive culinary credentials thanks to chef Alexandros Tsiotinis, who made his name in a number of Michelin-starred kitchens including Noma in Copenhagen and Astrance in Paris. Private outdoor hot tubs and pools – which feature in most of the suites – fulfil the grand-island living fantasy.

Black Sand Beach, Perivolos, Santorini 847 03; tel: 30.2286 085051; www.istoriahotel.gr (opens in new tab); rates: from €390

Guestroom at Istoria hotel, Santorini, Greece

(Image credit: press)

Myconian Villa Collection
Mykonos

Etched into the hillside above Elia Bay in Mykonos is the picturesque Myconian Villa Collection, The architects have injected a welcome dose of minimalist modernity into the typical whitewashed Cycladic palette of the guest rooms, all of which come with sea views and, in most cases, an outdoor jacuzzi or plunge pool. The spa offers a wide variety of treatments, such as thalassotherapy pool and massages and there’s a state-of-the-art gym for fitness-minded patrons. There are no less than three restaurants at the resort, one of which features an infinity pool. No prizes for guessing where you’ll find us lounging come sundown.

Elia Beach, Mykonos 846 00; tel: 30.2289 076000; www.myconianvillas.gr (opens in new tab); rates: from €206

The swimming pool at Myconian Villa Collection, Mykonos

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Olea All Suite Hotel
Zakynthos

One of the most recent design-led additions to Zakynthos, Olea All Suite Hotel sprung up earlier this year on a hillside near Tsilivi Beach. The focal point of the olive tree-shaded property is a lake-like 4,000 sq m pool around which the 93 suites are arranged in whitewashed blocks. Athens and Stockholm-based architecture practice Block722 has complemented the modernist exteriors with earth-hued Mediterranean materials and fittings, such as bamboo fixtures, shredded rattan, stone flooring, and timber furniture. A yoga pavilion, fully-equipped gym, beauty salon, and spa are among the wellness offerings at the hotel, while three restaurants on-site dish up modern Greek, Mediterranean and Japanese fare.

Tsilivi, Zakynthos 291 00; tel: 30.26950 22265; www.oleaallsuitehotel.com (opens in new tab); rates: from €151

The swimming pool at Olea All Suite Hotel, Zakynthos, Greece

(Image credit: press)

San Giorgio
Mykonos

Located just 300 metres from Mykonos’ famously hedonistic Paradise Club, San Giorgio is situated on one of the most scenic areas of the island between Paradise and Paranga beaches. Michael Schickinger and Annabell Kutucu of Lambs and Lion adopted a ‘less is more’ approach when it came to the pared-back, bohemian chic interiors: think off-kilter wooden chairs, traditional Greek woven-top stools, bleach-wood furniture and weighty cotton matelassé quilts. A shining example of traditional Mykonos architecture, the Case Famosa suite is San Giorgio’s most luxurious offering, with a sea-facing veranda and gazebo to boot.

Paraga, Mykonos 846 00; tel: 30 2289 027474; www.sangiorgio-mykonos.com (opens in new tab); rates: from €171

The swimming pool at San Giorgio hotel, Mykonos, Greece

(Image credit: press)