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Greek hotels: Where heaven meets Hellenism
Greece can now boast some of the most stylish and well-run hotels in the world. Robin Gauldie selects 16 of the best on the mainland and on the islands.
Story from Telegraph Travel
Hotels in Greece just get better and better; in more than 30 years of visiting the mainland and islands, I've never known such a wealth of great places to stay. Below are my favourites in a range of categories.
On the beach
Aldemar Olympian Village, Skafidia (26210 82000; www.aldemarhotels.com; from £105).
The only hotel on one of the longest beaches in Greece on the west Peloponnese coast, an hour's drive from Patras, this huge, full-board resort has apartment-style rooms built around several pools. If buffet-style dining palls, escape to one of the small tavernas just across the road or along the beach. Very busy in high season, but go in spring or autumn and you can have the hotel facilities – and the beach – almost to yourself. Be prepared for the badly designed website: to find individual properties, you have to click "sitemap" at the bottom of the home page.
Oceania club, Halkidiki (23740 99500; www.oceanclub.gr; from £192).
This new, 297-room all-inclusive luxury resort at Nea Moudania in Halkidiki (30 minutes from Thessaloniki airport) has a 380-yard private beach, a dozen restaurants, bars and lounges, tennis courts, entertainment for children and its own spa. Unlike most big Greek resorts, it's open all year.
Lakki Village, Amorgos (22850 73253; www.lakkivillage.com; from £57).
This village of one- and two-bedroom family apartments, owned and run by the formidable Nikki, on Aegiali beach, is an affordable beachcomber's option on one of the best long, sandy beaches in the Cyclades.
The water is warm and shallow, the bar-restaurant tables are right on the beach, and the pretty garden supplies most of the fruit and vegetables. Whitewashed Egiali village and its harbour are 10 minutes' walk away (Nikki meets all ferries with her minibus). The only downside is the disco-club less than 100 yards away, which stays open late in July and August.
Luxury spa hotels
Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas, Crete (28410 63000; www.lhw.com/elounda; from £309-454).
Two private beaches (the only ones in Crete) and a choice of rooms, suites, and private villas with heated pools or private beach decks, complemented by a new spa centre, several excellent restaurants and a great jetty bar, and a marina for private boat trips. Around 45 minutes by limo from Heraklion airport.
Knossos Royal Villas, Crete (28970 27400; www.aldemarhotels.com; from £136).
At Limenas Hersonissou on Crete's north coast, around 30 minutes's drive from Heraklion), this complex of super villas has an award-winning Royal Mare Thalasso spa offering a host of treatments and programmes (including one devoted to the veins on your legs).
Danai Beach Resort & Villas, Sithonia peninsula (23750 20400 www.lhw.com/danaibeach;
This is a small and very elegant hotel (55 suites, five villas) at Nikiti on the Sithonia peninsula, about an hour from Thessaloniki. It has a full service spa and a range of pampering programmes and a great choice of watersports.
Rooms with a view
Epohes, Peloponnese (21062 36150; www.epohes.gr; from £56).
Getting to this eyrie in the tiny village of Ambeliona is a nerve-wracking experience involving winding roads and sheer drops. But the views of a pocket mountain wilderness cloaked in thick, chestnut forests will also take your breath away. Ambeliona is a complex of restored stone houses with its own restaurant; the village has a taverna and a swimming pool.
Katikies Hotel, Santorini (22860 71401; www.katikies.com; from £313).
All hotels on the west-facing cliffs at Oia on Santorini share the mind-blowing view over the ancient, flooded caldera - one of the world's great outlooks - but Katikies, with its white-themed rooms (some with a whirlpool), and the best service on the island is my favourite. Simply one of the world's best small luxury places to stay.
Amphitryon Hotel, Peloponnese (27520 70700; www.lhw.com/amphit; from £242).
Looking out over the mirror-calm bay of Navplio (you might even spot dolphins) and its island castle, the 45-room Amphitryon is in the centre of the prettiest small town in mainland Greece. It's a good base, too, for exploring Mycenae and the Argolid. The hotel's swimming pool is closed for reconstruction, but guests may use that at a neighbouring hotel.
Rooms for romance
Mediterraneo, Megisti (22460 49007 www.mediterraneo-megisti.com; from £60).
For romantic isolation, this pretty, tiny, multi-coloured hotel on the edge of the loveliest island harbour in Greece, is unbeatable. There's no pool, but there are comfortable quayside sun-loungers and a bathing ladder to dazzlingly clear blue water two steps from your door. Megisti, which has an airport, is just off the Turkish coast, within easy reach of Rhodes.
Chromata, Santorini (22860 24850; www.chromata-santorini.com; from £181).
Bilbo Baggins goes Miami: the rooms of this Santorini hotel are carved into the side of the cliff, painted in shades of turquoise, shocking pink and gold, with faux-leopardskin highlights. Some have their very own plunge pools - next to the beds (yes, it's silly but delightful), and there's a table for two on a glass deck above the pool.
Theoxenia, Mykonos (22890 22230; www.mykonostheoxenia.com; from £181).
You'll feel transported back to the 1960s in this gorgeous, Pop Art-Deco hotel. It is located next to Mykonos's famous row of windmills and is a minute's walk from the restaurants and bars of "Little Venice". Rooms at Theoxenia are more like suites, with lots of luxury touches; there's a big swimming pool, and service is excellent.
Nikos Takis Fashion Hotel 22410 70773; www.nikostakishotel.com; from £151).
Decorated in harem-style high camp glamour by Greek designer double-act Nikos
and Takis (they've dressed the likes of Joan Collins, Elizabeth Taylor,
Sophia Loren and Jackie Onassis - you get the picture), this new boutique
hotel is just inside the walls of Rhodes's Old Town, opposite the Palace of
Epoque hotels, Athens
Epoque Hotels, based in Miami, has three very hip properties in Athens:
Fresh Hotel 26 Sofokleous Street www.epoquehotels.com; from £109, book online).
It's the rooftop pool that really makes this colourful new 133-room hotel on the edge of Psirri a superior Athens base – that, and the Magenta restaurant with its new take on Greek cooking, and two trendy bars, Orange and the Air Lounge, where you can mingle with the hippest of the Athenian hip.
Art Hotel Athens 27 Marni Street (www.epoquehotels.com; from £80, book online).
Almost painfully stylish (but very affordable), this eclectic, colourful and convenient 30-room boutique hotel is within walking distance of the National Archaeological Museum and the city hub of Omonia Square. Each of the 30 rooms is individually decorated.
Ochre and Brown, 7 Leokoriou Street (www.epoquehotels.com; from £159, book online).
The place to be for the urban buzz of Psirri (the Soho of Athens), Ochre and Brown has its own glam lounge and 11 rooms, suites, a penthouse and a stylish bar-restaurant. Rooms are very Elle Deco, with wet-room bathrooms and internet access. Athens's hottest new bars and restaurants are on the doorstep, the Plaka and the Acropolis are 10 minutes' walk away.
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