Words by Carly Glendinning
Discovering the tranquil and family-friendly side to the glamorous island of Mykonos with a stay at the Myconian Collection
It was Jackie Kennedy that first brought the jet-set crowd Mykonos, an island that’s since become a glittering beacon of glamour in the middle of the Aegean Sea. A cosmopolitan crowd of celebrities holiday on the Greek isle, but the buzz has always focused on the exclusive clubs, the crazy parties and after-dark bar culture. So I was intrigued to discover that the destination has a more tranquil and peaceful side, perfectly suited to both blissed-out babymooners and new parents in need of a relaxing family getaway.
The Myconian Collection, has no less than ten of the leading luxury hotels on Mykonos (three of which are members of Relais & Châteaux) in its portfolio. We are staying at the 5-star Kyma, which has been awarded status as a Design Hotel. The 52-room, 29 suite property has an intimate 1960s feel, alive with colourful modern art and quirky furniture, carefully curated and collected from all over Europe. The rooms and suites are beautifully designed, some boasting terraces with private pools and Jacuzzis – which would be perfect for kids to splash about in. Cots and any other essential baby accessories you need can be arranged on request.
On the first morning I am woken by the light streaming in through my balcony doors. Shining down from a blazing, bright blue sky, I am struck by the almost magical quality of the beams cast by the sun. The hotel overlooks the hillside of Mykonos Town, and I have panoramic views across the famous 16th century windmills, the pristine white cubic houses and out to the glistening sea. I can already feel my internal body clock resetting to the slow rhythm of island life.
We eat breakfast in the newly-refurbished George’s Bar overlooking the idyllic pool area, a gentle breeze cooling us from the heat of the sun. Families with babies and toddlers trickle in, and the staff make a huge fuss of them – this is a hotel that clearly welcomes little ones.
The Myconian Collection was founded in 1979 by George Dakylides and his wife Eleftheria and today it’s run by their four sons. It’s a true family business and it really comes across in the exceptional service. Absolutely nothing is too much trouble and the hotel really delivers on looking after your every need. This is luxury on the next level, and guests can take advantage of the concierge, private dining, limousines and even helicopter and private jet charters.
The hotel can also arrange a car to take you to the other properties, and we love being able to dine in a different restaurant every night, hangout by the seemingly endless picture-perfect pools and visit the island’s beautiful Elia beach (where the Myconian Collection has a private section with complimentary sunbeds). The proximity to the coastline makes the properties on this side of the island perfect for families.
All of the hotels offer a fine dining experience and we enjoy meals at four of the restaurants during our stay. NOA at Kyma combines traditional Mediterranean flavours with a gourmet twist. Using the freshest farm-to-table ingredients, the Greek mezethes (including fried squid calamari, fava beans with octopus, lentil salad, moussaka, pasticcio and dolmades) is delicious. All dietary requirements can be catered to and there’s a special menu for kids on request. If you prefer to dine without your little ones, a babysitter can be arranged.
During our stay, I also visit the sanctuary that is the hotel’s Satori spa for a morning of ultimate relaxation. First up, 50 minutes spent soaking in the five thalassotherapy pools. Drawing on the cleansing and curative properties of seawater (praised since Greek antiquity), each pool has different therapeutic salinity contents (including lavender and aloe vera) and uses hydro-massage to soothe the skin. Afterwards, I have a heavenly full-body massage in a cosy treatment room filled with twinkling lights. The spa uses Elemis and Ligne of St Barth products and boasts a long list of cutting-edge beauty treatments. For couples, the spa has a special bed in the shape of an oyster (one of only five in the world). And if you’re pregnant, they can tailor a relaxing massage according to your trimester.
Kyma is such a haven of relaxation, that no one would blame you if you flopped onto one of the floating sunbeds in the pool and didn’t move for the rest of your stay. However, if you want to explore the culture that the island has to offer, the hotel can arrange a number of curated experiences for you. On the second day of our stay, a car takes us to Rizes, a traditional folklore farmstead located in the beautiful undulating countryside of Ano Mera. Mykonos local Nikos and his wife Yiota have created a peaceful hideaway, where you can learn about the history of island life, take riding and cookery lessons, bake bread and enjoy the farm’s produce. It makes for a fun day out for children, who are encouraged to join in with the farmstead’s activities.
We also spend an afternoon with a tour guide, exploring the pretty cobbled streets of Mykonos Town (another curated experience on offer from the hotel). In the daytime, it has a relaxed feel, with lots of great boutiques, cafes and restaurants to while away the time.
Afterwards, we take a boat to Delos. The neighbouring island is home to one of the biggest archaeological sites in Europe and is said to be the mythological birthplace of Apollo. The island’s ruins encompass Doric temples, markets, an amphitheater, houses with mosaics and the iconic Terrace of the Lions statues – which are overrun with beautiful wildflowers at the time of our visit. But it’s the magical light that people have travelled here for centuries to soak in.
As the sun sets across the Aegean sea, we get to admire the glistening view out to Mykonos – an island forever etched in my memory for being as glamorous as it is tranquil.