This Mykonos resort feels like a Cycladic village with top-notch service – Robb Report


It is fascinating to think that just three-quarters of a century ago visitors to Mykonos would have encountered an island quite similar to the one its first settlers, the tribal Ionians, encountered when they waded ashore 10 millennia before. : an arid and inhospitable island. -point of beaten earth in the Cyclades with little to recommend except the shimmering azure of the Aegean sea kissing its shores.

Mykonos became a bohemian playground in the late 1950s, with a tony party scene developing around whitewashed cubism in its main town and sheltered horseshoe-shaped alcoves in the south of the island . Then, in 1961, Jackie Kennedy, who had become the world’s top influencer decades before anyone had heard of hashtags, visited her sister Lee Radziwill. Grace Kelly, Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren followed, and Mykonos “went viral” among those in that echelon of post-war society who tended to use the word “summer” as a verb.

Kalesma Chapel and Main Pool

Courtesy of Kalesma

Nowadays, despite Covid complications, Mykonos’ population of just over 10,000 is joined by over a million tourists each summer, drawn to the island by its enduring glamor factor, its chichi shopping (independent boutiques and big brands), architectural splendor, progressive values ​​(there’s an abundance of gay bars and nudist beaches) and a concentration of luxury hotels that leaves would-be visitors with an agonizing choice to make.

The latest jewel in the island’s hotel crown is Kalesma, a cluster of 25 suites and two villas that descend, like giant tiered marshmallows, down a slope to Ornos Bay in the southwest of the island. Designed by Greek architectural practice K Studio (which are also at the origin of the airport of the island), in collaboration with masters of decoration Studio Bonarchi and co-owner, Thessaloniki-born restaurateur Aby Saltiel, Kalesma evokes the spirit and friendliness of a traditional Cycladic neighborhood. It’s a nod not only to the island’s indigenous way of life, but also to Mykonos’ aforementioned status as a center of gravity for post-war bohemian hipsters: those early tourists were staying with the locals. and immerse themselves in the local family culture.

Kalesma Resort Mykonos Pool

The main pool, overlooking the Aegean Sea.

Katerina Avgerinou

In keeping with the spirit of village design, all common areas are contiguous, from the fortified foyer so loved by pre-prandial cocktail sippers to the Aloni Sunset Lounge and Pere Ubu Restaurant. a spacious bar (actually the resort’s ‘plateia’ or town square), which is flanked by an elongated infinity pool overlooking Ornos Bay. The result is a friendly atmosphere that somehow maintains Kalesma’s signature jasmine aroma, which emanates from the property’s 26,000 local plant species. From bougainvillea creeping through openwork trellis partitions, inspired by the island’s many dovecotes, to lemon and olive trees imported from all over Greece; basil, mint and local herbs used in the kitchen also add their own flavors to the olfactory chorus.

This community spirit is reinforced by the absence of any form of hierarchical order between the guests. Unless you’re in the three-bedroom Apollo Villa or the four-bedroom Artemis Villa, all suites are identical in size (678 square feet with 969 square foot terraces) and share a geometric layout with the traditional houses of Mykonos. They all have plunge pools as well as open-air showers and, because the resort sits on the spine of the Aleomandra Peninsula, sunset and sunrise views (king-size beds are angled way to maximize your enjoyment of it). Spa treatments (which are offered alongside private yoga and Pilates, as well as personal training sessions) can take place in the room, though a dedicated spa is currently under construction. A private chef and butler are also available to villa guests upon request.

Kalesma Resort in Mykonos Suite Lounge

The living room and the entrance of the Villa Apollon

Courtesy of Kalesma

Decor-wise, whitewashed walls are juxtaposed elegantly with dark tiles, wooden beams and bamboo ceilings, a muted overall color palette interrupted here and there by marble and stone tables. carefully outraged lava beds, plus original Rick Owens furniture and artwork (including oddly seductive flyers). charred wood wall sculptures). Also expect ceramics by Serbian artist Aleksander Vac and tastefully quirky equine touches here and there, like wall sconces made from bridles and lit using horsehair handles — a nod. look at the sacred structures of Deli where Apollo, as local legend has it, stabled his horses.

Admiring the sunrise from your wrought cement bathtub should really become a daily ritual, but even the most accustomed early risers are likely to be seduced, throughout their stay, by a nightlife just 10 minutes away. of road. Kalesma’s staff, a collection of accomplished and discreet professionals, are always ready to take guests along the unique two and a half mile route to Mykonos Town. A bar-hop along Little Venice, the waterfront district, is recommended, with BAO offering the least obstructed view of the sea and Galleraki offering the most shelter from that notorious wind.

Kalesma Resort in Mykonos Room

The master bedroom on the first floor of Villa Artemis.

Courtesy of Kalesma

For day-trippers, the famous row of windmills, built by Venetian settlers in the 16th century and used to grind wheat until tourism colonized the island’s economy in the mid-20e century – are a pleasant pre-dinner excursion, while those who consider reading classical antiquity a must on a visit to the Hellenic Republic can take the 40-minute boat trip to Delos, a sacred island , believed to be the birthplace of Apollo, where some of the ruins of the ancient stone hut date back to the 3rd millennium BC. The concierge, meanwhile, is a source of knowledge of lesser-known restaurants and shops, which of the island’s 800 or so little churches are worth visiting, and which part of the coast is best suited to the weather. do. His ever-hardworking front desk colleague can also arrange private yacht charters and helicopter transfers on request.

However you choose to spend time off the resort, you’ll want to return to Kalesma for dinner, a dining experience that eschews fusion fashion in favor of local dishes that are as authentic as they are delicious. Customers are captivated from the moment the waiters pull out the entrees; think local horiatiko psomi breads baked on-site in a brick oven with ingredients like smoked and spicy feta, house-made tarama, tzatziki and melitzanosalata, plus sardines wrapped in vine leaves. Roasted octopus with spicy homemade sausages, black garlic, onion-vinegar syrup and black hummus will have foodie visitors craving chef Zacharias Kopridis for the recipe.

Kalesma Resort at Mykonos Fire Pit

A fire pit and outdoor seating on the property.

Courtesy of Kalesma

As with Venice, arriving by boat at this wonderfully friendly, pulse-pounding resort town does wonders for that all-important first impression. Choose this option – and there are opportunities for mooring yachts in the bay – and the name Kalesma, which translates to ‘inviting’, will resonate from your very first glimpse. black tomato can arrange four nights in a Kalesma suite from around $3,650 per person, including flights, private transfers and breakfast.

Check out more photos from Kalesma below.

Kalesma Resort in Mykonos Bar

Courtesy of Kalesma

Kalesma Resort in Mykonos Patio

Courtesy of Kalesma

Kalesma Resort at Mykonos Fire Pit

Courtesy of Kalesma

Kalesma Resort in Mykonos

Courtesy of Kalesma

Kalesma Resort in Mykonos Sunset

Courtesy of Kalesma


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