Greece's Newest Hotels Are Worth Planning a Trip Around

Grecian magic, right this way

Kalesma Mykonos

Courtesy of Kalesma Mykonos

With its dazzling natural beauty and sun-soaked islands, Greece’s siren call is heard around the world. No destination enchants quite like this one: a place where ancient ruins shade white-washed villages; dramatic cliffs give way to sparkling seas; and millennia-old traditions blend with 21st-Century luxury. The country seems to captivate all who visit, be it sun-worshippers, scenesters, history buffs, or foodies.

But for its massive popularity, much of Greece remains quite laid-back. While you can find cruise ships and international DJs in Mykonos, you can also find the simple pleasures—uncrowded beaches, fresh octopus, epic sunsets—like nowhere else in the Mediterranean. There is something so relaxing about the sea-swept archipelago nation, where travelers can truly get away from it all.

And when better to get away from it all than in 2021. In May, Greece was one of the first big-ticket European destinations to lift entry restrictions and welcome vaccinated Americans. Just in time for summer, travelers around the world jumped at the opportunity for a breezy coastal getaway, especially after the less-than-breezy past year. And, despite Greece’s slow pace and deeply rooted traditions, there is nothing staid about the scene: every year promises a new roster of creative restaurants, swanky hotels, and buzzy places to be.

Perhaps buzziest of all, the island of Mykonos welcomed a five-star oasis at the beginning of the summer, Kalesma Mykonos. To enter the island’s highly saturated hotel market is no small feat. Still, Kalesma’s minimalist-chic villas, cascading hillside setting, and high-touch service give it an edge over the competition. It doesn’t hurt that this is the only hotel on Mykonos where every room has its own private plunge pool with a divine ocean view.

Many Greece-bound travelers bypass Mykonos for a more authentic destination, and Paros is often the chosen one. With its traditional villages and unspoiled beaches, Paros is also home to a local airport, meaning visitors don’t have to take a ferry from Athens (many of the islands comparable to Paros are only accessible by boat). This June, Cove Paros debuted as the island’s answer to a refined luxury mainstay. White-washed architecture, earth tones, and infinity-edge pools provide a beautiful sense of place. But don’t be fooled, as the hotel has plenty of contemporary amenities to boot, including well-equipped family suites with private pools and dining areas. Less than a mile as the crow flies, Antiparos, Paros’ little sister island, welcomed an equally lovely boutique hotel in early June. Ideal for wellness-seekers, the intimate Rooster Antiparos offers rustic-chic at its finest (stone walls, canvas rugs, trickling fountains), along with a farm-to-table restaurant featuring vegetables sourced from the "secret" garden. The star of the show is the House of Healing spa, featuring cutting-edge Ayurveda treatments, mystical sound healing, and a yoga pavilion with daily classes. 


Courtesy of Angsana

The aforementioned wellness seekers may also consider Angsana Corfu, the much-buzzed-about debut of Banyan Tree (a collection of refined resorts across the globe) in Europe. The Asia-based brand selected Corfu’s Benitses Bay partially for its postcard-perfect scenery and its royal heritage: the hotel is a stone’s throw from Achilleion Palace, formerly home to Empress Sissi of Austria. Guests are indeed treated like royalty at Angsana, between east-meets-west-inspired treatments at the serene spa; superb sushi and elevated Greek fare at the sleek restaurants; and a sandy beach with sun loungers, a beach bar, and water sports on offer.

Some travel cognoscenti swear that Crete, the country’s largest island, is the most sublime of all. Crete’s dramatic scenery astounds between its snow-capped mountains, sandy beaches, and mysterious caves, one of which is famed as the birthplace of Zeus. The pristine isle upped the ante this summer with two splashy new additions to its hotel scene. The first, the Royal Senses Crete, strikes the perfect balance of barefoot ambiance and contemporary luxury (this is a Hilton hotel, after all). The 179-room resort counts its own beach, marina, spa, and multiple restaurants on its list of appeals; it’s also great for families, with amenities including indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, and a tennis court. Numo Ierapetra Crete is a more understated newcomer located on an untouched beach in southern Crete. Relaxed luxury is the name of the game at this couple-friendly hotel, which is reminiscent of yesterday’s Tulum thanks to its boho-chic decor, lush garden setting, and wellness spa (complete with an outdoor gym and hammam).

Numo Ierapetra Crete

Courtesy of Numo Ierapetra Crete

While Greece is beloved for its tradition and soulfulness, it is full of travelers who return year after year, partially due to its ever-growing selection of places to stay. True, some visitors remain faithful to their chosen Mount Olympus, be it a family-owned boutique hotel, high-touch resort, or a villa. But 2021’s additions are worth considering. You can’t go wrong with any of these luxe newcomers, each of which offers a taste of Grecian magic in its own way.