Santa Marina Mykonos review: inside the celebrity-favourite luxury resort

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 (Oasis Pool Lounge)
(Oasis Pool Lounge)

Mykonos has been a global destination for hedonists since the 1920s when the superyacht set begun holidaying there. Among the ever-increasing celebrity clientele, the island has played host to former US first lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Old Hollywood royalty like Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, and Brigitte Bardot. It’s a must-visit spot on any island-hopping adventure.

While no destination is certain in these crazy coronavirus times, stringent regulations has meant relatively low case rates in Greece and so, the country has stayed firmly among the green and amber lists. To make up for time lost in lockdown, the traditional season has been extended from April to the end of October so if you’re looking for autumnal sunshine, don’t rely on the British weather. Flash your vaccination passport and head for the picturesque Greek party island, known for its nightlife, buzzing restaurant scene and shimmering shores.

When it comes to choosing the optimal bolthole, there’s fierce competition. Santa Marina has remained one of the best hotels for many years and plays host to two of the most widely-regarded eateries on the island; Jason Atherton’s newly opened Mykonos Social and the legendary restaurant-come-club, Buddha Bar.

The lavish resort is simultaneously a place to be seen and yet hide away with the extensive selection of private villas.

 (Santa Marina Mykonos)
(Santa Marina Mykonos)

Where is it?

A luxurious base for your Mykonian exploration, Santa Marina is the only hotel on the island with a private beach. It offers a best-of-both-worlds feel, combining all the things we love most about resort hotels - everything at your fingertips, top-notch cuisine, and a choice of sparkling pools - yet the buzz of the town is a 10 minute drive away. The serene sanctuary boasts panoramic views of the cerulean Aegean sea, the rocky landscapes and beautiful golden sands.

Away from the hustle and bustle, Santa Marina feels like its own corner on the private peninsula of Ornos Bay, well-placed on the southern tip of the island. It sits between the airport and Chora - the picturesque town with cobbled streets, vibey bars, stellar restaurants and indy boutiques. The hotel provides transfers or you can hire ATVs and mopeds to zip around, breeze in your hair.

Mykonos is just a 20 minute plane ride from Athens or three hours by boat. It also has its own airport with regular flights from the UK. It is set in the Cyclades, made up of rocky hills. In Greek mythology, the island was created when Hercules, in his twelve tasks, fought the Giants and threw their defeated bodies into the sea where they transformed into giant rocks.

 (Santa Marina Hotel)
(Santa Marina Hotel)

Style

Santa Marina is festooned with signature Cycladic styling. The buildings all feature stone walls painted brilliant white as standard. The resort is set on a hill where each and every room has stunning panoramic seafront views. They are interspersed with private pools and vibrant greenery.

The relatively muted interior reflects the laidback Mykonian lifestyle with natural materials throughout. The beach-chic aesthetic is achieved with rattan and wood that is interwoven with modern amenities.

 (Lovely Room)
(Lovely Room)

Which room?

There are 101 guest rooms and suites as well as 13 villas made up of two to seven bedrooms.

Splash out on one of the private villas, particularly the Crystal and Turquoise that have just been treated to extensive renovations. They can sleep to 14 guests and feel palatial. The villas host both indoor and outdoor living spaces as well as two exclusive pools. Each room is en suite. The villas are set at the top of the hill and so, boast some of the best views on the island.

 (Turquoise Villa)
(Turquoise Villa)

Facilities

The hotel has not one, but two infinity pools. The most famous and pictured is no doubt the Oasis Pool which has white wicker cabanas set in the water and makes the perfect setting for sunset views and cocktails.

 (Oasis Pool Lounge)
(Oasis Pool Lounge)

The famous Ginkgo Spa has a high spec gym for keeping your fitness in check. Keep sight of the beautiful blue sea while racking up the miles on the running machine. There’s also an on-site hairdresser and expansive treatment menu brought to you by ESPA and now, 111SKIN. The latter is a luxury science-led skincare label founded by Dr. Yannis Alexandrides that offers glow-getting results. Book in for a pampering facial using the brand’s luxury product range. There are five treatment rooms and a sauna.

Food & drink

A new addition to the hotel’s food offering, renowned Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton - the man behind London’s Pollen Street Social and Little Social - has taken up residence from June 2021 with a unique take on Mediterranean cuisine. Brave to serve local cuisine but Atherton’s first foray into the Med has found a way to make it entirely unique, turning traditional dishes on its head.

 (Mykonos Social)
(Mykonos Social)

This is fine dining but in the signature Mykonian way with relaxed vibes and sharing dishes that have an emphasis on starters and impeccable presentation. The meal begins with sourdough and dips where tzatziki is served with ginger instead of garlic and hummus is given a spicy twist - don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Menu highlights also include gazpacho - welcome relief in the heat - but paired with a melon sorbet for an unrivalled freshness, salmon with a bed of orzo pesto and saffron pasta surrounded by deep sea mussels. Save space for dessert where fig is placed at the heart as a tribute to the local area and the Ornos Cube - a chocolate and honey Instagram-ready box-shaped dish - seems to defy gravity.

 (Mykonos-Social by Jason Atherton)
(Mykonos-Social by Jason Atherton)

With the most stunning view of the brilliant blue Aegean Sea, Mykonos Social is also the spot in which the breakfast buffet is served in the morning. The spread caters for all with local, full English and American-style cuisine as well as fresh fruit and a seemingly endless selection of pastries.

 (Buddha Bar Beach)
(Buddha Bar Beach)

It may be a Greek island but Mykonos is populated with Asian restaurants - and the best of the best is the Buddha Bar, set on the private beach at Santa Marina. People travel from all over to dine at the exclusive restaurant and sample the delicious fresh fish. With a view of the water, the restaurant has an elevated luxury feel that is reflected in the price. You get what you pay for here and each and every dish is as sensational as the last - from the signature chicken salad with a peanut sauce to the sushi maki rolls. If you don’t make it for lunch or dinner, go for drinks to experience the electric atmosphere. The restaurant plays host to international DJs and stays open till 2am.

 (Buddha Bar Beach)
(Buddha Bar Beach)

Best for?

The beauty of the Santa Marina is the sheer volume of room types means that anyone from honeymooners, to families would not feel out of place at the luxury resort. The latter is guaranteed with amenities designed exclusively for kids including a pool and playground.

Details

Prices start from €550. For more information on Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort, Mykonos, visit santa-marina.gr

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