Five great Greek boltholes to book
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
Tinos’ contemporary new take
Tinos is for hikers; Tinos is for lovers. Really, with its sweeping views, traditional whitewashed Cycladic towns and never-too-packed beaches, it’s a pretty great island for just about anyone. New to it for this coming summer is Pnoēs, a Design Hotels debutante for the avowed modernist. There are just three accommodations – sculptural, ultra-contemporary villas with indoor-outdoor living rooms and big hammam-style baths, all designed by Aristides Dallas, who divides his time between studios here and in Athens.
Pnoēs brings the privacy and autonomy of a self-catering option, embellished with the hotel services you want: daily housekeeping; a concierge who knows the top tables and hidden coves; and, coming in July, private chefs to take care of all your sundowner and dining needs, with – naturally – fresh produce from the chef’s own gardens. And the sea is just 500m away. designhotels.com, from £260
A “beach club with rooms” in Halkidiki
The brand-new Domes Noruz Kassandra, on the peninsula of the same name in Halkidiki on the Greek mainland, bills itself as a “beach club with rooms” – which, for a lot of holidaymakers, is a pretty winning formula. At 182, the count of those rooms (which keep it gratifyingly simple: white walls, white linens, light-wood floors) is high, so an intimate boutique proposition this isn’t. But the adjacent attractions tick all the boxes for those keen to spend as much of their holiday as is possible engaged in sun- and sea-bathing.
The beach extends five kilometres, abutted by a large pool and featuring a handful of adjacent drinking-dining venues that don’t require more than a brief stroll from your lounger in the sand to reach: a raw bar, a pita “canteen”, a seafood grill and a champagne bar among them. You can work it all off at the property’s open-air gym, and be pampered in the Soma Spa with Greek botanical-oil massages. domesresorts.com, from €126
A hidden gem in mainland mountains
The mountainous Pindus National Park – one of the least known, and least visited, in Europe – might not be the most intuitive of Greek-summer destinations: deep in the mainland’s interior, miles from the sea, surrounded by the severely beautiful peaks and high-altitude alpine forest of the Pindus Mountains. But Grand Forest Metsovo, a family-owned and -managed hotel just outside Metsovo village, has a compelling story to tell. Its owners, the Barmpagiannis family, turned their near-500 acres of property here into a sustainably built mountain lodge, with just 62 suites.
Their goal since opening in 2013 has been to create as many ways as they can for guests to connect with nature, whether with extensive hiking, horseback riding or mountain-biking routes in summer (the local Ursa trail is recognised as a best-in-Europe leading quality trail by the European Ramblers Association). There are also truffle hunts in autumn, or skiing (yes, there are some decent local runs) and fireside après relaxation, complete with gorgeous massif views, in winter. But all the creature comforts – Gault-Millau-calibre dining in the restaurant, Metsovo 1350; a fine collection of malts and cigars in the Pines lounge; and body and facial therapies based in local botanicals and spring water in the Fontus spa. grand-forest.gr, from €170
Kastellorizo’s chic new casa
Kastellorizo is a bit of a Dodacanese melting pot: much closer to Turkey than it is to mainland Greece, just a few miles from Kas on the Antalyan peninsula, and a former Venetian stronghold (which accounts in part for the architecture, and the cheery palette of the buildings’ façades). Art collector Nicoletta Fiorucci’s presence on, and investment in, the island has trained the spotlight on it a bit since 2020; now a new and very haute six-suite inn promises to bring it more attention.
Casa Mediterraneo is a sister property to Kastellorizo’s Mediterraneo Hotel; its owners, Marie Rivalant-Lazarakis, Grégoire du Pasquier and Luc LeJeune – managing director at design-architecture firm Studio Noor – envisioned an elevation of what the hotel offered, and set about restoring three adjacent mansions not far from the shoreline. Each suite occupies an entire floor of one of them; inside, walls are limewashed, floors are cement tiles or pine timber, bathroom sinks are salvaged from old hammams, and vintage furniture is upholstered in hemp linen that the local farmers use to make fruit-gathering baskets. Light flows through 2m-tall paned windows that frame village vignettes and views of the hills above the sea. casamediterraneohotel.com, from €140
On Milos, the tastemakers’ preferred escape
And here’s a perennial, but still somehow a bit off-radar, favourite, to wrap up: Skinopi Lodge, Milos, is a favourite of some of travel’s most followed tastemakers for a reason. It sits just above the sea, in an archaeologically protected area. It’s private, bordering on remote, with almost no other houses in view, but there’s easy access to the village of Skinopi, should need for provisions – or the urge for a sundowner – arise.
It’s long on an airy, low-key style – equal parts contemporary and elemental, with poured-concrete floors and stone walls – that suits the landscape and climate perfectly. The three villas – Elias, Kapari and Lavanda – have outdoor kitchens and indoor-outdoor showers: Kapari is perfect for couples, while Lavanda accommodates up to three adults and can be set up for small children. Or just take over the whole property and bring all your friends of all ages; we know people who’ve combined every type of group and stay here, and they all come away enchanted. skinopi.com, from €390