The Greek Islands never go out of style, but 2022 is set to see them return to their glory as one of the most beloved summer holiday destinations in the world. If it has been a minute since you’ve enjoyed a slice of island life, then you’re in for a treat. New stays, from world-class resorts to boutique hideaways, are ready to welcome guests with open arms, sweeping azure views and the freshest of seafood. Some are adult-only havens ideal for that postponed honeymoon, others are designed with families in mind with spacious suites and entertaining kid’s clubs. Whatever your style, there’s certainly no shortage of choice. To steer you in the right direction, Condé Nast Traveller’s editors have hand picked their favourite hotels on the Greek Islands. For more accommodation recommendations, see our round ups by location and type.
A cool, laidback summer hangout
Pure relaxation is difficult to find, but it’s near-impossible not to lean into the chilled-out vibe you feel immediately as you enter Oku’s open reception. Inspired by the relaxed Greek way of life, Oku aims to combine local culture with relaxation, and easily succeeds. Somehow there are 100 rooms in the hotel, but it feels more like 20; the property is wonderfully private, and Greek-style whitewashed buildings blend seamlessly into the open landscape. Guests can choose from rooms with private or semi-private pools (shared with two other rooms, but surprisingly personal), or opt for a larger villa with a roof terrace and sea views. Special mention to the showers, which are some of the best I’ve used in a hotel thanks to the strong waterfall current and moody, stone walls that lean into the minimal aesthetic.
Food at Oku, overseen by executive Chef Mark Vaessen, is impeccable and unapologetically Greek. Salads are topped with crumbly feta and tomatoes that burst in the mouth, while the tzatziki is so good it’s impossible not to order a bowl at every meal. Take your dinners outside where you can watch the sunset – which sets over nearby Kalimnos and is guaranteed to be one of the most stunning you’ve seen – over the hotel’s private beach, with a cocktail made at the bar in-hand. Abigail Malbon.
MarBella Elix, Perdika
Featured on our 2022 Hot List of the best new hotels in the world
It might not be located actually on the islands but from its hilltop location, MarBella Elix affords otherworldly views of Paxos, Antipaxos, Corfu, and the glistening Ionian. Elix’s reception is like a sort of celestial spa, with barn-high ceilings and windows that frame the infinity view. Colorful tapestries hang throughout, infusing the place with local artisanal history, complementing the overall sunshiny modern-luxe feel. From the very popular Greek and Mediterranean buffet to the even more creative Greek fine dining, the food and drink are uniformly local and delicious. Available activities range from kayaking into hidden bays and mountain and coastal biking to alfresco yoga sessions, sailing courses, and snorkelling around underwater meadows. For more, see our full MarBella Elix hotel review. Becky Lucas
Domes Zeen Chania, Crete
The multi-gen crowd pleaser
Originally launched as a Casa Cook hotel last summer, Domes Zeen Chania has since changed hands but remains one of our favourite family-friendly stays in Europe. Palm Springs-style concrete villas designed by Athenian architect group K-Studio – also responsible for Mykonos beach club Scorpios – dot the hillside towards the sea, and there’s a black-tiled pool surrounded by thatched parasols for snoozing under. Some villas have private pools and there’s also a smart spa using Elemis products. The kids’ club keeps little ones entertained, plus guests can take a boat trip or venture into pretty Chania.
Casita Casita, Rhodes
A chilled-out peaceful hotel
Lovely, low-key Lindos, on the south-east coast of Rhodes, tends to be known for two things: the hilltop acropolis with its fourth-century bc temples and the fact that Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour used to have a house here. Beyond that, the fishing village has remained largely the preserve of summering Greek families taking over crumbling villas, so when this bohemian hangout opened quietly last summer, it turned heads. The former nightclub had been abandoned for more than a decade, and architect Vana Pernari found it by chance. Her studio specialises in big projects such as Casa Cook half an hour north and Cretan Malia Park on Crete, but when she began the restoration in 2019, the plan was to create a holiday home for friends. And that remains the spirit of seven-bedroom Casita Casita – the vibe is more house party than hotel stay. Its subtle and knocked-back palette ensures that the richness of the surroundings takes centre stage, and the barren, rocky landscape is broken up only by heady-smelling herbs and gnarled olive trees under which breakfasts of fresh fruit, homemade cakes and Rhodian honey are served.
As you lie by the swimming pool looking up to the castle within the acropolis, the only sounds are the rustling leaves, the cicadas’ sonata and bleats of goats and, if you listen very carefully, the waves – sandy Palestra Beach is a three-minute walk away. Inside, each room references Pernari’s travels around the world; there are carpets from nomadic tribes, Suzani throws, ceramics and vintage vases from various bazaars. The styling is as much about form as function, with crisp cotton sheets, organic mattresses and Apivita bath products made with medicinal plants. Time slows down here, and things just feel simpler – it’s a sensation that makes you wish summer would stretch on and on. George Lagoudakis.
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