These hotels, resorts, guesthouses and B&Bs in Athens, Crete, Rhodes, Santorini and more will make for a happy return to holidaysJohn MalathronasSat 10 Jul 2021 11.00 BST
Prices are for one night in mid-July unless stated otherwise
Athens and Peloponnese
This new boutique-art hotel is in a listed building and Greek-American artist Philip Tsiaras has curated a selection of his paintings for each of the 19 rooms. It’s close to the ancient Kerameikos cemetery, a hammam, the marble-hewn synagogue of Beth Shalom, and the Museum of Islamic Art. The Acropolis Terrace has views over the ancient landmark. There is an indoor pool, too. The two-course breakfast menu features eggs “kayana” (with tomatoes) and Nutella pancakes.
Doubles from €129 B&B, asomaton.com
In a peaceful, pedestrianised sidestreet near Monastiraki metro, this is a no-frills hotel. There’s no reception but a multifunctional lobby, where staff roam with tablets to check guests in and out; and it doubles as a breakfast room. The patterned wallpaper decor nods to its history as a cloth factory, while sunshine yellows, creams and light blues make the 23 bedrooms appear bright and large. They’re surprisingly quiet, given that the hotel is near the centre of Athenian nightlife – which only gets going after midnight. Families love it for its pet-friendliness and for its suites for up to six people; plus there’s a babysitter on request.
Doubles from €99 B&B, athens4.com
Coco-Mat made its name in Greece manufacturing beds, pillows and mattresses using natural products, before it diversified into hotels. This is its modish flagship in Athens, in fashionable Kolonaki, with 39 rooms and suites, plus a showroom on the ground floor. If you thought choosing a pillow was the latest thing, here you can have a choice of bed: jot down your weight, height, sleeping position and body shape to request a Tailor-made Sleep in advance. The hotel is within walking distance of the major sights, as well as bars and restaurants. Buffet breakfast is organic – and there’s a great Acropolis view from the roof garden.
Doubles from €135 room only, cocomatathens.comAdvertisementhttps://cf7a0958fbf1eba74ce71323bc07fe8a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Monsieur Didot, Athens
Named after the creator of a Greek font that typesetters used to produce incendiary pamphlets leading to the Greek revolution in the 1820s, this boutique hotel is an 1890s neoclassical design, with six spacious, high-ceilinged rooms, parquet floors, spiral staircases, window grilles and Juliet balconies. Rumoured to have hosted John Lennon and Yoko Ono during their 1969 Athens trip, it’s low on facilities – take breakfast in your room, many cooked dishes carry a charge – but scores high for atmosphere and its central location.
Doubles from €149 B&B, monsieurdidot.com
Kinsterna, south-east Peloponnese
Among vineyards, olives and citrus trees, this hotel overlooks the south-eastern coast of the Peloponnese, with views towards the granite rock of Monemvasia, “Greece’s Gibraltar”. The main building occupies an old Turkish judge’s house, whose amalgam of Byzantine, Venetian, Ottoman and Greek features speaks of its chequered history. Although it made its name through its award-winning spa – offering, among others, cryotherapy treatments as espoused by Cristiano Ronaldo – the hotel later expanded into personal experiences: guests tread on grapes during the wine harvest, bake their own bread in an old wood-fired oven and make their own soap with herbs from its gardens.
Doubles from €225 B&B, kinsternahotel.gr
Finikes, south-west Peloponnese
An off-grid campsite, Finikes hit the spotlight when the former Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras stayed here with his family in 2017. At Finikounda in south-western Peloponnese, it’s a simple beach resort with honey-hued beaches, space for 80 campers, and 16 sizeable bungalows with their own bathrooms, cooking facilities and verandas. It borders a sandy beach shaded by mulberries, poplars and olives, and there’s a cafe instead of a loud beach bar. The low-key restaurant is still supervised by the Iosifelis family – longtime managers of the property.
Camping €13 for two in a tent, two-person bungalow €60 room only, finikescamping.gr
Opora, Argolic Gulf
An agritourism farm with four detached houses divided into six residences amid orange and olive groves, Opora combines rural understatement with all-mod-cons comfort. For swimming there’s a small pool and, if the Nafplio town beach, 5.6 miles away, feels trifling, the seaside resort of Tolo is seven miles further on. However, Opora is ideal for archaeological sightseeing – Mycenae, Tiryns, Epidaurus and Corinth are a short drive away – and for immersing yourself in local culture. The hotel runs seminars on beekeeping, cooking lessons and wine tastings in the nearby Nemea region, famous for its reds. There are also daylong excursions, including to the islands of Hydra and Spetses.
Doubles from €90 B&B (minimum two nights), oporacountryliving.com
Central and North
Hotel Racconto is on a private hill overlooking Parga – a resort whose sugar-fine beaches and jade-coloured waters surrounded by thick vegetation could pass for the Caribbean. It’s decorated by renowned Greek designer Panos Petridis in Aegean white that contrasts with the green surroundings, and even sports a meditation space. Rooms feature the surreal art of Greek photographer Amalia Sotiropoulou, while the dinner and breakfast menus have been devised by chef Ektoras Botrini, whose Athens restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star.
Doubles from €161 B&B, minimum three nights, racconto-hotel.com
Pelion Homes, Mount Pelion
These eight villas, plus a mansion, on the western side of the Mount Pelion peninsula are mostly scattered around the village of Agios Georgios Nilias. All but two have private swimming pools. Guests can either holiday in privacy, combining spectacular treks in the thick woods with swims in the lake-like waters of the Pagasetic Gulf, or join one of the retreat programmes, whose workshops focus on yoga, meditation and wellness, mingled with nature-based experiences, such as mushroom picking and herb foraging (half-board provided).
Self-catering villa for two from €90 (minimum three nights),pelionhomes.com
Makedonia Palace, Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki’s grande dame, host to VIPs from Vladimir Putin to Hillary Clinton and Catherine Deneuve to Selena Gomez, has emerged from a long renovation with impeccable eco credentials – even the lobby fireplace uses plant bioethanol – and a feisty character matching its signature cocktail: dark rum, lavender syrup, passion fruit puree, lime and fire water. A modernist icon in a privileged position on the waterfront near the museum district, it has an outdoor pool and two multi-award-winning restaurants that lean on a fusion of Italian and Greek cuisine. Special deals mean that its star-studded glamour is more affordable than ever.
Doubles from €171 B&B, makedoniapalace.comAdvertisement
Mikro Papigo 1700, Pindus mountains
This is a luxury hotel in one of the remote Zagorohoria, a grouping of 40-odd villages inside the Vikos-Aoos Unesco geopark in the Pindus mountains of northern Greece; the “1700” refers to its altitude in metres. The location, under the Tymfi massif, is a gateway to exceptional hiking around the Vikos gorge. Its 18 rooms and suites constructed of wood and local granite – recycled from old, dilapidated houses – are typical of Zagori’s austere architecture. The award-winning eco-spa operates with mountain spring water, and the Veranda 1700 restaurant puts local produce, such as hare, wild boar and buffalo, to imaginative use in dishes such as penne with trout, ouzo and cream.
Doubles from €120 B&B +€25 half-board (minimum two nights), mikropapigo.gr
Alterra Vita, Halkidiki
A cosy yet sophisticated family B&B, Alterra Vita is less than a mile from the lively resort of Neos Marmaras. The five spacious rooms, with even more spacious bathrooms, are packed with decorative features designed by Afroditi, the family grandma, and fashioned by local craftsmen. It is close to the sand and pebble Paradisos beach on the second of the three prongs of the peninsula of Halkidiki, renowned for its pine-fringed sandy coastline, including the Blue Flag beaches of Neos Marmaras and Lagomandra. One of Alterra Vita’s main draws is its yacht, whose experienced skipper, Kostas, organises swim-and-snorkel day trips to coves and islets. Another is the breakfast spread, served in the leafy garden.
Doubles from €118 B&B (minimum three days), alterravita.com
Oia Mansion, Santorini
Visitors to Santorini are usually ready for a splurge, and while it’s not cheap, teaming up with friends to rent Oia Mansion bags the best spot for watching the sunsets: take it all in from the roof, immersed in the whirlpool bath or spread out on a beanbag listening to music out of the Sonos speakers. High ceilings, oak floors and antiques grace the rooms, a reminder that this is still the home of the ship-owning Nomicos family. A complimentary breakfast is cooked every morning, concierge service is 24/7, and a cook is available for hire, with meals from €70pp (vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian menus available).
For 8-10 guests, €2,047 a night room only, minimum 1-4 nights depending on season, oiamansion.com
Manoulas Beach, Mykonos
Manoulas Beach on Agios Ioannis is proof that Mykonos doesn’t have to be expensive. Shirley Valentine was filmed here and put the island on the radar of sun, sea and fun. This is a family resort, with a closed bay offering protection from the wind (although the seductive bright lights of Mykonos town are 2.5 miles away). Manoulas has taken advantage of the Covid hiatus to renovate almost everything, so that it feels as if the hotel opened only yesterday. Book suites 100, 200, 300 or 400 for their unforgettable views of the sacred island of Delos.
Doubles from €180 B&B (minimum two nights), hotelmanoulas.gr
Kos Aktis, Kos
In Kos Town, Kos Aktis is a stylish modernist pad that started off as a Xenia, one of a chain of state-run hotels built by the Greek government in the 1950s and 1960s and since privatised. As the state knew where to build them, Kos Aktis hogs the top spot of the town beach, while all 42 rooms and suites have views of the Turkish coast opposite. The hotel excels in gastronomy, with its Italian-slanted bar-restaurant H2O a regular meeting place for townsfolk, and a good reason why guests should seriously consider the four-course half board (+€23pp).
Doubles from €203 B&B, kosaktis.gr
Surf Club Keros, Limnos
Surf Club Keros believes in sustainability without sacrificing excellence. Accommodation ranges from safari tents to yurts with private bathrooms, and activities include yoga, paddleboarding, sandboarding and windsurfing. The programmes include women-only sessions “to support and grow the women’s surfing community”, and the seven-day accessible adventure holiday “Keros for all”, for people with physical disabilities.
Safari tents for two without bathroom from €40, breakfast €12pp, surfclubkeros.com
This country guesthouse by the eponymous taverna in the village of Monolithos is the perfect base for day trips to the less tourist-trodden south of Rhodes. Now in the hands of the second generation of the Papastamatiou family, it has 10 themed rooms for 2-5 people, furnished in Rhodian style. And, at an altitude of 985ft, it’s guaranteed to keep you cool even during a heatwave; indeed, it takes its name (The Lair) after a cave used by the Resistance during the second world war. Breakfast (€10 extra) is a must, as everything is village-fresh: make space for pounghes, cheese and spinach pies cooked in a wood-fired oven, and for the pine-scented honey sourced from local beekeepers.
Doubles from €53 room only, limeri.gr
Onar Andros, Andros
Achla on the island of Andros is one of those hard-to-get-to but worth it beaches: visitors must charter a boat from the capital, Chora – so choppy weather makes it inaccessible – or drive along a five-mile dirt track that many consider the worst in Greece. Onar comprises a cluster of 17 wood-and-stone cottages amid a protected area whose un-Aegean landscape of forests, waterfalls and creeks feels more Swiss than Greek. A chef cooks meals sourced from the garden, or through local butchers and fishers. There are hikes to local landmarks on well-marked trails. Or simply go for a swim.
Cottage for two, €290 B&B, onar-andros.gr
This hotel is at the Almyrida fishing village turned resort, whose shallow, sandy beach is ideal for children. Guests at the 66-room family-run hotel can also use the facilities of its luxurious sister, Almyrida Residence, next door, including a tenpin bowling alley, an infinity pool, a spa and the Thea gourmet restaurant with its sea views. But it’s the excursions here that are unmissable: a swim in the turquoise waters of the Balos lagoon, a loll-around on the pink beach of Elafonissi, and a wine-tasting session at the nearby Dourakis winery to sample the local grapes of Malvasia, Vidiano and Vilano.
Doubles from €105 B&B, almyridaresort.com
Delina Mountain Resort
Crete means beaches to many, but the villages on its central mountain range are far more interesting and unspoiled. Delina Mountain Resort lies on Mount Psiloritis, inside the eponymous Unesco global geopark, a world of deep gorges, primeval rock plateaux and caves, one of which is said to be the birthplace of Zeus. Relax and recuperate in the resort’s 13 suites – there’s a spa, a sauna, a hammam and a small Venetian lake – and choose from activities such as birdwatching, caving and sea-kayaking. Dip into local culture during the music evenings, visit glass-blowing and weaving workshops, and the 17th-century Vossakos monastery that belongs to the monastic republic of Mount Athos.
Doubles from €69 B&B, €88 half-board, delina.gr
Royal Marmin Bay
An 88-room five-star resort just off the tourist hub of Elounda, there is much to commend this place for … This is the first certified energy-efficient hotel in Greece, using solar panels for heating water – which, recycled, ends up spraying the gardens – while insulation and efficient heat recovery are employed to perfection. Dining choices include a sushi bar, a buffet restaurant and a la carte fine dining; there’s a pool bar or beach bar below; and guests can play backgammon while sipping strong Greek coffee in a traditional coffee house. Art lovers will treasure the summer exhibition featuring Dutch-Greek artist Christina Chatzideve.
Doubles from €311 B&B, royalmarminbay.gr
Leeda’s Cottages, Zakynthos
These 12 villas and cottages, split between a farmhouse and buildings nearby, are a labour of love for the Giatra family, who’ve owned the farmhouse for generations – if you look closely you’ll spot cornerstones from 1821. There’s a restaurant that serves Zakynthian food – literally farm-to-table – while twice a week there’s a barbecue where the guests hang out like an extended family under the shade of orange, lemon and medlar trees. Kids will delight in the company of wandering goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, peacocks and the lone donkey, while adults who need to recharge with neon and loud music can pop over to the mega-resort of Laganas, three miles away.
Cottage for two €760 B&B for four nights (the minimum stay), leedas-villas.com
Paxos Beach, Paxos
The tiny island of Paxos is said to have been torn apart from Corfu by Poseidon, so that he could enjoy some quality time with his wife, Amphitrite. Little has changed since … Hotel Paxos Beach, offering 42 minimalist-modern rooms and on an idyllic bay a mile from the capital, Gaios, is all undisturbed tranquillity. Laze on a deckchair by the large pool, play tennis, swim from the private beach or tramp off into the surrounding pines, olives and orange groves. The restaurant serves Ionian specialities, such as veal sofrito (traditional stew).
Doubles from £128 B&B, paxosbeachhotel.gr
Fzeen means “living well” in ancient Greek, a name that befits this health-spa-cum-resort comprising 61 rooms and two villas on Kefalonia’s Lourdas beach. Don’t come here if you just want to pootle around: there are morning hikes and beach jogging, three yoga decks – each with its own personality – and a spa offering 13 pages of treatments. Living well also means eating well, and the food in the two restaurants is impeccable, while soft drinks are wellness-based, with names like Cleanse, Antibacterial Shot, Açaí Rejuvenator and Herbal Retreat. All this comes at a price, but all gym and yoga classes are inclusive, and you can join its membership scheme to get immediate discounts.
Doubles from €346 B&B, fzeenretreat.comAdvertisementhttps://cf7a0958fbf1eba74ce71323bc07fe8a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Hotel Arcadion has the best address in Corfu Town: in the Liston, an historic area inspired by the Rue de Rivoli in Paris. This family-run hotel also lies opposite the Spianada, Corfu Town’s main square, whose cricket pitch – one of only two in Corfu, and in Greece – is used by13 clubs. The 33 rooms are charming, the rooftop bar offers a wraparound view of the Unesco world heritage-listed Old Town, all the way to the Albanian coast, and the ground-floor bistro offers creative Greek cuisine curated by chef Alexandros Lepesis: menus include moussaka with smoked aubergines topped by yoghurt bechamel; thirsty souls should try the homemade lemonade with agave.