On a typical day during the island's high season, megayachts are bobbing in the bright blue waters of Ornos Bay. A long pier, lined with couples curled up in oversize, cocoon-shaped sun chairs, leads onto a stretch of sandy beach sprinkled with privileged bathers. The Santa Marina, Mykonos' unofficial country club, is the only hotel on the entire island with its own private beach. Just steps away, the whitewashed property's rooms climb a granite hill that looks out over the Aegean. After decades of being the island's most exclusive address, Cristiana Papageorgiou, the daughter of the owners, has taken over and recently spared no expense on a complete renovation. Its 101 suites and villas have been modernized with surfaces and furniture of teakwood, plus limestone and roomy marble bathrooms. Two restaurants, three pools, and a first-class spa and gym have managed to maintain the Santa Marina's status as the ultimate jet-set destination, especially for those who might have in tow their mini-me's (wearing baby designer duds). The underage crowd has their own pool, playground, and supervised club.
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The Santa Marina is about one mile from Mykonos’ main town, Chora, well-known as the Ibiza of Greece. Its maze of streets are lined with designer shops and stylish cafés.
Need to Know
Rooms: 101 suites. From $415. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The Bayview Beach Restaurant sits just over Santa Marina’s private beach. On a clear day, the outlines of Paros and Naxos are visible. The cuisine here comes fresh from the sea: oysters, sea urchin, lobster, and a full sushi menu. Other dishes might be a risotto with ricotta and strawberries, or a rib-eye drizzled with ponzu sauce. At a table next to the pool at the Colonial Restaurant, guests can order everything from a burger with fries to modern updates on Greek classics such as a fattoush salad with sumac-flavored yogurt or thyme-encrusted veal. Spa and gym details: The Lotus Spa boasts a broad range of salon, body, and facial treatments, most of which employ the sustainable Greek product line Ila as well as Phytomer/Fleurs. A hamman, sauna, and Turkish bath offer another way to scrub, cleanse, and detox. The Lotus Spa’s four treatment rooms all look out onto the Aegean. The just-renovated, top-of-the-line gym offers Technogym, Cybex, and Power Plate equipment. A tennis court with a private teacher is also available.
Who’s it for: Those not afraid to want it all and who can afford to pay for it, too. Our favorite rooms: Each of the suites has a great view and a private pool. The villas up top require climbing quite a few stairs, so if you’re not up for the workout, book a room closer to the beach. Good to know: Early birds get the chairs on the pier, Santa Marina’s prime bathing real estate.