The Best Hotels in Greece
Greece appeals to both mythology nerds and sun seeking sybarites. The New Hotel Athens is a reminder that the Greek capital has a hip, modern side to complement its legendary past. Perched on a cliff over the Aegean, finding the Amanzoe in Porto Heli feels like discovering a modern Acropolis. The jet set head to Santa Marina Resort, which boasts Mykonos’ only private beach. For jaw-dropping infinity hotel views head to the intimate Grace hotel on Santorini and Emelisse Hotel on Kefalonia.
Imerovigli, Thira 847 00, Greece
Some of the world’s most jaw-dropping images of hotel infinity pools have been taken on Santorini, aka the honeymoon island. What makes The Grace stand out? With only eight rooms, 12 suites, and one villa, guests receive the staff’s undivided attention. Even before your arrival, you may be asked whether you’d like to organize a romantic surprise for your partner, or if you’d like your bathrobe to be personalized with your initials. Of course, the hotel’s pool, perched like a bird’s nest over the caldera and the blue hues of the Aegean, makes a pretty strong argument. Guests spend much of their time lounging around its perimeter and dining outdoors on a variety of dramatic terraces. Naturally, all the clean-lined rooms have equally stunning views of the sea and, after a 2016 revamp, are all white with brushed-concrete floors and handmade walnut desks, putting the emphasis on the azure setting. Drop your bags, then grab a cocktail at the Champagne Lounge to take in that sunset everyone keeps raving about.
Filellinon 16, Athina 105 57, Greece
Owned by the world-renowned art collector Dakis Joannou and smartly decorated by quirky Brazilian designers the Campana brothers, the New Hotel is the city’s coolest upscale design-centric property, with 79 rooms (including seven suites) and an intimate restaurant. Although centrally located, just a five-minute walk to Syntagma Square, it’s tucked back in a modernist building on a side street so it feels hidden and discreet. The interiors are both playful and smart; the Campanas created much of it with items recycled from the previous hotel. Imagine puzzlelike walls and chairs constructed of layered, repurposed wood intermingled with sculptural chairs of their own design. In the rooms, they had fun riffing on Greek cultural objects, like the Karagiozis, a shadow puppet, and multiple versions of the glass “evil eyes” used to protect against ill omen. Bottom line: stylish contemporary design, excellent location, and friendly service.
Sofokleous 26, Athina 105 52, Greece
Designed in 2003 by Athens-based Tassos Zepos, the Fresh Hotel is a contemporary nine-story building in the gritty, up-and-coming neighborhood of Psiri. It makes up for its somewhat dated design tricks (think hot-pink Plexiglas reception area, Philippe Starck chairs, black leather couches, and all-white rooms) with its great value for money and trendy rooftop bar. Open from May to October, the roof, with its small pool and sweeping views of the Acropolis, is a popular hangout in the summer for stylish locals.
Romance is easy to come by at Emelisse, on a private beach on Kefalonia. One turquoise infinity pool spills into another before seeming to pour directly into the glittering Ionian Sea. Come evening, dozens of glowing lanterns illuminate the stone terraces and two outdoor restaurants, as well as the open-air cinema. Framed by dark cypress and cedar trees, the suites, villas, and two-story maisonettes cater to every combination of adults and children with teak canopy beds and fine Italian linens. Just as enchanting as the setting are Emelisse’s myriad activities. Guests can sign up for scuba lessons and tennis matches, or take a 25-minute walk to the quaint port town of Fiskardo. If you’re looking for more adventurous pursuits, the largest of the Ionian islands offers everything from steep cliffs and mountains (Mount Aenos is the third highest in Greece) to stunning sand and pebble shorelines.
Ornos 846 00, Greece
On a typical day during Mykonos’s high season, you can see why Santa Marina has cemented its status as the ultimate jet-set destination. Megayachts bob in the bright blue waters of Ornos Bay, and a long pier lined with stylish couples curled up in cocoon-shaped sun chairs gives way to a stretch of sandy beach sprinkled with privileged bathers. In fact, the Santa Marina is the only hotel on the island with its own exclusive shoreline. Just steps away, the whitewashed property’s rooms climb a granite hill that looks out over the Aegean; expect a private balcony and marble bathroom in every space. Two restaurants, a bar, three pools, and a first-class spa and gym add to the country-club atmosphere, especially for those who might have their mini-me’s (wearing baby designer duds) in tow: The underage crowd has a dedicated pool, playground, and supervised kids’ club.
Agios Panteleimonas, Κρανίδι 213 00, Greece
Situated on a seaside promontory, Amanzo’e opens for its first full season in March. The spa draws upon Hippocrates’s holistic health formula of exercise, massage, and bathing in the sea. From $1,423. 30/275-477-2888. This appeared in the January/February 2013 issue.
Kapsaliana 741 00, Greece
Follow the twinkling sconces down a path framed with pink bougainvillea and gnarled olive trees into the complex of stone dwellings that is Kapsaliana Village Hotel. Once an 18th-century village tucked quietly in the hills above Rethymno, the site was abandoned and left to crumble before being renovated by architect-owner Myron Toupoyannis into a low-key resort with 19 luxe yet understated guesthouses in 2008. Surrounded by one of Crete’s largest olive groves, the property is arranged around a turquoise pool that stretches toward the Aegean, providing beautiful backdrops at every turn. Nearby, couples gather on the restaurant terrace with a glass of rosé or licorice-scented raki. Pitharia, or large clay storage vessels, are sprinked throughout the public spaces, while accommodations display historical elements like arched doorways, exposed timber beams, and stone walls. For a real trip back in time, stay in the 1763 olive mill suite, where a breakfast of homemade bread and local eggs and honey is served in front of the fireplace, then visit the village’s 17th-century church and sit in on olive-oil tastings.