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Greek island icons: the best hotels in Santorini and Mykonos

The most sensational places to stay on two of the trendiest Greek island titans

Clifftop villas hug the hills sprinkled with pastel-painted fishing villages. Infinity pools shimmer under the Cycladic sun. Colour-popping sunsets and dramatic views sweep across the caldera. Santorini and Mykonos have glowing reputations for a reason, and amidst the chi-chi crowd you’ll find some less-is-more luxury hotels which let their location do the talking. Here is our handpicked hotel guide to the most popular Greek island destinations…

Santorini show-stoppers…

Canaves Oia Epitome, Oia

From the villa interiors to the innovative rooftop terraces, the contemporary design at Canaves Oia Epitome effortlessly captures the dusky hues of the surrounding volcanic landscape. Pick out your perfect lounge area and spend the day by the pool – and you don’t even have to leave your villa for this. Awash in natural light, this is the only property on the island that offers both sea and sunset views from the privacy of each of its 24 luxury villas.

Canaves Oia Suites, Oia

The pristine white suites at Canaves Oia Suites are carved into the cliffs and set into the dark volcanic rocks, with glittering private plunge pools and individual terraces. Minimalist and modern, whitewashed walls frame impossibly blue caldera views overlooking the Aegean Sea in spacious, open plan spaces designed with relaxation in mind. The one-of-a-kind River Pool Suite brings the outside in, with a plunge Jacuzzi flowing into the bedroom creating a contemporary oasis.

Canaves Oia Boutique Hotel, Oia

Cut into the volcanic cliff face on the northwest tip of Santorini, Canaves Oia Boutique Hotel boasts some of the most romantic accommodation on the island, mixing traditional Cycladic architecture with contemporary furnishings. Spend your days beside the infinity pool, with the sea and sky stretching out before you. Or, for a truly luxurious way to explore Santorini, take a chartered cruise aboard the hotel’s private, fully crewed sailing yacht.

Santorini Secret Suites & Spa, Oia

Each of the 18 super-sleek suites at Santorini Secret Suites & Spa has a large verandah with a private pool or Jacuzzi to soak up the sunshine and enchanting Oia surroundings. Classic white walls are offset by a contemporary aesthetic with dashes of vivid colour, while the soothing spa treatments can be enjoyed from the privacy of your suite or villa for the ultimate indulgence.

Aressana Spa Hotel & Suites, Fira

Wake to glorious sunshine at Aressana Spa Hotel and Suites, a tucked-away idyll in the handcrafted, cobbled streets of Fira. Discover the spa and enjoy a relaxing body scrub with vanilla and honey. Then, lie on a daybed next to the pool accompanied by the scent of wild flowers and bougainvillea. Lunch in the restaurant on seductively simple dishes made from locally sourced ingredients such as sun-kissed figs, wild saffron, organic olive oil and island wines, before watching the sunset from a luxury catamaran.

Cosmopolitan Suites, Fira

The setting at Cosmopolitan Suites is undeniably romantic with an ambiance within the hotel to match. Each of the ten suites is uniquely decorated in island style with a separate living room and a veranda or balcony to enjoy the stunning views of the caldera basin. Nestled in the heart of Fira, this is a chic and sophisticated base from which to explore the postcard-worthy surroundings.

On The Rocks, Imerovigli

This is true living on the edge as On The Rocks is perched on the cliffs over the deep blue of the Aegean. In an idyllic ‘out of the way’ spot in the pretty village of Imerovigli, the hotel is carved into the rocks high above the caldera basin where every room comes with volcano-facing views. Sip on signature cocktails at the poolside bar, or from a soft blue striped lounger on your very own verandah.

San Antonio, Imerovigli

Set between the villages of Oia and Imerovigli, the luxurious cave rooms at San Antonio are hewn out of the volcanic rock. Rooms are bright and white and utterly seductive with splashes of intense colour to create a warm contrast and all have the most amazing sea views. All at 100 metres above the sea, guaranteeing unobstructed views of the caldera.

Gold Suites, Imerovigli

Set on the highest point in Imerovogli overlooking the majestic Skaros fortress, each one of the rooms at Gold Suites is wonderfully spacious with a bedroom, living area, a bathroom and large verandah with mesmerising sea views. Gold and white décor complements the Cycladic-styled architecture and the Deluxe Suites have their own private heated pool.

Mykonos must-visits…

Bohème Hotel, Mykonos Town

Housed within a crisp white building, typical of the architecture of Mykonos, Bohème has just 20 incredibly chic suites. The laid-back ‘boho’ style of the suites incorporates statement retro lighting, funky 50s-style Acapulco chairs and large, round standing fans that are a reflection the island’s famous windmills. Guests are welcoming into a world of understated luxury with a glass of fragrant lemonade, homemade from fruit grown in the hotel’s walled herb garden.

Mykonos Ammos Hotel, Ornos Beach

A pretty sugar cube property right on the powder white beach at Ornos, live out your ‘sea and sand’ lifestyle at Mykonos Ammos Hotel. The whitewashed interiors centre around the artistic concept of ‘open air’ to reflect the hotel’s seafront setting – step out of your room and walk barefoot right on to the beach, where there’s a relaxed beach bar and rows of sink-into sun beds.

Panoptis Escape, Elia Beach

From its exclusive, hilltop position, surrounded by the wild, natural sun-caressed beauty of Mykonos, Panoptis Escape is an island sanctuary which promises absolute serenity in every sense. Think soft sea breezes, soul-affirming views, mesmerising sunsets and a service as warm and personal as it is laidback and discreet. Bound by imaginative contemporary architecture, minimalist styling and artisan craftsmanship, everything about Panoptis Escape is the definition of ‘less is more’.

Casa del Mar Mykonos, Aleomandra

A beautiful beachfront villa and spa resort, Casa del Mar Mykonos overlooks Glifadi private cove in Aleomandra. Nine elegant villas with sea views provide a high level of privacy, some with a private pool or Jacuzzi. Expect a sea-water indoor swimming pool, a revitalising spa by the private beach and a fully-equipped gym just three miles from Mykonos town.

Archipelagos Hotel, Kalo Livadi

In a prime position on the island’s longest stretch of sandy beach, Archipelagos Hotel is a cool, contemporary haven. The recently renovated interiors are a fresh take on the traditional Cycladic cubic shapes and blue and white colours, while sea-view rooms and suites come with wonderful views across Kalo Livadi Bay from private balconies and terraces.

Mykonos Riviera Hotel & Spa, Tourlos

Tucked against the rocky backdrop of centuries-old Aegean cliffs, the tiered Cycladic white buildings of Mykonos Riviera Hotel & Spa are designed to make you look outwards from the moment you arrive. Each nautically-styled room offers panoramic ocean views from private terraces – and when it comes to soaking up the atmosphere, you’re spoilt for choice.

Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort, Agios Ioannis

Dazzling whitewashed, cube-shaped buildings scattered across five acres form Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort, a restful beachfront retreat facing the sacred island of Delos. Flowing white drapes create a canopy above the beds and in front of the windows in the generously sized rooms, most of which have wonderful views of the sea. Named after the Greek goddess of healing, Althea Spa Retreat has been designed to bathe wellness-seekers in sunshine – the treatment rooms make full use of the natural light while a semi-caved thalasso pool gives way to Aegean Sea views.

De.light Boutique Hotel, Agios Ioannis

While reflecting the island’s traditional cubic, whitewashed architecture, De.light Boutique Hotel manages to incorporate soul-stirring sea views from every angle. Set above Agios Ioannis beach, this contemporary, all-suite boutique hotel provides a peaceful and intimate bolthole with a tempting infinity pool, a poolside cocktail bar and a fine dining restaurant.

Petasos Beach Resort & Spa, Platis Yialos

A sophisticated resort set on a breathtaking private peninsular surrounded by the Aegean, Petasos Beach Resort & Spa benefits from the most superb sea views. The heavenly two-tier outdoor pool is linked by a waterfall and surrounded by inviting loungers, while the à la carte restaurant is designed for romantic dining overlooking the sea whether inside or out.