Named after the owner’s mother, Cali Mykonos is a family business with heart. Blood, sweat and many sleepless nights have entered this new boutique hotel.
With 40 suites (and luxurious private villas on the way), Cali is located on the sleepy side of Mykonos with its own private beach and small fleet of boats. Evasion does not improve.
A 2 minute drive from Mykonos airport on the quieter, more rustic side of the infamous party island.
Although not for long, One & Only and Four Seasons are also building hotels in the area. Nestled between the beaches of Kalafatis and Agia Anna, it is a serene place to recover from the night before. The Scorpio of Soho House is only four miles away, for those who are so inclined.
Conceived by Athens architects STFN Labs, the hotel and its 40 suites are modeled after a traditional Greek village with its whitewashed buildings staggered along the hilltop all overlooking the tiny but spectacular Kalafatis Bay (to which guests have private access) and out beyond the shimmering Aegean ocean.
The design is clean and neutral, with local artwork displayed throughout (some are even for sale in the hotel’s expensive but super chic boutique).
The soothing whites and grays only serve to highlight the deep blue of the curved infinity pool (the longest on the island) and the ocean below. Essential luxury made to look simple.
This summer was something of a soft launch for Cali, so while the state-of-the-art spa is still being completed for next season, in-room treatments can be booked through Whatsapping the concierge. We had a manicure, a unique but exceptionally good full body massage from masseuse Stelios and a morning yoga session with Nektaria on our terrace.
There is also a high quality gym, and while we couldn’t deal with it in the heat, we were told there are several picturesque running routes around the hotel.
Of course, you can’t get to a Greek island without stepping out to the ocean. The Cali fleet is available for private half or full day boat trips, perfect for visiting Mykonos beach or visiting any of the other Cyclades (Delos, Rhenia, Tinos and Paros). Lunch, fresh fruit and plenty of wine and beer.
Back on land, he awaits a difficult decision: beach or swimming pool. A free private beach with sunbed service and crystal clear waters is unknown in Mykonos, where beach clubs charge € 500 for a bed for the day. But the pool, oh the pool! Curved to mimic the local stream and with sweeping views of the horizon, it is a masterpiece.
Now this is where Cali excels. The mixologist Leo, who was snatched by the hotel owner (Kyriakos) in a bar in Athens, is a supreme talent. By day he prepares almost magical concoctions in his laboratory and by night he serves some of the best cocktails we’ve ever tasted. Pure and garnished with many of the herbs grown around the hotel he talks about the quality of the drinks we never even had a hint of a hangover.
Under the guidance of Michelin-starred chef Lefteris Lazarou, Cali serves refined Mediterranean classics in its one restaurant. After the sweet and addicting grilled octopus, garlic prawns and fresh Barbounia, be sure to leave room for dessert. Confectioner Konstantina Tzempetzi is a real talent and we ordered her hazelnut profiteroles every night.
For lunch, fuel up for another afternoon of blissful nothing with a mushroom and truffle pizza or perfectly dressed Greek salad at the pool bar.
Most of the 40 rooms and suites have private saltwater pools and views of the Aegean below, but not all, so be sure to book a premium or deluxe pool suite.
There is a lot more to Mykonos than partying, although you should make time for that too. Active types can try their hand at horse riding or one of the many water sports offered on Elia Beach.
Foodies should book an olive oil or wine tasting at Ano Mera village. Head to Kiki’s Tavern (no reservations, but the owner will provide free cold rosé while you wait) and Spilia (Elon Musk was there the week before us) for the kind of lunches you’ll be talking about for years to come.
Best for …
Couples, friends and soloists who want to experience the quieter side of Mykonos.
Rooms from € 1,200 per night; calimykonos.com