Mykonos - pure joy of life
Mykonos - the word alone is enough to get you in the vacation mood and dream of white cottages under a blue sky. For decades, the Cycladic island, just 100 square kilometers in size, has been considered a hotspot for the party people and the gay and lesbian scene (which no longer is dominant). The French star architect and designer Le Corbusier was one of the first celebrities to be impressed by the island's understatement and the relaxed, tolerant lifestyle of the locals. He was followed by numerous models, soccer, and movie stars. Justin Bieber was recently on the island, and Tom Hanks and Sarah Jessica Parker have also been spotted here (just to name a few). But to say it right away: Mykonos can also be different. Suppose you just want to spend a quiet vacation in a chic hotel with a lot of wellness and excellent gastronomy. In that case, you are also in good hands on the island of Mykonos.
KenshŌ - an "awakening experience"
In this article, I'll introduce you to two award-winning luxury boutique hotels - both with less than 40 rooms or suites. The name Kenshō comes from Japanese and means something like "the recognition of one's own being." So let yourself be inspired in the two Kenshō Hotels Ornos and Psarou, and perhaps discover completely new sides of yourself. “We are considered one of the best on the Island and we are simply because we run our hotels in accordance with the Zen philosophy and the innate Greek hospitality.In other words: We care.” says Michail Takkos, General Manager at Kenshō.
(Update July 2022: A few months ago, Kenshō Psarou has been sold. If you wish to live the Kenshō experience, you can do this at the Kenshō Ornos Boutique Hotel which is described below).
KenshŌ Psarou - casual beach vacation for party people
Both luxury hotels are just a 10-minute drive from the charming main town of Chora, also known as Mykonos Town. You hardly need more time to get to the airport by cab or hotel shuttle - in short, super central. The Kenshō Psarou is located directly on the beach (one of the most popular on the island) in the bay of the same name; from the pool area, you almost stumble into the sea. Beach or pool - why not both? A DJ provides a musical vacation feeling while you enjoy a cocktail and just let yourself drift. Right next to the swimming pool are the bar and restaurant; creative fusion gastronomy provides palate pleasures of the extra class. I enjoyed a delicious shrimp tempura and let my eyes wander to the sea again and again. I enjoyed my meal with a tasty detox smoothie.
The luxurious rooms and suites have either a private plunge pool, hot tub or swimming pool. Priceless to wake up in the morning and watch the sea as you get ready for the day. Not yet enough? In that case, consider a stay at Villa Psarou in a 4-bedroom ensuite private luxury villa (150 sqm), featuring a 100 sqm outdoor area with a private pool, garden and a massive terrace. It can´t get any better!
Unfortunately, I didn't have time for workouts and pampering at the Kenshō Beach Spa. However, I was told that the traditional massages on a table with warm sand are supposed to do wonders for the metabolism. I will definitely try that on my next visit! And if you intend to get married, the enchanting chapel of Kenshō Psarou may be the perfect place for your celebrations with the Aegean Sea as a backdrop.
No wonder that the Kenshō Psarou has received again the prestigious World Travel Award 2021 as "Best Greek Boutique Hotel 2021".
KenshŌ Ornos - my little well-being paradise
So much for the Kenshō Psarou Beach Hotel. My favourite, however, is the sister hotel Kenshō Ornos which nestles in the bay of the same name. It's a paradise for those seeking perfect relaxation but who don't want to miss the Mykonos flair. Traditional Cycladic building elements of wood and stone form a perfect symbiosis with luxurious, modern materials. Renowned international designers (including Patricia Urquiola) have lent a hand here. Every day, you will discover a new, unusual design in perfection.
Opened in 2016, the Kenshō Ornos Hotel has ten suites and 25 rooms in a modern purist style. White is the all-dominant color; what an excellent contrast to the primarily azure sky. Pure, understated elegance that exudes a lot of casualness. I could sit in the open sunset and lounge bar for hours with my laptop, looking out over the pool to the sea. Maybe I should move my workspace here altogether?
The spacious rooms and suites, primarily white, with Jacuzzis outdoor pools in the suites, offer undisturbed relaxation with grand panoramic views. I love the transparent shower cabin in my room. A wooden piece of art hides your body when taking your shower. Needless to say that the coffee addict always loves that little espresso machine in the room.
Gone are the days when a hotel served mainly as a place to sleep and eat. The Kenshō Ornos Boutique Hotel offers an experience at any time. The day begins with a beautiful breakfast in the open Kensho restaurant. In Corona times, Greek delicacies are served by amiable staff (instead of a buffet). Athanasia had already remembered on the second day that I drink a double espresso for breakfast. And in no time, my table was full of fresh fruit, delicious bread, juices, and of course, the unique creamy Greek yogurt that tastes best with honey. As a greeting from the kitchen, so to speak, I was also served small walnut cakes. Can the day begin any better?
Gourmet dinner under the stars
For dinner, I recommend the chic rooftop terrace with its hot tub and, of course, the exquisite cuisine of Chef George. This remarkable young guy creatively prepares the most refined international dishes and presents them as miniature works of art on the plates. The homemade bread with herb butter, also homemade, is killer. Vegetarians are fine with Myconian onion tart with truffles and other mouthwatering plates. The dishes with local fish and seafood are likewise delicious. Kali orexi, bon appétit! I particularly enjoyed the view of the bay with twinkling lights and stars in the Greek sky. Oh yes, I go into raptures just thinking about the evenings in this beautiful place. Right my style!
You can spend the day relaxing on the chic loungers by the pool and enjoying chill music. Too little? Then get in shape at the small but very nice gym. Take one of the outdoor yoga classes, and then treat yourself to a massage at the award-winning hotel spa. The highlight is the cave with a small plunge pool. So much Zen relaxation must have a rejuvenating effect, right?
A few words about the beach: Ornos Bay has light sand and is ideal for swimming in the refreshing Aegean Sea. The sunbeds on the beach are not cheap - just like (almost) all of Mykonos, by the way. What the heck - you are on vacation and should just relax.
Charming Chora / Mykonos Town
As wonderful as chilling by the pool or beach is, there are a few things you should definitely check out on the island. Mykonos Town (Chora is the name for the charming old town) is just a few minutes by cab from either hotel. No wonder this place with its famous four windmills is such a popular photo motif; Instagram says hello!
The town center is traffic-calmed, with only the rattling little delivery trucks torturing their way through the narrow cobblestone streets. Around every bend, there's a new glimpse of flashy little streets and stairways. One boutique follows the other. In addition to the usual international (luxury) brands, there is fortunately also a lot of chic Greek design here in fashion and accessories. Airy little white dresses and hippie sandals seem to be incredibly trendy. The heart of the village is the Matogiannia Street in Chora. Here you will find the most beautiful jewelry stores, such as Delos Dolphins, with fantastic reproductions of antique jewelry. If you are into luxury fashion and accessories and , have a look at Al Giga Mykonos, a Greek designer concept store for men and women.
Art galleries are also trendy. I was drawn to the Municipal Gallery of Mykonos, where I had a brief chat with the Georgian-born artist Irini Gogua. Her colorful bust "Mother Nature" is an absolute masterpiece.
Coffee break with sea view
I was primarily spared the assault of the cruise tourists due to covid-19. I could stroll undisturbed, look, marvel, and of course, treat myself to espresso in a small bar. The Stairz is located - as the name suggests - on a small staircase. I sat on the mini terrace for quite a while, enjoying my umpteenth Greek yogurt with honey and watching the hustle and bustle all the way down to the sea. "Slow down, you are in Greece" - this saying, which I heard on one of my first trips to Greece, I always took to heart. And with the nevertheless hot temperatures (pleasantly by a constant breeze), German hecticness is any way out of place.
Windmills and Little Venice
As a restaurant tip in Mykonos town, I was told the posh Noema and the friendly lalala. I looked at both from the outside but did not dine there. Maybe you'll do that and then share your opinion with me?
Besides the windmills, Little Venice is THE place to visit in the town. White houses with colorful balconies directly on the sea, separated from the water only by a narrow footpath. While you are drinking a coffee here, the water is almost lapping at your feet. Wonderfully romantic and with a fantastic view of the windmills and the turquoise Aegean Sea. By Zeus, you can stand it here!
Mykonos - Excursion tips
After so much "city life," rural tranquility might do you good. The Rizes Farm offers an absolute contrast to the hustle and bustle of the town and the beaches. A trip to the old Mykonos with traditional houses, dishes, and many activities from the good old days. Horse fans will also get their money's worth here. What for a great contrast to the ultra-modern beach clubs!
The weaving mill of Faye Chatzi is also worth a visit. The lady keeps ancient traditions alive and makes the chicest clothes on her loom. Looking for more culture? You may then consider to visit the Archaeological, Nautical and Folklore Museums.
Culture enthusiasts should not miss the small, uninhabited neighboring island of Delos - a World Heritage Site. According to legend, the god Apollo was born here. You can get to Delos by boat, departing from Mykonos Town. I did not manage to visit, next time!
Lonely beaches in Mykonos
A short word about the beaches on Mykonos island. If you have had enough of beach clubs and the party hustle and bustle, explore secluded beaches like Loulos Beach in the south or the picturesque Frangia (only accessible by sea). Don't forget to take a beach towel and some snacks with you.
Beach Clubs in Mykonos
I have already mentioned the bays of Psarou and Ornos. Psarou is considered one of the hottest beaches for party addicts. Otherwise, Scorpios and Nammos are probably the most desirable (and also most expensive) addresses. Many young, beautiful people with partly sprayed on snouts and a lot of gel in the hair. Oh yes, US star and entrepreneur Lindsay Lohan has built up a small empire on the island with her own beach house.
How to get to Mykonos
I combined the island with a weekend in Athens. From the Greek metropolis, the airlines Volotea and SkyExpress fly to Mykonos (20 to 30 minutes) - or you can take the fast ferry from Piraeus (travel time about 2 ½ hours). In the summer season, the island is well connected with many European cities. Airlines such as British Airways, Condor, Eurowings and Iberia Express offer direct flights to Mykonos.
And a word about excursions on the island: Of course you can rent a car, bike or ATV. However, I advise against it, especially in the high season. The roads are windy and very curvy, and there is a lot of traffic. Better take a cab or order a shuttle at the hotel reception.
Where to stay in Mykonos
Ornos 84600, Mykonos, Greece
- T. +30 22890 29001 / +30 22890 78788
- F. +30 22890 27010
- E. firstname.lastname@example.org
Center of Mykonos town: 2.7 km.
Airport: 3.1 km
Heliport: 4 km
New port: 6.4 km
- Psarou 84600, Mykonos, Greece
- T. +30 22890 29002 / +30 22890 27080
- F. +30 22890 24001
- E: email@example.com
Center of Mykonos town: 3.4 km.
Airport: 3 km
Helipad: 40 m
New port: 7.2 km
Note: My photos were shot by John Moschovakis, a fantastic photographer in Mykonos. If you need a few great holiday photos (apart from your selfies), I can highly recommend John.
If you - like me - want to combine Mykonos with a few days in Athens, check out my tips for the Greek capital.