Named after the owner’s mother, Cali Mykonos is a family business with heart. Blood, sweat and a lot of sleepless nights have gone into this new boutique hotel.
With 40 suites (and luxurious private villas on their way), Cali sits on the sleepy side of Mykonos with its own private beach and small fleet of boats. Escapism doesn’t get better.
Where is it?
A 25-minute drive from Mykonos airport on the tranquil and more-rustic side of the infamous party island.
Though not for long, big name resorts like the Four Seasons are also building hotels in the area. Wedged in between Kalafatis and Agia Anna beaches, it’s a serene spot to recover from the night before. Soho House’s Scorpios is just four miles away, for those who are so inclined.
Masterminded by Athens-based architects STFN Labs, the hotel and its 40 suites are modelled on a traditional Greek village with its white-washed buildings staggered along the hilltop all overlooking the tiny yet spectacular Kalafatis cove (to which guests have private access) and out beyond to the shimmering Aegean ocean.
Design is clean and neutral, with local artworks displayed throughout (some are also on sale in the hotel’s expensive but super-chic boutique).
The calming whites and greys serve only to highlight the deep blue of the curved infinity pool (the longest on the island) and ocean below. Pared back luxury made to look effortless.
This summer has been something of a soft launch for Cali so while the state-of-the-art spa is still being finished for next season, in-room treatments can be booked by Whatsapping the concierge. We had a manicure, a unique but exceptionally good full body massage from head masseuse Stelios and an early morning yoga session with Nektaria on our terrace.
There is also a high spec gym and — though we couldn’t face it in the heat — we were told there are several picturesque running routes around the hotel.
Of course, you can’t go all the way to a Greek island without getting out onto the ocean. The Cali Fleet is available for half or full day private boat trips — perfect for beach-hopping around Mykonos or visiting any of the other Cyclades (Delos, Rhenia, Tinos and Paros). Lunch, fresh fruit and plenty of chilled wine and beer is provided.
Back on dry land, a tough decision awaits: beach or pool. A complimentary private beach with sunlounger service and crystalline waters is unheard of 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 expansive views out on to the horizon, it’s a masterpiece.
Food & drink
Now this is where Cali excels. Mixologist Leo, who was plucked by the hotel’s owner (Kyriakos) from a bar in Athens, is a supreme talent. He works up near-magical concoctions in his lab by day, 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, it speaks to the quality of the drinks that we never had even a hint of a hangover.
Under the guidance of superstar Michelin-starred chef Lefteris Lazarou, Cali serves up refined Mediterranean classics in its only restaurant. After the addictively sweet grilled octopus, garlic prawns and fresh Barbounia, be sure to save room for dessert. Pastry chef Konstantina Tzempetzi is world-class and we ordered her hazelnut profiteroles every night.
For lunch, fuel up for another afternoon of blissful nothingness with a mushroom and truffle pizza or perfectly seasoned Greek salad at the pool bar.
Almost all of the 40 rooms and suites come with private saltwater pools and views of the Aegean beneath but not all, so be sure to book either a premium or deluxe pool suite.
There is much more to Mykonos than partying — though you should make time for that too. Active types can try their hand at horse riding or any of the many watersports on offer at Elia beach.
Foodies should book in for either an olive oil or wine tasting at Ano Mera village. Head out to Kiki’s Tavern (no reservations, but the owner will provide complimentary chilled rosé while you wait) and Spilia (Elon Musk was there the week before us) for the sort of lunches you’ll talk about for years to come.
Couples, friends and solos who want to experience the quieter side of Mykonos.
Rooms from 1,200€ per night; calimykonos.com