Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.
Last spring, I enjoyed a sublime holiday in Greece. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Athens
- Review: PHENOMENAL Amanzoe, Peloponnese
- Review: Kivotos Mykonos Hotel, Mykonos Island (today)
- Review: Canaves Oia Luxury Suites, Santorini
- Review: Grace Santorini
Today (August 22, 2018): Kivotos Mykonos Hotel (Greece).
- Location: Google maps
- Hotel website: Kivotos Mykonos
- Tip: get free VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso
Wrapped in the emerald waters of Ornos, Kivotos overlooks its own private beach. Built on a rocky slope, it impresses with its stunning collection of modern art and rare antiques, impeccable and personalized service, and the ideal location just minutes away from the center of Mykonos Town. Elegance and refined luxury characterize every corner. The world-class facilities of Kivotos include the impressively decorated and luxuriously appointed rooms and suites, 39 in its entirety, an incredible villa with a private pool and secluded beach area, two swimming pools with open-air Jacuzzis, a spa, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a private beach, squash court, three restaurants and bars, an art gallery, boutique, hair salon, a scenic chapel within its premises for weddings, and a private yacht available for daily cruises and romantic private dinners, anchored in the bay of Ornos just in front of the hotel.
In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Kivotos enjoys an excellent location on a hill in scenic Ornos Bay on the southwestern tip of Mykonos. Ornos boasts one of the island’s best sandy beaches, where you find umbrellas, sunbeds, beach restaurants as well as watersports and scuba diving schools. The boutique hotel is a merely 10 minutes by car from the capital Hora (better known as Mykonos Town), famous for its mazy cobblestoned streets, high-end boutiques, restaurants, lively clubs, and famous landmarks, such as the iconic windmills, the scenic Little Venice area, and the always busy Manto Mavrogenous Square. The airport is also conveniently closeby (10 minutes by car), although you won’t notice any plane traffic as there’s a large hill between the airfield and Ornos Bay.
- The hotel is built as an idyllic Mykonian village tumbling down the hill towards the blue Aegean Sea. Originally designed as a luxury family villa in 1993, the exterior features traditional Cycladic architecture, with alluring whites meeting with playful shades of blue, taupe, and green, and with stone and wood gracefully pairing with fine Pentelic marble. The hotel’s main facilities and rooms are housed in whitewashed low-rise buildings with bright purple doors, pastel-coloured shutters, and flowing bougainvillea on the walls. All hotel pavilions are scattered along lush Mediterranean courtyards and stone mosaic pathways.
- There’s a lot of attention to detail when it comes to the hotel’s eye-catching artsy decor, which ingeniously blends modern and classic design with quirky hints. The bright and breezy lobby, lounges and restaurants feature contemporary paintings and artworks, a series of exact replicas of Delian artifacts and sculptures, more than 2000 pieces of French antiques from the hotel owner’s personal collection, as well as an impressive collection of Louis Vuitton trunks. Although the hotel is more than 25 years old, it has undergone clever interior retrofits and refurbishments, to keep its interiors up-to-date and in line with guest’s expectations.
- The hotel is family owned and managed. Spyros Michopoulos, father of the hotel’s current owners Philip and Jason, envisioned the creation of the first boutique hotel in Greece that felt more like a home than a hotel. His love for travel, collecting antiques and works of art, and continuous observation led him to quickly grasp the need to diversify the tourism product on Mykonos. An image that was etched in his mind, throughout his travels, involved a French mirror that seamlessly was tied on a full white mural, which triggered his inspiration. Spyros took the first steps towards establishing a true boutique hotel in Mykonos and a legend was born.
- Since the seventies, Mykonos is known as a luxury hotspot, maintaining intact its upscale status, glamour and fame through time, with hip new hotels, beach bars and restaurants mushrooming year after year. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the hotel is a magnet for the rich and famous as it’s the best property on the island. Fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier, Ermenegildo Zegna – of the homonymous textile giant – and Calvin Klein have all chosen Kivotos for their summer holidays, and so has Darren Star, writer of Sex and the City and creator of Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210. Other famous guests include Shakira and her husband Gerard Piqué, John Legend, George Michael, and Prince Albert II of Monaco.
- The hotel’s obsession with art has been carried through into all 39 stylishly furnished rooms and suites. Each room is unique as it has been individually designed by famous artists, local craftsmen, and the owner’s family members. During my two night visit, I stayed in a Junior Sea View Suite, located on the mid-level. The spacious accommodation featured a bedroom with a queen size bed, a sitting area with a white couch and desk, and a furnished (but shared) balcony with views of Ornos Bay. The bathroom – which featured a bathtub with jets and a rainshower – was a piece of art on its own, decorated with a crystal chandelier, back marble and stained glass.
- If you need more privacy or if you are traveling with a larger party or family, you should think about booking one of the three exclusive villas that Kivotos Mykonos has on offer. Two of these villas are located right above sea level, so close to the water you can actually listen to the waves hitting the shore at night. All villas boast awe-inspiring architecture and spellbinding interior design with multiple bedrooms, a large living area, a spacious outdoor area for lounging and sunbathing and each one comes with its own private infinity pool overlooking the sea. The most luxurious villa – called Noah’s Waterfront Villa – has a private beach area right in front, complete with sunbeds and umbrellas.
- Kivotos Mykonos features two swimming pools. The main saltwater pool is located on the lower level, right above the hotel’s private beach, offering dazzling views of the crystal clear emerald waters and Ornos Bay. The pool area – which was renovated and enhanced last winter – features underwater music, a large Jacuzzi, and a lively swim-up bar, and is lined by comfortable sun loungers and umbrellas to provide shade from the sizzling Mediterranean sun. A second freshwater pool – also with open-air Jacuzzi – is located on the upper level in the hotel’s inner courtyard, surrounded by lush, heavenly scented vegetation.
- The property has a private beach for the exclusive use of hotel guests, right below the lower level pool. This narrow and rocky but nonetheless charming wind-protected curve of sand is equipped with umbrellas and sunbeds for serene relaxation and ultimate comfort. Massage sessions can be offered right on the beach by experienced practitioners.
- Kivotos Mykonos features an intimate spa facility, offering an array of treatments for every need and desire. The lovely design and layout of the wellness center creates an atmosphere of calmness and peace for the body and soul: the reception area is located besides the main pool, while the treatment rooms are found in the hotel’s cool basement. The wide range of holistic treatments, massages, skin therapies, and facials – all with signature products – as well as the relaxation lounges, whirlpools, steam rooms, and post-treatment showers guarantee a sense of wellness.
The property offers two excellent restaurants within its premises, La Meduse and Le Pirate. Both venues enjoy lovely sea views, a romantic ambiance and professional service with a tailor-made touch and have well designed menus, created by distinguished chefs. Le Meduse is the hotel’s fine dining venue, located on the rooftop above the reception area, with a cuisine focused on fresh fish as well as international and Mediterranean fare. Le Pirate is nestled in a shaded patio, right by the pool, overlooking Ornos bay. Breakfast is offered in Le Meduse, with a beautifully displayed breakfast buffet that features some subtle changes every day.
- Kivotos has a privately owned, stunning 25 m (82 ft) schooner, which is available for the exclusive use of hotel guests for day or weekly cruises in nearby islands, pristine inaccessible beaches, and rocky islets. The yacht – which has its own website – can host up to 40 people, sail with up to 30 people and accommodate up to 6 people in 3 cabins, all with en suite bathrooms. It is skippered and fully crewed, and exudes sophisticated luxury and romantic elegance.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
Family-run Kivotos Mykonos is the island’s best boutique hotel, priding itself on its unique design, great facilities, intimate ambience, and warm hospitality. Yet, my stay was not perfect (and even problematic in a few areas) and here’s what you need to need to know to manage your expectations:
- Not all rooms have ocean views; some overlook the gardens, so make sure that you book the room category that best fits your preferences.
- The sound proofing of some rooms is not great, which may hamper a good night’s rest. For example, in my room, the walls were paper-thin, so I could hear every single thing that was going on in the room next door, although my neighbours were not particularly loud. I do believe that the hotel should address this issue and make all rooms sound-proof as not to disappoint future guests.
- Although the hotel is very well maintained, some of the rooms could use a renovation. For example, while my room definitely featured a cozy interior, the furniture felt a bit basic and not completely in line with my expectations for a five-star property. My room also had a few plumbing issues (the shower head did not work properly and the A/C leaked some water) which did not help to adjust my perception. On a positive note, I got to see some other rooms and they all seemed in excellent condition and a little more appealing.
- Most of the hotel rooms’ outdoor decks and balconies are completely visible from other suites and the property’s public areas, so do not expect a lot of privacy when lounging (or swimming) on your private terrace.
- Although having a private beach is rarity on Mykonos, the beach itself is small, narrow and rocky. That said, you can always visit one of the clubs on the large sandy beach of Ornos (a 10 min walk from the hotel), where you can rent a sun lounger for the day and indulge yourself in coctails and food. You won’t be alone here though, as it gets very crowded with tourists in the warmer months (especially in July and August).
- I visited the property on the first day of their re-opening for the 2018 summer season. The day before check-in, I was advised by email that – I quote – ‘due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the hotel’s control, the construction company responsible for the renovation project regarding the 2018 season has delayed the completion of the construction work. Consequently, there will be light construction works taking place within the hotel’s premises during your upcoming stay with us.‘ Those light construction works turned out to be not so light after all, as the hotel’s public areas (pool, beach) were not accessible on the first day of my two night stay. However, to the hotel’s credit, they were quite embarrassed by this unfortunate event (as they should be), and they took the initiative to pay me a day at the Ornos beach club (including food) to make up for the inconvenience. I believe that this is not an issue you will encounter during your stay at Kivotos (since all construction has finished by now), but I want to mention it anyway.
- Although the staff was very attentive, friendly and helpful, I did encounter a few service hiccups during my stay. For example, one day, the nightly turn down service was not provided, which was kind of problematic since light poured into the room the next morning as the shutters were not closed. Oddly, no complimentary bottles of water were provided in the hotel for brushing teeth and drinking (although it’s perfectly safe of course to use tap water in Mykonos). Also, when I requested to receive my invoice by email at check-out, I received the invoice from another guest. These are all minor things of course, but nonetheless, one would expect perfect service at the rates the hotel charges.
- The property features many steps that may be challenging to navigate when you have difficulties walking.
- Although Kivotos Mykonos is not far from Mykonos (10 minutes by car), the transfers are not complimentary. If you use the hotel car, the rate ranges between 20-30 euros per trip which can get a bit pricey if you are frequently coming and going. Alternatively, you can also use a taxi for around 10-15 euros one way, but taxis are hard to book in peak season. Travelers preferring to be closer to Mykonos Town instead should consider a hotel near or in the city center.
- Location: 8/10
- Design: 8/10
- Pool: 9/10
- Rooms: 8/10
- Food: 9/10
- Breakfast: 8/10
- Spa: 8/10
- Service: 8/10
- Value for money: 8/10
- Overall experience: very good: 8,2/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, roundtrip airport transfers, late check-out, $100 USD resort credit, 10% discount on private yacht cruises, and a welcome amenity of bottle of wine, fruit and chocolates; for stays of 5 nights or more in rooms and suites, guests also receive one a la carte lunch for two; for stays of 5 nights or more in villas, guests also receive one special 60 min spa treatment experience).
- Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Kivotos Mykonos (and/or receive many free perks).
- Room tip: I recommend to book one of the suites with sea view (and request a sound-proof room). If money is no issue, you can get the glass-walled private pool suite!
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
IMHO, the best time to visit Mykonos are the autumn months of September and October, since the weather is still great, the tourist crowds have left, the sea temperature is at its warmest, and the hotel rates descend back into a reasonable range. The spring months of April and May, before the summer rush comes, are also a great time to visit, although the sea is cold and you may encounter some cloudy days. Mykonos is a very popular holiday destination for Europeans in June, July and August: expect hordes of tourists, nonstop parties and soaring hotel rates at this time of year. Summers also see a lot of windy days, with the Meltemi blowing for long periods, especially in the afternoons (sometimes gale force like winds).
HOW TO GET THERE
Mykonos Kivotos is a 10 min car ride from the ferry harbour and the aiport. Click here for a constantly updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Mykonos.
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