Let’s be real for a minute. The perception, to some at least, is that today’s Mykonos has ‘sold out’ and lost its charm, following a hotel development boom that has rippled across the island over two (or more) decades. Those who believe that, though, – like myself prior to my recent Greek adventure – have either never been or have been exploring the wrong places.
The real estate growth that the island has witnessed since the ‘80s was an answer to a soar in popularity, sparked when iconic beach clubs, such as Paradise Beach, started hosting ‘legendary’ parties for celebrities and well-heeled visitors alike. Mix this in with the island’s open-minded and naturally welcoming attitude, coupled with its awe-inspiring sunsets and warm Mediterranean climate, and you have the ultimate recipe to turn a low-key destination into a thriving hospitality hotspot.
Yes, the island in the Cyclades attracts a mass audience over the summer months, but I would argue that Mykonos’ soul is still very much alive and felt deeply. It’s just, perhaps, harder to find.
The noise from the local bars in and around Mykonos Town is that, although 2023 has been a healthy year for tourism, other neighbouring islands, such as Tinos, Naxos and Paros, have seen a significant rise in tourism. Conscious hotel development in Mykonos, therefore, is essential to rubbish any misconceptions of the island being overpriced and the scene of ‘yesterday’s party’ place.
I believe I have found one hotel that shelters a rather apt home-from-home luxury hospitality experience – think white-washed and earthy tones – which provides a more authentic experience over some of the other ‘super-luxurious hotels’ that have emerged over recent years.
Cue the arrival of Domes Noruz Mykonos, a 38-key, all-suite hotel that opened this summer to, of course, fit in, but also to disrupt the status quo for bigger and brighter hotels. Located near, not in, the heart of an island known for its vibrant culture, but far enough away to avoid the noise from the town, Domes Noruz Mykonos is perched above a rocky coastline with sandy beaches just metres away. It is surrounded by lush foliage and, in general, sensitively balances the playful spirit of Mykonos with relaxing hospitality synonymous with the Domes brand, which is made that much more special with its spectacular vistas over the Aegean Sea.
Greek architects Urban Soul Projects were tasked to masterfully design the hotel, drawing inspiration from the natural landscapes and distinctive Cycladic charm. “Our vision [was] to create an atmosphere that embodies the essence of sexy, effortless elegance and eclectic desire,” Polina Liarostathi, Head of Hotels of the studio, told Hotel Designs. “It’s a distinctive and iconic destination that offers an experience like no other, designed exclusively for adults seeking a stylish and unforgettable escape.”
The paired back, grounded interiors throughout the hotel are complemented by elements of rattan, natural wood, fresh fabrics and cool stone. This, I believe, is felt most when guests arrive into the lobby area, a space shared with the bar, the spa reception and a small retail space, which is made to feel not like a hotel at all. “We want guests to feel at home when they enter the lobby,” added Liarostathi. “Every detail is considered, creating an inviting atmosphere where warm Greek hospitality embraces them. Small, homely touches add to the comfort, making their experience truly memorable and unique.”
“Our interiors seamlessly blend the timeless allure of white-washed hues with earthy tones, giving rise to a tranquil haven where serenity and style harmoniously unite. When you step into our mesmerising main pool area, the lively melodies of music intertwine with the gentle sea breeze, conjuring an enchanting ambiance that almost transports you to another realm—a haven where time seems to slow down, offering a unique escape from the ordinary.”
Domes Noruz Mykonos offers a range of luxurious accommodation options, including suites with terraces, sea views and private pools. Inside, the space is layered with rustic-chic style, curved architecture that silently wraps around the bathroom and natural materials such as marble, timber, and local stone. In many ways, the suites embody ‘slow living’. “These elements not only contribute to the Cycladic aesthetic but also evoke a sense of grounding and connection to the island’s natural beauty,” explained Liarostathi. “And, of course, breathtaking Aegean panoramas are a hallmark of this design.”
The soft architecture and design scheme continues in the spa. The acclaimed Soma Spa, just off the main lobby / lounge area, is a sanctuary of tranquility where modern techniques meet ancient Greek rituals.
Speaking to Liarostathi has allowed me to understand the design narrative inside the hotel in way that feels exclusive. The architect, through design and use of natural materials, has articulated a fluent design scheme that feels equally inviting and exciting. But there was no statement she said that defined this project as clear as this one: “In a world of overdesigned spaces,” said the architect,” Domes Noruz Mykonos offers humble luxury, indulging you in life’s simple pleasures.” I couldn’t agree more, so much so, in fact, that I slept in and only just made my flight home, which I am dressing up as the ultimate sign of an exceptional hotel experience – either that or it was the island’s free (pouring) vibes that got to me.
> Since you’re here, why not read Hamish Kilburn’s exclusive design review of Pnoé Breathing Life in Crete, Greece?
Main image credit: Domes Hotels & Resorts