Cali Mykonos, Greece
A sprawling Cycladic luxury retreat with a touch of mindfulness and a healthy dose of wellness chic, Mykonos’ latest outpost lives up to the hype
21 April, 2023
Less Lindsay Lohan and more lo-fi luxe, Cali Mykonos is the latest five-star outpost to pitch up on the celebrity-favourite Greek party island. Cliff-hugging and overlooking its own private corner of sleepy beach town Kalafatis, the property is a masterclass in Cycladic chic that offers a relaxing reset to the rest of the island's madness.
The (occasionally bumpy) journey to the 40-key property sets the tone: you'll snake past dusty fields and locally owned bakeries before you're greeted by an ancient olive tree and softly lit whitewashed miniature houses. The welcome continues with a homemade mint-spiked lemonade and a soothing soundtrack of crickets and the rush of the Aegean Sea below. It's a far cry from the fist-thumping soundtrack of Mykonos Town.
Headlining the idyllic boutique abode? A 130m-long saltwater infinity pool whose curves would make Aphrodite tremble. Rumoured to be the largest on the island, it's the nucleus of the hotel, with both the pool bar and main restaurant arranged around it. Expect days to be spent fluttering between here and the slice of secluded beach beneath the hotel.
Aside from the private boat deck and A-lister-approved helipad, the Cali offers a wealth of wellness-centric escapes designed to help you find your Zen (or shake off that Nammos hangover). On-demand personal trainers roam the grounds, Pilates and yoga are on offer, and in-room masseuses take care of any table dancing-induced aches and pains. Juice bars, tahini-laced smoothies and good-for-your-gut cocktails can be sunk poolside, too, with Michelin-starred chefs and award-winning mixologists paying homage to the island's wilder side, making for an indulgent yet hidden-away-from-it-all escape that's seemingly been blessed by the gods.
Rooms? That's an insult to these sea-gazing, sugar-cube sanctuaries, each of which comes with a private pool. Glide across the olive tree-flanked terrace dotted with sun loungers and shaded by a pergola to find a sprawling living space decorated in a calming palette of Brunello Cucinelli resort collection neutrals. Beds the size of small catamarans sit at the centre and bathrooms are bedecked in marble. Ours had tiling in a hazy sunset-pink hue, and rose-gold taps in the big-enough-for-two rainforest shower.
What's for breakfast?
Served until midday, the breakfast menu offers a Grecian twist on the classics: scrambled eggs spiced up with peppers; omelettes topped with (tonnes) of feta; refreshing smoothies - recommended for bleary-eyed guests - and baskets piled high with just-baked breads and pastries. There's plenty of hair-of-the-dog prosecco, too.
How about lunch and dinner?
Lefteris Lazarou - the first Greek chef to have been awarded a Michelin star - is at the helm, so prepare to feast on Mediterranean classics presented with theatrical flair. The garlic shrimp slathered in celeriac cream had a hypnotic hold over us, as did the grilled octopus - both were as fresh as they come, thanks to the hotel getting first dibs on local fishermen's catches. Some plump organic chicken served atop a bed of whipped zucchini cream was also particularly mind-altering.
Fancy a lunchtime graze? The pork gyros and supersized Greek salad should do the job. Alternatively, make tracks for the poolside sushi bar summer pop-up.
Is there a bar?
Sure is. Pick your poison: pool, juice or cocktail bar?
Poolside, you'll find a seriously impressive slap of blue Patagonia marble that's geared up for sin-free cocktail sipping. Each concoction comes with a shot of something healthy: think supercharged vitamin C shots in rum-based zombies, and mai tai mixed with matcha. Circle back past the reception-turned-juice bar for post-workout shakes and smoothies, or head to the restaurant bar for a menu inspired by Greek mythology - and a cellar stocked full of wines made with island grapes.
Inside Cali Mykonos...
Aside from that ginormous swimming pool, you mean? A gym, boutique and Pilates studio - TikTok stars, go get it - should be ready by the summer season. There's a private port and boat that'll whisk you to Spilia for a lobster lunch, then to Scorpios for the afterparty. Complimentary shuttle buses and golf buggies will ferry you anywhere else you need to go.
What are the hotel's eco-credentials like?
They get the green thumbs-up from us. Golf buggies are charged via the solar panels on the reception's roof, stones from the excavation have been repurposed for the hotel's architecture, and there's a nifty purification plant that supplies the water. Food is farm-fresh and sourced from local producers or grown in the on-site organic garden. With an allotment in the pipeline, guests will soon be able to enjoy a pick-your-own experience, too.
What about accessibility?
Really good, actually. Golf buggies are on hand to shuttle guests around the hotel and all communal areas are wheelchair accessible. There are elevators throughout and three mobility suites with adapted bathrooms.
What's the crowd like?
Couples that have outgrown the influencer Olympics at Interni and are opting to discover Mykonos' wilder side sans the tequila. Children are welcome, too, so expect a side of water splash with your poolside cocktails. Expect plenty of Missoni stripes, Hermès orange sandals and Zimmermann dresses on show, with a flock of matching Mini-Mes in tow.
Things I should know
While Greek mythology may romanticise tales of the Anemoi, the four Greek gods of the winds, we've developed a slight personal vendetta against them after incidents including a shattered champagne flute and a flying Jacquemus sunhat. Mykonos is nicknamed the "Island of the Winds" and, at times, it feels like the Cali is at the centre of the storm. Pack a vintage Pucci scarf to keep wind-whipped locks under control.
Within a short walk I can find…
What with the golf buggies, boat and chauffeured car, we're not sure we closed a single ring on our Apple Watch during our stay. But our idleness is a testament to the Cali's ability to serenade guests into a sun-soaked slumber. Or so we're claiming. Each whim, want and need is seamlessly met, making you feel like a demigod of your own. Yia mas to that.
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