‘Grace’ derives from the Greek word charis or chairo, meaning to rejoice. As far back as Homer, it meant sweetness or attractiveness, yet in time, it also came to signify goodwill and loving kindness.
Having spent a few cherished days at the beautiful Grace in Mykonos, part of the Grace Collection, this chic boutique hotel, lived up to all of these things.
Discreetly located a short drive from Mykonos Town and perched idyllically overlooking the unspoilt Agios Stefanos beach, the pristine hotel offers the most beautiful retreat with breath-taking sea views and a humbling starry sky at night.
The hotel makes a single promise: to deliver a simple, elegant grace. And that’s exactly what you get.
Arriving a little frazzled in mid-May, after a particularly intense brand relaunch, the trip was the perfect antidote to the fast pace of my normal life (note to self: learn to slow down).
The weather was deliciously warm. Mykonos, known more for its party vibe, was serene and hopeful, as if waking from a long winter sleep. The hotel itself is a stunning blend of traditional Cycladic architecture with lashings of luxury, combining modern design features and facilities with beautifully-crafted, local furnishings.
What truly sets this hotel apart, though, is the warmth and hospitality of the team, who also appear to have been sheep-dipped in tranquillity. Nothing is too much trouble, which combined with the imaginative personal touches, made the stay very creative and unique.
Before visiting, make sure you personalise your stay with the Bespoke by Grace service. You’ll can select a scent for your room, your preferred type of pillow, and an in-room exercise kit. You can also choose a Mykonos experience, such as a cooking lesson, a wine tour, a romantic sundown picnic, a tour of the island with a photographer, sailing, or even horse riding on a beach at sunset.
Having been welcomed by the team with a glass of bubbles, we were shown to our room, where our selected fragrance gently drew us into what was to be our sanctuary for the next few days. On the bed was a beautiful wooden box, in which a card simply read ‘Todays beautiful moments are tomorrow’s beautiful memories’. The box revealed a number of gorgeous containers, tubes and bags – perfect if you like collecting things that remind you of your stay. Think sand and flowers, perhaps a beautiful stone, something that will instantly trigger your memory. The gesture is thoughtful and in harmony with the hotel’s connection to nature.
The effort that goes into making this hotel sparkle is incredible, and it’s no surprise that many of the guests are regulars, some returning yearly. Indeed, few places that I have stayed in connect with its guests on such a personal level.
Mykonos itself was also an unexpected delight. Known more for its hedonism and wild nightlife, which can be found without looking too hard, we experienced a totally different vibe that ranged from chic-simplicity to boho beach-life.
Mykonos Town has a wonderful energy, a good mix of cocktail bars and restaurants, as well as boutique shops. Be sure to visit Little Venice, a place supposedly made famous by Mediterranean pirates, and head to Jacqui O or Scarpa to watch the stunning sunsets while sipping your favourite tipple.
For great organic food, try Nice and Easy, or for authentic local cuisine, we loved Maereoi. Finding it is half the fun – tucked away in one of the numerous white alleys that make up the labyrinthine town.
A stroll through the whitewashed alleys of Chora is a must. The cute boutiques sell handmade jewellery, cool souvenirs, colourful art and swanky designer fashion. The best part is that all of them stay open late into the night, so you can meander through the streets in the balmy evenings, just grazing on the chilled, late-night atmosphere.
Having explored much of the island, I can honestly say that my happy place was coming back to the Grace and her wonderful team, sauntering down to Agios Stefanos beach for a dip in the cool clear waters, to relax with a feta salad and a long drink at St Stefano’s. Bliss.
We left feeling rejuvenated, thanks to the magic that the Grace sprinkled on us throughout the trip. And of course, I look at the memory box every now and then, just to remind myself that in today’s beautiful moments are tomorrow’s beautiful memories.
Top spots and shops
Nice and Easy at Mykonos Town
To Maereio at Mykonos Town
Nammos at Psarrou Beach
Thea at Platis Gialos
Kuzina at Ornos Beach
Picnic at Panormos Beach
Elixir Timeless Gallery
LINEA PIU Boutique
Words by Sarah Morgan
Photography by John Moschovovakis, Best of the Best in Greece