True Romance in Mykonos
Mykonos is said to be named after a descendent of Apollo, and with its heavenly landscape of snow-white buildings and iconic windmills against an azure sky, it’s not hard to see why. It’s nicknamed the Island of the Winds, and where else in the world can you sit on a sun-kissed taverna and watch the island’s mascot pelicans waddle by? This tradition dates back to the 1950s when an injured bird was nursed by the locals and became the symbol of Mykonos. Its successors are now a famous visitor attraction!
A glamorous hot spot
Of all the islands in the Cyclades – neighbours include Naxos, Paros and Tinos – Mykonos has the more glamorous, upmarket reputation, making it a natural destination for honeymoons and weddings. One family excelling in delivering the more romantic side of the island is the Daktylides dynasty. Quick to spot the increasing demand in tourism, founder George Daktylides – the first person to introduce public transport to the island – built a private hotel on Mykonos in 1979. With his wife, Eleftheria, he then opened the island’s first five-star hotel in the 1980s and the Myconian Collection was born. Today, there are nine properties overlooking the island’s beaches in two locations and in Mykonos Town, run by their four sons, Panos, Markos, Vangelis and Marios.
The Daktylides portfolio may have garnered many accolades along the way – the Ambassador, Korali and Utopia resorts are all Relais & Chateaux properties, while the Royal Myconian and Myconian Imperial are both members of The Leading Hotels of the World – but it’s clear that this is still a family-run operation with warm and welcoming hospitality at its heart.
Your first impression as you step through the door of the Utopia is of breathtaking but quirky glamour – think wire statues and stuffed sheep in the foyer – alongside the sheer natural beauty of its location, set into the rock 300m above gorgeous Elia Beach.
The food of love
Menus across the nine hotels offer an enticing range of gourmet dishes and fine local delicacies, yet the simple philosophy behind them is to use “real food” – fresh farm eggs, local lamb and goat – even the octopus cooked in the restaurants is caught in local waters by an old friend of George’s. Vegetables and herbs are grown on the family’s private farm and all ingredients are hand-picked, including the salt which is the finest ‘fleur de sel’ harvested around the nearby island of Delos (a must for a day trip).
At Utopia, chef Nikos Moroglou tries to capture some of the island’s authentic scents and flavours, in dishes such as traditional smoked Myconian pork with fennel coleslaw, or the seafood trilogy of grilled shrimp, squid and king crab with fennel cream and saffron. The pudding menu features treats such as traditional Greek ‘ekmek’ – a bread-pudding dessert with pistachio paste and sour cherry sauce – or the truly delicious baked peaches with amaretto biscuits and rosemary ice cream.
Time to celebrate
The rich blues and creamy whites of the landscape make Mykonos the perfect backdrop for a wedding album, as does the fabulous climate – nearly 14 hours of sunshine a day throughout July! And weddings are something the Daktylides family and their event organisers have down to a fine art. Celebrations usually take place at the Myconian Imperial and Myconian Royal, with a choice of ceremony location ranging from a small whitewashed chapel to a restaurant overlooking the Aegean. Everything can be organised for you, from the flower arrangements to fireworks lighting up the bay in the evening.
Guests coming from far and wide? You can have them collected in style with a glamorous choice of Mercedes, limousines, Range Rovers, or mini buses – even a helicopter or a yacht, should you fancy it! Apostolis Geladaris is the head of events and has been with the Myconian Collection for 11 years and says, “I never get bored. Every guest presents a new opportunity if you believe in tailoring service to an individual situation. The higher the expectations and delivery, the greater the satisfaction!”
If the planning has all got a bit too much, the collection’s state-of-the-art Thalasso Spas offer a chance for some much-needed downtime before the fun begins. The Pre-Wedding Experience is designed to relax nervous couples with a combination of facials, body wraps, massages, and much more.
Book it… Rooms across the Myconian Collection cost from £194 to £375 per room per night. Visit myconiancollection.gr for more information.