This must be the most intimate working chapel in Greece – Saint George’s, at stunning Santa Marina Mykonos, high above Ornos Bay, in the south-west of this Cyclades island. As you would expect on a Greek island in the Mediterranean, the chapel is pristine white outside, like all the buildings on the eight-hectare estate. And as you would also expect in an Orthodox chapel, of course it is a kaleidoscope of colour inside, with every square centimetre hosting an ancient icon. Take out the confessional and the space holds ten at most, so the numerous weddings, from all over the world, that are held here usually take place outside, in front of the chapel, which becomes a photo backdrop.
Self-made shipping tycoon Elias Papageorgiou loved this hilltop site and travelled here so many weekends from his Athens base that back in the 1970s he bought the land. It then had four buildings on it, a pigeon house, a windmill, another chapel and a small house, which became his holiday home. As he was, by all accounts, gregarious and a renowned host, accommodation expanded as needed to offer his many guests somewhere to stay.
His only child, near-professional fashionista Christiana Papageorgiou, now owns and runs what has become a 114-room Luxury Collection hotel. She, like her father before her, only wants the best. Take Ruby, Villa 242, a two-floor 217sq m beauty which comes with a totally-private 170sq m courtyard (there’s a 16-metre pool). Its all-white kitchen, with Neff and Smeg bits and pieces, would delight any celebrity chef. Two bedrooms are downstairs but best sunset views are from the two upstairs. Look across the Bay to Delos Island as you watch pretty-amazing orange-gold sunsets.
There are two super-yachts for day, overnight or longer charters.
The spa has well-known ESPA plus more-exclusive 111SKIN all-round science-based wellness led by a Harley Street surgeon.
Food is all-day inside or outside Mykonos Social, by London globalist Jason Atherton, and for fun outdoor evenings, Buddha Bar is one of the best of that party-goers’ brand. Reef is a highly-personal boutique – obviously Christiana Papageorgiou is the buyer, choosing floating robes and Vegas-type accessories she herself adores, say a bead handbag shaped like a London telephone box.
Honestly, if you do not have a baptism or wedding, or renewal, as an excuse, think anyway of booking now, for the 2022 season that starts 9 May. Many repeat guests have already reserved: adjacent 98sq m pool villas #198 and #199 are especially popular with Australian regulars it seems. All repeaters tend to stay an average 5.5 nights, with such necessities as lunch and dinner confirmations, plus daily wake-up personal trainers and the hair appointments that are quite essential in Mediterranean winds, finalised sometimes months ahead. Santa Marina is luxury cult.