Friday, 7 July 2017

Greece is the word .. Mykonos is the place .. Part 1 The hotel and Elia Beach

Flying over Mykonos
Every year for the past five years, my girlfriends and I have taken a week out of our busy schedules to enjoy a vacation on a mutually agreed designated island, preferably within a four hour flying radius of London.

We started off year one in 2013 with a Greek Island - Crete, back again to another Greek Island in 2014, beautiful Santorini, then Tenerife in the Canary Islands 2015 and last year to the magical island of Ibiza in the Balearics. It was whilst we were in Ibiza that we decided that Mykonos would be our choice for this year. It's a very popular destination generally and one of my bucket list picks from way back. We're so 'on it' now that we've got a shortlist of islands to visit and next year we already think we know where we'll go.

We built our own package 6 months in advance via Alpharooms which was considerably cheaper than going directly through any of the tour operators or the hotel directly and got a really good all round deal including flights with EasyJet from London Gatwick. Our total package cost included flights, hotel with breakfast and airport transfers in Mykonos.

We stayed at The Royal Myconian Hotel Resort - a beautiful luxurious hotel with a high-end feel overlooking Elia beach and the Aegean Sea. It's not far from Mykonos town but about a 20 minute drive due to the hilly terrain. The hotel offers a regular transfer service each day free of charge and buses run hourly right up until midnight. There's also a heliport nearby for those wanting a quick entry or exit!

The buildings in Mykonos are built in a traditional style. They are all painted white giving it a very cool, clean, pristine look which contrasts beautifully with the blues of the sea and sky and the vibrant pink bougainvillea flowers which grow prolifically in this Mediterranean climate. We did not see a single cloud in the whole time we were there so felt very lucky to have enjoyed such an amazing few days relaxing by the salt water pool. (The previous week it had rained!) I have to say it's probably the nicest pool I have ever experienced on holiday. It's quite deep and a decent size so it's perfect for people who really want a good swim and plenty of room to do it without others getting in the way. It's also refreshingly cool and a great relief from the heat of the summer sun.

Next to the pool is a bar which you can swim to on one side or sit on bar stools on the dry side. A resident DJ pumps out an eclectic mix of tunes all day which seemed to suit all tastes and was never too loud. The poolside area is large enough so that you can distance yourself if you want to. There is also a pool café which is actually more of a restaurant and the food was fresh and delicious. Service is also offered around the pool itself.

For those who prefer to be beside the sea, the beach is a short walk away and the hotel offers a free shuttle service as the road is very steep. There is a private section of beach which is set aside for hotel residents and the beach loungers are free to use. Further down the beach towards Agrari the hire charge is €30 per day! Nearby is the Elia Beach restaurant which is a hive of activity during the day. The food is fab and the atmosphere casual, trendy and buzzy. We tried lunch and dinner there and the vibe is quite different and quieter at night. The evenings are not so crowded and it's a wonderful setting to see people vacating the beach (on foot or by boat), the light change and the sun go down over the hills.

The hotel restaurant had a varied menu with Greek and international dishes, all very good, so we ate there a few times in between trips into town or to the beach. It can be quite windy at times and the outdoor bit of the restaurant has tall clear glass panels to break the gusts. When it's not so breezy it's nice to sit beside the lower panels and see the wonderful view with real clarity.

The swimming pool below slowly lights up at night until it is a sea of stars and looks beautiful in the spectacular post sunset evening light.

If you fancy a tipple after dinner the terrace bar another level up is open until 2.30am for drinks, tea and coffee.

Next up .. Part 2 Mykonos Town

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