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Greece

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Central reservation office (United States)

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : KOKOTOS

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Spyros Kokotos
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Owner of Elounda Mare Hotel
My Route du Bonheur, from the Cyclades to Crete

Spyros Kokotos and his wife, Eliana, have been in the hotel business all their lives. In 1987, five years after opening, Elounda Mare Hotel became the first hotel in Greece to enter the association of Relais & Châteaux.

This is the story of the route I’ve been following for over forty years, every summer, with family and friends, travelling between the islands of the Aegean between Athens and Elounda, Crete. These days, the voyage takes place in an elegant, comfortable sailing yacht. Welcome on board…

Relais & Châteaux proposes its Routes du Bonheur for your inspiration: they are suggestions of itineraries that you can adapt to your preferences and desired experiences. Our advisors are at your disposal to individualise your routes and help you make reservations at our properties.
Example for a 6 nights stay from 1470€*
* Minimum indicative rate per person, subject to availability, on the basis of a double room with double occupancy, including accommodation, breakfast and dinner (menu, without beverages) in the properties suggested for the itinerary.
Activities on site and nearby must be reserved by you.

My Route du Bonheur
Step 1 : 2 days, 2 nights

Myconian Ambassador Thalasso Spa

A glamourous stay in a superb location
Myconian Ambassador Thalasso Spa
Our first port of call, so to speak, is the Myconian Ambassador Hotel, owned by our friends Vangelis and Katerina Daktylides. True Myconians by birth, Vangelis and his three brothers are also devoted hoteliers, having moved their home to their business: a beachfront hotel that offers its gorgeous beach and three other beaches nearby, as well as a swimming pool along with a first-class spa and a fine restaurant with local cuisine.

Close to the property...

Aegean Maritime & Archaeological Museums, Mykonos

Situated in the city centre, near the so-called three wells (“Tria Pigadia”), the Aegean Maritime Museum showcases the island’s naval tradition with scale models of all kinds of vessels. It’s a place that I really enjoy as I was drafted in the Hellenic Navy. Also, near the harbour, it contains a unique collection of sculptures, ceramics, and jewels from various sites in Mykonos, Delos and Rhenia.

“Petros” the pelican, Mykonos

The story of a unique bird who became the island’s mascot during its heyday in the 60s and 70s: found wounded in 1954 by a fisherman, the pelican was nursed and – when having fully recovered – became the local mascot, always roaming around town and being fed by the locals, who in turn named him Petros. Although Petros perished in 1986, three others have taken his place and – true to tradition – one of them now bears the same name.

Traditional monasteries, Mykonos

Located near Ano Mera, the most ancient settlement on Mykonos, Paleokastro monastery is the best example of traditional Cycladic ecclesiastic architecture. Also near Ano Mera, the impressive Tourliani monastery was built in 1542, restored in 1767 and possesses a lovely carved-wood temple screen crafted in Florence. It also includes a small museum with Byzantine and Renaissance relics.

On the route...

The island of Delos

Delos is a small island of great archaeological importance, about 3 miles west of Mykonos, and a Unesco World Heritage Site. The whole island is quite literally an open-air museum. Out of its many interesting sites, I would personally suggest the antiquities of this island once unseen (a-delos in Greek) that emerged from the waves to become obvious (delos). Make sure you hire a guide or read a good book beforehand. It is certainly worthwhile discovering this “island of Apollo” on your own and, at the end of the day, take a swim on its gorgeous southern beaches.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : KOKOTOS

Calling from another country ? Click here

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Step 2 : 2 days, 2 nights

Kirini Suites & Spa

The pure essence of Greece
Kirini Suites & Spa
This is the best spot to enjoy the sunset from the top of the caldera, right in the middle of the island’s most beautiful settlement, Oia. Protected by Unesco as a world heritage site, this village has unique architecture carved right into the steep cliff-side, like caves. The hotel’s restaurant is a typical example of the cave concept, and naturally enough serves the best of local delicacies.

Close to the property...

Ζannos Melathron, Santorini

This lovey property was the home of the eponymous ship-owner, built according to the traditional architecture of Santorini’s grand estates, with arched rooms and panoramic views, being located at the island’s very top. Sitting at the hotel’s terrace restaurant, the whole of the Aegean Sea rests at your feet.

Ζannos Melathron

Mooring at Akrotiri

When approaching the unique volcanic island of Santorini by boat, the first mooring must be at Akrotiri, the island premiere archaeological site. Located at the south-western point and having recently been covered by a state-of-the-art roof, it is the most important pre-historic settlement in the Aegean. Nowadays, a guided tour takes one through the ruins of a city destroyed by an enormous volcanic eruption in the 14thc. B.C.

Afternoon stroll around Oia

Of all the sites and dining options in Santorini, I would personally choose to take an afternoon stroll around the town of Oia to wander around its traditional preserved settlement that showcases the local architectural tradition. I would join the hundreds of people who flock here to view the sunset, and then would take the winding path down to the harbor in order to enjoy the fresh fish at Cypriot Loizos’s tavern.

On the route...

Mineral And Fossil Museum, Perissa

This museum, located in Perissa, houses exhibits from the island, Greece and the rest of the world. The oldest specimen is dated at 1,5 billion years, while the newest at 50 000 years. Particularly important are the plant fossils of olive trees, schinus, and palm tree that have been unearthed from the Santorini caldera and are dated at 50 to 60 000 years. These exhibits are part of a unique paleoflora that tracks the evolution of plants throughout the Mediterranean region.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : KOKOTOS

Calling from another country ? Click here

Revenir en haut de page
Step 3 : 2 days, 2 nights

Elounda Mare Hotel

A hotel blessed by the gods
Elounda Mare Hotel
The Elounda Mare became internationally renowned in the 1980s for its private-pool bungalows, our collection of antique folk art, and the three lovely restaurants that serve a menagerie of tastes spanning the Mediterranean. The sister hotels nearby, owned by our family add a boutique 9-hole golf course and a grand Six Senses Spa to the options of choice. Above all, the Elounda Mare reached the height of its fame due to the international personalities that have made it their favourite vacation spot.

Close to the property...

Experience our Spa

In 2006, we opened the stunning Six Senses Spa which was immediately recognized by the Sunday Times’ travel magazine as the “World’s Best Spa”! Managed by the world’s foremost spa firm, Six Senses Spas, the spa was an immediate success with spa connoisseurs from all around the world. As we say, it creates innovative and enlightening experiences that rejuvenate our guests…

A boat ride to Spinalonga

Out of the many sites in the area of Elounda, and if you only have a half-day on your hands, then make sure you take a boat ride to Spinalonga, the island-fortress with astonishing venetian fortifications and its old houses depicting traditional Cretan styles of architecture. If you happen to be chartering a private boat to Spinalonga, then do take a detour on the hidden side of the peninsula and swim in the bay of Kryos.

On the route...

The great Minoan civilization

Many archaeological sites and musea, both in nearby Aghios Nikolaos and at the capital, Herakleion, showcase the great Minoan civilization. Both the palaces of Knossos and Phaestos are within easy driving distance, while the Byzantine churches on the Spinalonga peninsula can be visited on foot, just a stroll away from the hotel. Enjoy Crete!

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : KOKOTOS

Calling from another country ? Click here

Texts : © Guides Gallimard