I've just been to Paradise. Then I went to Super Paradise – because on Mykonos, paradise just isn't enough. But don't be fooled into thinking these are peaceful places. Paradise and Super Paradise, located in adjacent bays on the south coast of the island, are the most hedonistic party beaches in the Cyclades archipelago. After noon you will only find peace there if your idea of heaven is raving on a beach with the cast of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Thank the Greek Gods, then, for Agios Stefanos. Far from the clubbers, this small beach on the north-west coast offers quiet seclusion, overlooked by the serene and stylish Mykonos Grace Hotel. Mykonos may be renowned for its lively beach parties and glittering gay scene, but the island is far more versatile than that. Its laid-back style is exemplified at the Grace, which combines traditional Mykonian white, cubist architecture with all the attention to detail that you would expect from a luxury boutique hotel.
From the comfy pool-side loungers (some of them doubles), you can gaze over the Aegean and imagine the Greek legends playing out on the neighbouring island of Delos (mythical birthplace of Apollo and Artemis), while well-tailored waiters bring you iced water and refreshing aperitifs on the house. Chill-out and world music drifts discreetly from speakers hidden around the pool, behind which the open-fronted bar and restaurant is open all day.
The Grace's most spectacular meal is its signature breakfast buffet. Choose from muesli, fruit and Greek yogurt; croissants with rich, dark dipping chocolate; pancakes with sweet or savoury fillings; eggs cooked every which way, including egg-white omelettes with spinach, bacon, smoked salmon, smoked trout, sautéed shrimps, grilled cherry tomatoes... an Olympian feast that will more than prepare you for an Odyssey around the island to Delos, or just into the main town of Chora.
Also known as Mykonos Town, Chora is a gorgeous warren of narrow lanes lined with meringue-like buildings in which you can lose yourself for hours, stopping at whichever stylish shop, bar, chapel or taverna takes your fancy. The district of Little Venice, below the iconic row of converted windmills, is the place to sit with a cocktail as the sun sets over cruise ships in the bay.
Mykonos Grace Agios Stefanos, Mykonos, Greece (00 30 22 890 20000; mykonosgrace.com ). The Grace sits right above the sandy and sheltered Agios Stefanos, 1.5 km north of the new port and a five-minute taxi or bus ride from Chora. Cars cannot enter the narrow lanes of Chora itself, so if you do hire a car, park it near the port and enjoy the stroll into the labyrinth.
Time from international airport: Five to 10 minutes by the hotel's courtesy bus.
This was the first in a growing line of Grace hotels in the Greek islands, which now includes the Santorini Grace and the work-in-progress Kea Grace. Mykonos Grace set the standard for the group in 2007, when it won the European Hotel Design of the Year award for "bringing the outdoors inside", through a use of natural light and photographic elements: each of the 31 white, minimalist rooms has a sea view and a large backlit, canvas-mounted photograph of local flora at the head of a king-size bed.
The superior doubles have plunge pools and double sun loungers on their sea-facing terraces. Some suites have their own steam rooms, while all guests can make use of the hammam in the spa, or choose from a menu of relaxing (but expensive) treatments.
Freebies: a glass of champagne on arrival and a daily bottle of mineral water thereafter; Korres body-care products; tea and coffee; pool-side liqueurs.
Keeping in touch: free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel; flat-screen satellite TV, DVD player. The hotel also has a library with a shady terrace, and a business centre.
The bottom line
Doubles start at €180 including breakfast and airport transfers, through to €950 for the VIP suite in high season.
I'm not paying that: Hotel Rochari (00 30 2289 023107; rochari.com ) is an elegant family-run establishment on a hill overlooking Chora. B&B starts at €90.Reuse content