The Big Six: Greek island idylls - Europe - Travel - The Independent

The Big Six: Greek island idylls

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The Rou Estate, Corfu

An abandoned hamlet in the foothills of Mount Pantokrator has been transformed to create the Rou Estate. Converted by British architect Dominic Skinner – who moved to Corfu after a stint working for Norman Foster – it now has 14 self-contained stone houses, elevated above the east coast with views towards the Albanian headland. Each cottage is different in style, but they are linked by lavish gardens planted with wisteria, wild herbs and cypress trees. A communal pool, gym and spa provide the finishing touches.

The Rou Estate, Sinies, Corfu (Bookings via Simpson Travel 0845 868 5214; rouestate.co.uk). Rental starts at £1,716 per week for six guests.

Blue Palace, Crete

The Blue Palace flaunts flawless views of the Bay of Elounda, with the rising spine of Spinalonga in the distance. Each of the elegant suites, bungalows and villas salutes the sea-front setting, with nautical shades of sheer white and blue. Restaurants range from the Flame steak house to a typical Greek taverna at the Blue Door, which serves shrimp souvlaki and Cretan dakos from a former fisherman's house on the shore. The private pebble beach provides space to unwind, with parasols, daybeds and the Isola bar.

Blue Palace, Elounda, Crete (00 30 284 106 5500; bluepalace.gr). Double bungalows start at €260, room only.

San Giorgio, Mykonos

This "pop-up" hotel sprang up in the Cyclades in May as a collaboration between Design Hotels and Mykonos's Paradise Club. Until 15 October, it welcomes guests to an earthy, bohemian setting that aims to feel like "visiting the summer home of your coolest friend". It has 34 rooms and suites, dotted with woven rugs and stripped wooden tables, all cast against a bright backdrop of whitewashed walls. Perks include a pool-side restaurant and VIP entry to the Paradise Club for all guests.

San Giorgio, Paraga, Mykonos (00 30 228 902 7474; sangiorgio-mykonos.com). Doubles start at €150, B&B.

Kos Imperial Thalasso, Kos

Palm trees and perfect Aegean waters meet on the shoreline of the Kos Imperial, which has six lagoon-like pools and a "lazy river" which guests can float down on rubber rings. The reason for the deluge? Kos is the birthplace of Hippocrates, the founding father of Western medicine, who believed in the healing power of water. The Elixir spa continues the theme with "thalassotherapy" treatments that use warm seawater. Down at the beach, there's also a Padi-certified dive centre and watersports.

Kos Imperial Thalasso, Psalidi, Kos (00 30 224 205 8000; grecotel.com/kos). Doubles start at €139, room only.

Melenos, Rhodes

It took local owner Michalis Melenos 14 years to realise his dream of creating "a village within a village" near the ancient acropolis at Lindos. Born and bred in Rhodes, Michalis drafted in an army of local craftsmen to breathe new life into this corner of the island. Together they created 12 suites, with hand-painted ceramics, ornate pebble mosaics and carved wooden furniture. The attention to detail is matched outside with landscaped gardens and a roof-top restaurant that glances out across the Aegean.

Melenos, Lindos, Rhodes (00 30 224 403 1720; melenoslindos.com). Doubles start at €200, including breakfast.

On the Rocks, Santorini

As its name suggests, On the Rocks juts out from a volcanic cliff-face on Santorini's dramatic east coast. Its blanched crop of cubist suites and villas stand some 200 metres above the caldera basin, with panoramic views of the thermal playground below. Inside, the rooms are almost entirely alabaster-white, save for subtle splashes of sea blue. The scenic, ridge-top village of Imerovigli hugs the resort on all sides, while the island capital of Fira is a 10-minute drive away.

On the Rocks, Imerovigli, Santorini (00 30 228 602 3889; onrocks.net). Doubles from €139, including breakfast.

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