A suite- and villa-only property overlooking Ornos Bay
Once home to Greek gods and a favorite destination of Jackie Kennedy as well as artists, poets, designers and actors, Mykonos isn’t new to the limelight. But the whole story of the island is rarely told: enter Kalesma. With 25 suites and two villas, the hotel opens on April 29 to introduce a luxury experience that balances fun and privacy with genuine insider knowledge of off-the-beaten-path sites.
The seasoned trio behind the project – who also established Athens hotspots Sea Spice, Pere and Ubu – are all local to the island, and the resort will share a modern expression of Mykonian traditions. Translating to “invite” or “calling,” Kalesma welcomes guests to become a part of the island’s community.
Classic Mykonian warmth and hospitality will be on full display with experiences like shared guest-only dinners; sunset celebrations at the restaurant, which has 360-degree views of the horizon; a dedicated concierge who can direct guests to the best beaches depending on the day’s winds; yacht charter opportunities; and a personal shopper to help the fashion-conscious discover local shops. Upon waking, guests will be greeted by the smell of freshly baked horiatiko bread, handcrafted by a local baker in the restaurant’s brick oven.
Set on a hilltop above Ornos Bay and just under two miles from Mykonos town, Kalesma’s accommodations will be spread across five acres and set against a lush hillside blanketed with 20,000 plants. All suites will offer unobstructed lookouts from the private patio, as well as a full-sized personal heated pool. Suite rates begin at €1,200 and villas at €2,800 per night.
At 680 sq. ft., the suites accommodate up to three adults, or two adults and two children. Each will feature private 970 sq. ft. terraces. Kalesma’s two- and three-bedroom villas can be rented together to sleep larger groups. At 2,600 sq. ft. each, both villas will have an open-plan living room with separate dining areas, a fully equipped kitchen with a pre-stocked refrigerator, wine fridge and private chef available upon request. Additional amenities will include a private gym and 24/7 butler service. Guests can also book in-room spa treatments.
For a truly unique vantage point, guests can venture up to Pere Ubu, the restaurant at the property’s peak that offers Cycladic specialties, with cheese and fish sourced from nearby islands. Steps from the hotel’s infinity pool, Pere Ubu shines with its panoramic perspectives of the sea, offering guests the rare opportunity to catch both the sunrise and sunset from the same spot. Serving light lunches and dinner, the restaurant embodies Kalesma’s community ethos with nightly sunset celebrations, evening DJ entertainment and weekly culinary events like intimate dinners exclusively for Kalesma’s guests. All are encouraged to partake in the lighthearted island lifestyle over a shared meal – and plenty of wine – before sleeping soundly just down the hill.
Kalesma has been brought to life by K-Studio, the architect behind the new Mykonos Airport (set to open 2021), with interiors by Greek designer Vangelis Bonios – Studio Bonarchi. Rooms will feature original artwork by Serbian artist Aleksandar Vac, whose ceramics evoke traditional Cycladic minimalistic forms. The lobby will take on an effortlessly cool look with furniture by Rick Owens, making Kalesma the only hotel in the world to have pieces by the celebrated designer. Kalesma’s design is inspired by Mykonian tradition, local history and the “aloni” – an existing threshing floor on the property that became the source of inspiration for the style and character of the project. Local materials and artisans have played an essential role in the identity of the resort, with wood, marble, stone and osier giving a contemporary look to traditional Cycladic style. Cool earth tones like taupe, grey, dark brown and charcoal will blend together with white-washed surfaces and bougainvillea-filled archways to give a strong sense of place and to allow the brilliant blue of the Aegean Sea to stand out.
Surely a place to see and be seen, Mykonos is so much more than its nightlife. Known as the Island of the Winds, Mykonos was the birthplace of Aeolus – appropriately, the wind god. His gusts pushed Odysseus toward home, only to have him return when a shipmate opened a bag that contained a fierce breeze that drove him back. Aeolus’s cave is located just below the Armenistis Lighthouse. Guests of Kalesma will be invited to explore the island’s history, including its much-photographed windmills that date back to the 16th century – now ornamental, they were once essential to the island’s economy.
Of course, Mykonos isn’t all culture and no fun. Greeks are famous for prioritizing carefree vibes. What form that takes is up to the vacationer. Kalesma’s beach concierge can reserve sunbeds in advance at different beach clubs, providing recommendations based on the desired mood – bathers can opt to be completely secluded, to party, to enjoy family time or to partake in water sports.
It’s been said that there are as many churches on Mykonos as there are local families, and a quick scan of the white-washed skyline underscores the anecdote. The abundance is largely due to the number of ancestral churches built on private property. Kalesma’s own chapel can serve as a picturesque backdrop for weddings.