Santa Marina is the jewel in the crown that is Mykonos

Words by
Izzy Schaw Miller

20th June 2024

Return to the Halcyon days, on the island that is as discreetly mystical as it is famously magnificent. With villas, suites and infinity pools overlooking cascading views, a private beach accessing neighbouring historical islands, and four dining spots and a spa hailing visitors from all over the world, Santa Marina Mykonos is the family-run five-star hotel in which you might never want to leave.

Infinity Pool, Santa Marina Mykonos
Santa Marina's pool dropping down onto the sparkling ocean

A jet-setting destination for the wealthy and famous, where the nightlife and megayachts glisten as much as the Aegean sea they overlook, as each year goes by Mykonos never fails to shine big and bright. While the last decades have seen glitzy hotels pop up all over the island, no doubt leading Mykonos’ distinguished high-end game is Santa Marina, the Cycladic isle’s first five star resort. 

The family-run hotel has a special history, and one which mimics that of Mykonos itself. In the 70s late founder Elias Papageorgiou predicted the rise of the charmingly rustic Mykonos as one of the hottest destinations in the world, and in 1979, purchased a simple patch of land comprising an old farmhouse, chapel and windmill. The site has since burgeoned into what is now a sprawling resort, today owned and managed by Papageorgiou’s daughter Christiana Papageorgiou. Amongst its offering the hotel boasts two worldly restaurants, the pampering Ginkgo spa, a helicopter pad and that’s not to mention its very own private beach - a rare commodity on the sought-after island.

The Windmill, Santa Marina Mykonos
The original Windmill recently renovated into a delightful suite for two


The hotel is positioned enviably with dainty whitewashed residences perched on the atmospheric hillsides of the peninsula, and each room catching sight of sweeping views of serene deep-blue waters and odd boat (or superyacht) sailing by. 

Villa view, Santa Marina Mykonos
View from one of Santa Marina's twelve villas

Santa Marina as a whole strikes as being a scattered paradisal village, that both perfectly slots into the surrounding island while having an identity like no other. Papageorgiou and interior designer Silvina Macipe Krontiras, whose collaboration has given the copious grounds a more homely feel than the typical ultra-minimalist Grecian abode, have considered every corner and crevice of the resort. A palette of bright blue and yellow hues that match the idyllic sun and sea they look out on are complemented with earthy, woody tones and bamboo adornments throughout, adding to a discreetly chic and exotic allure.

Villa Turquoise, Santa Marina Mykonos

Villa Turquoise with private pool

Villa Turquoise with private pool

Booking a luxury suite home to its own terrace, private pool and glorious panoramic views makes an ideal honeymoon spot. For an even more unique experience, new to the resort this summer is the Windmill suite, where higher up the hill the original circular white-stoned structure is transformed into a spiralling three-story snug.

Deluxe Seaview Suite, Santa Marina Mykonos
A Deluxe Suite set with a private pool and sea views
Windmill Suite, Santa Marina Mykonos
Inside the turreted Windmill Suite, perfect for two


In parallel to its surroundings, Santa Marina’s Ginkgo spa is the ultimate antidote from any stressful environment you might be seeking relief from back home. Step across paved stones that meander over turquoise water into a heaven resemblant white-curtained spa room, where a personal and fortifying treatment awaits.

Ginkgo Spa, Santa Marina Mykonos
Collaborating with ESPA & 111SKIN, Ginkgo Spa is the ultimate sanctuary

A few steps below, a beach bar oasis offers expansive four poster poolside lounges where you can kick back and dip into the sky-blue (and sky-high) infinity pool. As each area enjoys its own character, the expansive Elais restaurant has floral features with delicate leaves hanging from a grand opening bar and beds of pastel-coloured flowers weaved amongst the tables.

Elais Restaurant, Santa Marina
Elais summery breakfast and dining area
Elais Bar, Santa Marina Mykonos
My flowered pisco sour to match the gardened surroundings

The array laid out at the breakfast buffet is what you would expect from a hotel of this magnificence, and while the brut champagne is tempting I opt for a collection of ambrosial pastries and the Kayanas shakshuka, alongside of course my coffee order diligently remembered by each member of staff. Later in the day, an abundance of Greek dishes offered include Keftedakia meatballs with matchstick potatoes, yogurt, and mint oil and Gemista stuffed tomatoes and peppers with rice, raisins, fresh herbs, feta mousse and pistachio powder - all fresh and light and in typical Mediterranean spirit generously served. 

Buddha Bar Beach Restaurant, Santa Marina
Buddha Bar Beach by day

Down below, sitting above the beach, is the renowned Buddha Bar, which particularly shimmers at night against a live DJ soundtrack, welcoming guests who frequent from across the island and beyond. Sushi is the star of the menu, and we enjoy a rotating set of salmon roe, sea urchin and yellowtail nigiri galore, alongside tantalising roasted black cod with miso truffle sauce and crispy lacquered peking style duck. As a bubble on top of my cocktail bursts into a picture of myself taken seconds before, it’s clear that similar to the setting, inventive concoctions are there to impress.

Buddha Bar, Santa Marina Mykonos
A heroic array of puddings at Buddha Bar


The hotel with its secluded beach and expansive grounds feels a world away from the main Choro town, which - brimming with bustling bars, local Greek tavernas, and alluring shops and galleries set within the originally white-stoned Mykonian architecture - is just a fifteen minute taxi hop. 

Mykonos Town
Crashing waves at a bar in Mykonos Town

Santa Marina’s beach offers prime access for exploring neighbouring islands, and while understandably you may not want to leave, Papageorgiou is keen for guests to take in the rich history of Delos, known for the location of where Apollo, son of Zeus was born. As I visit the island, her passion for us to marvel in the captivating archeological island is apparent. 

Hidden behind the smoke of flawless extravagance, vibrant beauty and private shorelines, the desire Papageorgiou has for guests to create memorable experiences - that seeps through into every detail of the hotel - is perhaps where the real magic of Santa Marina lies.

The Aegean
The picturesque Aegean