Secret Hotels of the Greek Isles
If you're seeking peace, quiet, and a killer tan, look no further than the islands of Páros and Antiparos.
Cléa Chatzinikolakis knows the island's secrets--and she can share them in five languages: Greek, English, French, Italian, and Arabic. Over a welcome drink, Cléa pulls out a map and tells guests where to swim if they want a little privacy ("Park here and follow the rope through the trees") and which taverna serves the best grilled fish (Mitsis, in Little Venice, one of three bays in the town of Naoussa). The only problem with following her advice is that it means leaving the haven she and her husband, Sotiris, have created--a place where it's very tempting to spend the day just lounging around the pool or playing tennis on the artificial-grass court. A former ad executive (Cléa) and production manager (Sotiris) at McCann Erickson in Athens, the Chatzinikolakises bought the property about a mile and a half outside Naoussa with the intention of building a summer home. But they decided they wanted to spend more time on Páros, so they opened Petres in 1994. All 16 rooms and the one suite have views of the sea. The couple's flair and attention to detail are visible everywhere, from the threshing boards they've turned into coffee tables; to the shells, icons, and evil-eye talismans in unexpected corners; to the fact that the Jacuzzi in the fitness center has a view of the sea and the steam room looks out to the mountains. Each morning, a buffet breakfast with homemade savory pies and strong coffee is served poolside. 011-30/22840-52467, petres.gr, from $98, includes breakfast, open mid-April to mid-October.
A half-mile outside Naoussa, the 12-room Maryo Village is named for the owner's grandmother--but that's the only grandmotherly thing about it. First opened in 1986, the hotel was renovated in 2002 and is decorated in a Poseidon-meets-Philippe Starck vibe. The combination of Greek and chic is evident on the large terrace, where an infinity pool overlooks the countryside and sea. Next to the pool is an outdoor bar area with rattan sofas and white canvas cushions, colorful glass lanterns, and chess and backgammon boards. The hotel feels like a private club, not least because its entrance is at the end of a winding road, unmarked, and hard to find. "We had a sign, but it blew away so many times that after the last big winds, we felt bad for it," says manager Mania Simitzi, explaining why the sign was never put back up again. "Besides, most of our guests are repeat visitors, so they know where to go." Rooms at Maryo Village have televisions, mosquito-net canopies over the built-in beds, a wash of bright blue or red on the walls, and balconies. Katerina, a double, and Maryo, a minisuite (the chaise makes it suitable for three) have the best views of both the sea and the courtyard. 011-30/22840-51972, maryovillage.gr, from $104, includes breakfast, open April to mid-October.
Lennart Pihl, a hotelier and antiques collector, opened Heaven Naoussa five years ago near the heart of Naoussa. "It's more of a bed-and-breakfast, really," says Pihl, explaining that guests tend not to stay put during the day. Instead, they hop on one of the small fishing boats that make frequent runs from the harbor to nearby swimming spots, including Kolymbithres, a series of shallow bays created by volcanic-rock deposits, and Monastiri, a popular beach at the foot of a cliff that's topped with a monastery. Heaven's four rooms, five suites, and two maisonettes (two-bedroom apartments with kitchenettes and a shared plunge pool) have private balconies and are filled with antiques. Martina Blair, the manager, offers advice on where to eat and what to see and do. She also makes arrangements for the daily in-room breakfast (usually set up on the balcony) of yogurt, fruit, honey, muesli, coffee, and juice. 011-30/22840-51549, heaven-naoussa.com, from $98, includes breakfast, open June to October.
Lefkes was the original capital of Páros, chosen because its inland, hilltop location stymied pirates. It's one of the most beautiful towns in Greece, with views of the sea, the church of Agia Triada at the very peak, and windmills that dot the countryside. Lefkes Village resort, within walking distance of town, was built in 1995. The reception area and restaurant were modeled on Lefkes's neoclassical kafenia (coffee shops); instead of old men sipping ouzo, its pergola shelters guests as they lounge around the pool. In the evening, the restaurant serves local specialties (such as paximadokoulouro, cheese-and-tomato salad on rusk, a kind of biscuit), while George Pittas, who co-owns the hotel with a cousin, plays DJ. Lefkes Village also features a dovecote where grapes are stomped during the late-summer wine-making season and a folk museum with a collection of old photos, urns, and tools. All of the 20 rooms (14 doubles and triples, and six duplex family rooms) have either a balcony or terrace. 011-30/22840-41827, lefkesvillage.gr, from $117, includes breakfast, open April to early October.