This elegant boutique hotel is a Cycladic haven for laidback, exquisite pleasure, proving that luxury is not about gilt
The late September skies were overcast and the clouds tinged violet-pink but there wasn’t a trace of wind on the island notorious for its gusty weather and the waters of the Aegean were deliciously calm.
Just as smooth was the 11-minute ride in a Mercedes Viano from Mykonos’ ‘new’ port to the chic boutique pad where we would be celebrating our anniversary long weekend.
Arriving at Bill & Coo Suites & Lounge, a five-star luxury hotel situated in a peaceful, privileged location atop a rocky hill, just a couple minutes’ drive from Mykonos Town, we were whisked through check-in and took a seat on a lounge in the shade just above the infinity pool.
Sipping on refreshing fruit juice, we peered down at the Baos rock islet and the mega-yacht anchored off shore, past which ferries silently slinked back and forth.
Those in the know, who visit Mykonos often, make it a point to gather at Bill & Coo for the daily sunset cocktail ritual. And while the isle is not lacking in fabulous boutique hotels, this is one of the few in its class which occupy a prime west-facing position.
With its whitewashed exteriors, stone, exposed rock, glass and timber features, Bill & Coo is a slick pairing of traditional Cycladic architecture and ‘60s retro design revisited, that blends easily with the rugged Cycladic environment. The omnipresent natural materials revive and soothe.
While every tiny detail has been tended to, even typically Greek touches like little earthenware pots of lavender, the hotel is sumptuous in its simplicity and stylish without having to try. We felt that inner urban pressure valve gently switch off as we swiftly eased into a state of utter zen.
It was still early, so few fellow hotel guests – exclusively couples – were up yet, let alone the rest of the island, yet we were already settling into a relaxed Mykonos state of mind as the familiar soundtrack was playing: chill house tunes that feel as if they were created exclusively for this one-of-a-kind Greek isle.
To the south are stacks of sleepy, traditional cubed Cycladic houses, interspersed with the odd palm tree, and, to the north, the island’s iconic thatch-roof windmills stand proud.
Right below, at Megali Ammos beach, early risers were getting in their first swim of the day, paddling over the flat reef near the shore.
I looked down towards the far left edge of the beach and spotted the traditional-style studios, run by the sweetest host you could imagine, where I had stayed with friends on two or three occasions some 14 years ago.
Back then, holidays on Mykonos meant non-stop partying till the sun came out on in all its blazing glory, so that meant sunglasses were de rigueur when heading out for the night.
And I recalled looking up at the hill, where Bill & Coo stands, and distinctly remember a whitewashed hotel with wooden balconies and shutters painted peppermint. I still don’t know if it’s the same hotel.
Great memories but, this time, I was back in my beloved Mykonos with my amore, to celebrate our third year as a wedded couple in style.
Soon enough, we were escorted to our Sea View Suite, which we reached by descending a hand-moulded staircase which leads to a quiet hallway.
Stepping into the light, airy open-plan suite, in which shades of light grey and fresh white dominate, we kicked off our shoes and treaded barefoot across the cream, polished cement floors and let ourselves absorb the minimalist vibe. Sparsely furnished, it gives the impression of space: lots of beautiful space – 38sq m to be exact – to stretch out weary limbs and declutter information-overloaded brains.
Soft, atmospheric lighting peeks out from pinewood lattice-work on the ceiling and circular mirrors on one wall of the cosy lounge area. The opposite wall features an interactive work of art constituting ball-shaped stones that you can move around steel fixtures and create your own pattern each day.
The semi-private bathroom, located right next to the entrance, gives the feeling of a beach residence where you can pop in the shower right after a day of sunning and swimming.
This is how all Greek island accommodations should be. When one chooses to visit an island, they’re trying to get away from all of that heaviness that weighs them down all year. They want lightness and fresh spaces that clear the mind and soul.
In our suite, there’s enough room to practise yoga indoors. But why not head out to the terrace to take in the sea views and Cycladic architectural landscape. Some suites have their own jacuzzi on the terrace.
Though we’re creatures of the sea, it wasn’t easy to pull ourselves away from Bill & Coo’s shaded, spacious pool lounge before 2pm. We cooled off with a dip in the infinity pool and watched yachts slice through a shimmering cobalt sea.
When the pool was empty, sparrows would sit on the edge and dip their beaks in for a drink, while blackbirds would swoop in and look over at the bar staff to see if they had noticed them.
An older German couple chose to take in every brilliant sunset from the best seat in the house: a corner table that enjoys uninterrupted sea views and sits just above the property’s tiny, red-domed church.
Breakfast at Bill & Coo was an affair that we delighted in. Each day we nabbed a table at the outer edge of the restaurant space, which looks over the pool and sea, and heralded morning with an aromatic espresso. On Mykonos, a longtime favourite of Italians, good espresso is guaranteed.
Bill & Coo’s breakfast menu features a generous Greek spread, which features cheese pie, traditional rice pudding and halva. However we opted for a la carte dishes of carefully-poached eggs, fluffy cheese omelette, the crispest bacon we’ve had, diced cherry tomatoes and char-grilled manouri cheese laced with a thyme-scented olive oil dressing. There are also plenty of high protein egg white-based dishes for the muscle-crunching crowd.
Talented yet humble Athinagoras Kostakos is the man in the kitchen at Bill & Coo, whose gourmet Mediterranean cuisine draws an eclectic crowd. It’s good to see that the young, amiable Greek chef also oversees the breakfast service.
Kostakos is complemented by top-notch wait staff; ours recalled our preferred breakfast dishes and welcomed us with fresh grapefruit juice and jars of fruit salad “to wake us up” gently, tending to us with graciousness, humour and a warm smile.
Indicative of the comfort level here was the fact that one tall, elegant female guest turned up barefoot for breakfast, granted in a silk grey dress skimming her slim frame. And no one blinked an eye.
So accustomed is Mykonos and its business operators to delivering top-class services, that it happens effortlessly. This makes the island the perfect training ground for tourism employees, who – faced with exacting standards that worldly travellers expect – quickly learn what it means to be a genuine hospitality professional; that’s if they can cut it in the tough business of pleasing people.
Indeed, the island is consistently creating jobs for young Greeks as new hotels, bars, restaurants and boutiques open each year.
Suitably nourished, we spent our days beach-hopping and our nights ambling through Mykonos Town, playing with shadows up at the windmills and dining at hip tavernas and restaurants right on the water.
No late night partying at the bars and clubs. Just time to enjoy each other’s company, be it sleeping in on long, lazy mornings atop our large, comfy double bed or hanging out by the pool – which lights up like the night sky as darkness falls – with a glass of prosecco. Across the way, you can make out the twinkling lights of Tinos.
Who said Mykonos isn’t romantic? For all of these reasons and more, Bill & Coo – as its name suggests – proved the perfect nest for a lovers’ getaway.
Bill & Coo Suites & Lounge, a newly-minted member of The Leading Hotels of the World, will be joined by Bill & Coo Coast Suites, which opens in May, promising genuine barefoot luxury in 15 stylish suites right on Agios Ioannis beach.
Tel: +30 22890 26292-3