Sailing across Aegean waters in search of total relaxation, The Mandraki Beach Resort mantra ‘Come, stay and do nothing’ sounds like tranquillity to us.
Our short voyage takes us 37 nautical miles from Athens, to the beautiful island of Hydra. Taking its name from Greek mythology, Hydra – a serpentine sea monster, is kept at bay by the resort’s trusty sea captain, navigating calmly through choppy October winds and waves, to reach Mandraki, 7 minutes away. Defended either side by two old fortresses and original canons, lies the newly built tower of the exclusive 5-star Mandraki Beach Resort – a sanctuary on shore and Luxe Bible’s room for the night.
Like an old friend, owner Arthur Fitzwilliam proudly welcomes and leads us on to solid ground, past the tiki bar, sun beds & parasols, and out on to a large white, sun-washed private balcony.
Cool, calm, soothing white marble floors, lead through the tower surrounded by light grey stone walls, softened by eggshell linen curtains draped in front of wooden shutters. There’s a fresh bowl of fruit on the glass table, set out in front of a dreamy, cream T shaped sofa. Throwing open the shutters, sunlight spills into the room, turning it from a subdued neutral colour of calming whites, into a hint of Aegean blue and in keeping with the warm palette, reflections of sea splash onto the walls.
Every fitting and piece of furniture has been seamlessly selected – interior design decadence. Nestled between floor-to-ceiling windows sits a modern minimalistic wooden writing desk, with a conveniently placed inviting menu on top. We can expect local, fresh dishes for dinner, but liquid lunch beckons now. With plumped pillows on a bed of soft white linen, we could easily be lulled into dreamy sleep, but that would have to wait! ‘From Hydra with Love’ a gin cocktail, with yuzu, citrus, mandarin, mini mint leaves and pink grapefruit soda, was being shaken downstairs! Yamas!
With wind chimes for music, there is little else to do, but sit, sip and admire the view. Blue on blue, the Mandraki swing rocks on the sandy beach. Keen to sit and while away an hour, Arthur shares his future vision with us for his Mandraki Beach Resort. In the main tower, four decadent rooms are complete. Once his last guests have left for the season, work will resume on 14 luxurious Beach front swim-up cabanas with plunge pools, ready to welcome back next summer’s guests.
A gentle stroll up an old pathway leads us to the old fortification. From this vantage point, we take a moment to reflect on the island’s ship building history. In the 1800’s Patriot and Revolutionist; Admiral Andreas Miaoulis protected these Greek Seas against an Ottoman fleet. Today, Mandraki Beach Resort commands the land, breathing new life into historic rock while ensuring the legacy survives and thrives.
Back in the impeccable marble bathroom of the tower, wrapped in crisp white cotton robes embossed with gold stitching, Luxe Bible gets ready for the evening. Zesty lime and mandarin fragrance by Greek Skincare company, Olive Era drifting through the calm luxe air!
We do not doubt the magic of eating under a full harvest moon, but tonight, those Greek mythological wind Gods are blowing, so we take our seat inside. Protected by old stone walls, the interior of the hall is not yet finished, with a vision of artwork, and even a name to be chosen.
The Mediterranean feast – a fusion inspired by Greek gastronomy begins with classic tzatziki chard, cucumber and black garlic served with homemade warm bread buns, followed by four juicy black tiger shrimps perching on a mouth-watering bed of risotto with succulent sun-dried tomatoes, seaweed and shrimp bisque from Symi. It’s clear to see why the Greek island of Symi (now on Luxe Bible’s Must Visit list!) is famous for its unique shrimp! Sensational. As all good things must come to an end, so does the most beautiful chocolate dessert we have quite possibly ever tasted – the vanishing chocolate sphere which is a melting pot of namelaka biskélia cream oozing to uncover salted caramel goo.
Under a pink sky at sunrise, the Mandraki mantra whispers ‘stay and do nothing’; winds have dropped and the warm sparkling sea invites us in. Midday already! The staff call on the blue-eyed sea captain to sail us back to Hydra.
As we leave the Bay on calmer waters, Luxe Bible give thanks to the wind gods for blowing us in, and like last night’s dessert, we vanish… taking nothing but our Mandraki memory of 5-star tranquillity. Book your suite and retreat at The Mandraki Beach Resort, Hydra, here.