Mykonos has long been the ‘It’ island of the Cyclades, and the charismatic Myconian Collection has always been its bastion of beauty and culture.
Words: Marianne Dick
A century ago, Mykonos was a secluded Aegean island, where its inhabitants lived using a barter trade, and witnessed only a trickle of tourists on their way to nearby Delos – a sacred UNESCO World Heritage site where overnight stays are forbidden.
By the 1960s, the likes of Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Brigitte Bardot headed directly to Mykonos for holidays, affirming its status as one of the world’s most desirable destinations. Perhaps it was the shimmering sun and the glittering sea that drew them in, or maybe it was the island’s whitewashed simplicity and fresh local cuisine that appealed – whatever the reason, Mykonos promised something inimitable to its new admirers.
Local entrepreneur George Daktylides had already established the first fleet of buses on the island when he became its third hotelier. The inaugural construction for what is today known as the Myconian Collection – a family-owned empire of leading luxury hotels – was finished in 1979. Even though the arrival of the beau monde meant more money lapping onto the island, the 25-room Kohili was born of George and his wife Eleftheria’s tireless hard work. While the couple were laying the foundations of their livelihood, they were also bringing up four sons; within ten years the Daktylides had enough hotels to bestow one to each of their boys. In 1986, an exceptional structure, the Ambassador, was built among granite boulders on the rugged coastline – it was the first five-star hotel on the island, setting the bar for Mykonos’ future tourism trade.
After growing up helping their parents look after guests during their summer holidays, the Daktylides children all knew which direction they were heading. They attended the illustrious École Hotelière in Lausanne where they honed their management skills in order to continue the family business.
Today, there are 10 outposts (and nine grandchildren) and between them they hold membership to Relais & Châteaux, The Leading Hotels of the World, Design Hotels, Preferred Hotels & Resorts and Small Luxury Hotels of the World. George may be retired now but he still makes sure his grandchildren eat a balanced diet, made up of produce from his local suppliers who are now old friends.
Mykonos welcomes millions of tourists every year, yet holidaymakers return time and again to the Myconian Collection, charmed by its familiarity. The island might have changed but the ethos of the Daktylides, who were among those who made it the place that so many fell in love with all those years ago, has not.
The Daktylides’ legendary hospitality at the Myconian Collection and its core values centred around family have always resonated with Carrier. Whether it’s a honeymoon hideaway or a unique family experience, a curated journey to one of these hotels will leave you with an irresistible allure to return.