Kenshō is a hotel in the relatively sleepy town of Ornos on Mykonos. We went there in Spring for a babymoon seeking warm respite from the endless UK winter. We stayed two nights before extending another, and then we cut short our stay at a different hotel to come back for one last night. So having spent four nights at the hotel in three different rooms, we can safely give Kenshō our mark of approval.
What it was like staying at Kensho Boutique Hotel & Spa – Our babymoon experience
Mykonos is famed as a destination of glamorous decadence, party nights and pool side days, ever since the 1930s when it first came to light as the holiday destination of the stars.
Today, due to local municipal law, the shine literally can’t fade, as dwellings are ordered to be repainted that dazzling white and vibrant azure blue every month!
The effect of this constant care and attention is a holiday destination that has an instantly uplifting effect on the weary traveller. In fact, you would probably struggle to find a holiday destination in the world so pristine, so gorgeous, but equally so unpretentious, set against the warm sun and sea.
Kenshō hotel is 15 minutes from Mykonos airport however we were warned that in peak season (July – August) the traffic can get quite clogged, so allow up to 40 minutes. Kenshō, as well as a lot of hotels in Mykonos, provide transfers from the airport for a fee, and can be your taxi service for the duration of your stay. Taxis were plentiful in the May shoulder season.
Kenshō is a very new addition to the quality hotel options in Mykonos. “Soft launched” in 2016, and officially opening in 2017, it has quickly become a top accommodation choice for selective sun seekers after back-to-back award wins for small gongs such as “World’s Best Hotel” and “Europe’s Best Hotel” at the Boutique Hotel Awards. And the praise is worthy.
Set up on the hill behind Ornos Bay town, the tranquil view overlooks the sea with an easy 5 minute walk to seaside bars and restaurants.
Japanese in name (meaning “enlightenment”) and drawing on local Cycladic design, Kenshō’s balance and tranquil energy connects the minute you step in to into its cool, considered interiors.
The natural beauty of the hotel strikes you immediately; gnarled wood and textured wattle and daub walls contrast with smooth pebble and cool stone like a natural art gallery, letting tired eyes enjoy their surrounds while they unwind from life and wait for a fresh juice or great cocktail, and possibly the best lamb souvlaki we have ever sampled.
The heart of the hotel is a fresh water pool oasis, which Conde Nast has voted one of the most stunning pools in the world with its scattering of olive trees and scented rosemary shading the sun-kissed traveller, and framing the knock-out view. There’s also top-end massage, hammam, beauty and gym facilities on-site.
The thing that keeps Kenshō particularly chill is the relaxed, charming and attentive service at all times. Hotels rarely manage to achieve consistent service like this that doesn’t feel forced or taught, but instead emanates from clearly happy people who work there. This is contagious, and takes your own enjoyment to another level quickly, which is the key to any good stay.
Against Mykonos’ cinematic backdrop, we found true rest at this slice of Hellenic heaven.
We hadn’t planned to, but we ended up staying in three different rooms in the hotel, so we really got a good experience of the 25 different of rooms on offer which range from stunning seaside views with outside jacuzzi to cosy interior rooms. The décor is beautiful in each with alabaster walls, Hermes bath products, and organic furniture touches by masters such as Kenneth Cobonpue and Patricia Urquiola.
According to the staff, guests regularly request details of the bedding and mattresses at Kenshō, and we can attest that the sleeping experience alone makes a stay here worthwhile. We spent most of the time horizontal either in our room or by the pool and we’ve never had cosier or comfier sleeps (and one of us was very, very pregnant, so that’s saying something!).
We felt that Kenshō’s design and service makes it the place to go if you only have even a weekend to relax. You’ll find your instant “off” button.
Also note, Kenshō have a pretty bangin’ villa now on offer in Ornos bay which was opened just after we left, but we are sure would be a sweet pad for a group seeking sunny solace.
Kenshō is aiming to earn the first Michelin star on the island and we can see that is in their stars. From fresh, delicious breakfasts to sophisticated dinner menus, everything we sampled was consistently great, tailoring local traditional cuisine to modern tastes.
- Visit seaside Apaggio restaurant in Ornos bay. Full disclosure: we ate here every day due to the romantic on-the-water feel, friendly service, and downright incredible Greek food sourced locally and cooked in Cretan virgin olive oil including dolmades, creamy fava, lemony tzatziki, fresh grilled seafood, delicious Greek cheeses and Mykonian local specialities.
- Go and grab a bite at the local bakeries in Ornos village to find delicious traditional cheese pasties.
- Hire a car/scooter in Ornos and drive back to Mykonos Old Port (where car parking is difficult in high season) and check out the cute alleyways of shops and of course the landmark Mykonos windmills of Kato Mili. The view of these is best with drink in hand at any of the bars in Little Venice.
- Head to beach shack Joanna and Niko’s Taverna for a lively feel, great traditional Greek food. Good for kids to run around on the beach too.
- Learn how to cook traditional Mykonian food – run by the charming local chef Teta Fragedaki in her gorgeous home, you’ll learn to whip up everything from tasty dolmades to lamb souvlaki! All around the table with flowing local wines and banter. Book this and other local experiences at www.mykonianspiti.com. Courses €50 per head.
Kenshō Boutique Hotel & Spa
25 rooms, 10 suites
From £200 to £600 per night low season
£600-1000 high season