If we’re just going by hotel openings, Paros is destined to be Greece’s newest island hot spot. And the Minois Hotel is where you should stay next.
If your idea of a Greek island holiday generally orbits around Santorini or Mykonos, it’s time to broaden your horizons. Paros, located not 50 miles (80.46 km) south of Mykonos, has been slowly gaining popularity among the jetset in the last decade (though you’ll occasionally come across a chic European who’s been vacationing here with family for much longer). But it’s really just in the last few years that its luxury hotel scene has become more exciting, which only speaks to how much more desirable Paros has become.
Bookmark this hotel to experience Greek hospitality on this stunning Island
- Minois is minutes away from the village of Parikia, the ferry port of Pounda, and Paros airport.
- The renovation unveiled a more colourful Mediterranean-inspired design scheme. All rooms come with a personality — and many come with private plunge pools.
- The food, developed in partnership with Alexandros Tsiotinis, who has a Michelin-starred restaurant in Athens, is fantastic — don’t miss the vast breakfast spread.
- The bar at Olvo Restaurant, perched over a rocky beach that faces the Aegean, is a gorgeous sunset hangout.
Last year, Marriott’s Luxury Collection brought Cosme to Paros. This year, Minois Hotel, a 44-room boutique property, draws travellers to the quieter, western edge of the island. The June 2023 reopening of Minois is particularly notable because it places guests on the other side of Paros, near Parikia (most of the other luxury hotels are closer to the larger, more popular village of Naoussa). Minois is minutes from the airport and Pounda, which is where you’ll take the ferry to the neighbouring Antiparos. Parikia is also entirely less crowded than Naoussa, but it still has charming design shops and lively restaurants, without a party atmosphere.
This boutique resort is actually a renovated property. The bones and blueprint of the original are the same, but many millions of euros later, the energy and aesthetic are completely different. The old hotel used to be all white — mimicking the white-washed Cycladic villages you’ll find in this part of the world. The visual transformation added more playfulness and warmth to the property. So, now you’ll find terra cotta, splashes of blue, beautiful custom tile work, and lots of eye-catching textiles. (The shell-shaped shower stalls, which will undoubtedly leave wet bathroom floors, are still there as a nod to some of the cave-like hotels that you might expect on Santorini.)
Pool suites were added to the room inventory because the main pool is not very big. Food is now a major talking point for Minois, which is great because most of Paros’ best restaurants are on the opposite side of the island. There was also a massive investment in finding great staff, and guests should feel their helpfulness right away, whether that’s to secure dinner reservations or to provide advice on which beach you should hit up for the day. If there is an immediate downside that might discourage booking: there is no direct beach access at Minois. If you’re the type who wants to roll out of bed and onto the sand, know that you’ll need to walk about five minutes to the nearest beach. But, honestly, is that a big deal? Regardless of where you stay in Paros, you’ll want to drive to other beaches anyway.
Read on for everything you need to know about Minois Hotel.
The multimillion-dollar investment into the property can be felt everywhere you go, but it’s especially valuable in the rooms and villas. Minois’ facelift took all-white interiors and brightened them up with more personality: the aesthetic, created by Athens-based architecture and design firm Mutiny, is more Mediterranean than Cycladic, with many custom-made pieces by Greek creatives. There are colourful hand-painted ceramic sinks by Amano, framed abstract paintings by Alexandra Papadimouli, dainty wall sconces by Angelos Arvanitis, and Melina Xenaki terracotta tile panels, which act as headboards. The vibe is definitely in line with modern boutique hotels.
Forty-four rooms and suites, stuffed into a few low-lying buildings, come with terraces and patios. No two units are alike, though. So some of the outdoor spaces might have sea views or direct access to the main pool. Others might have more expansive patios that don’t offer either. It goes without saying that the farther you are from the sea, the more obstructed your views of the water will be. But if water access is important, many of the studios and multi-room suites come with their own pools. The Element Private Pool Suite might be the best booking in the house: the pool extends out from the back patio all the way to the back wall, like a mini lap pool.
Food and drink
Alexandros Tsiotinis, of Athens’ Michelin-starred CTC restaurant, doesn’t just consult on the Minois’ entire culinary program, he also lent members of his team to the resort for the season. As such, the food here is more than worth trying. The breakfast service, which you can have poolside or on a terrace with views of the sea, is quite vast: spanakopita (spinach pie), loukoumades (honey-drenched doughnuts), and juicy chunks of feta share the buffet table with fresh fruit, charcuterie, and gluten-free options. The made-to-order menu of hot dishes is similarly varied: you’ve got a vegan-friendly tofu scramble, an omelette stuffed with cured pork, and crowd-pleasing fluffy pancakes.
Lunchtime dining is pretty straightforward and leans more regional than local. You’ve got a twist on a panzanella salad that uses carob bread as well as addictive beef gyro tacos. And for dessert, the bowl of loukoumades now comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The pool menu aims to be slightly healthier with vegan bowls and salad wraps. For drinks, the wine list has an international reach, but there are plenty of Greek makers to taste, including bottles from Paros.
If you can make it to Olvo in time for sunset, do so. From the outdoor seats right at the front edge of the terrace, you’ll get the most incredible light and colour show as the sun sinks. Again, the dining experience here is impressive. The à la carte menu is loaded with elevated Greek comfort dishes: taramosalata with vine-leaf pesto and a Parian salad with capers and tomatoes. The Josper grill is the star of the main courses, where you can spring for lamb chops with a rosemary crust or a whole fish.
The kitchen has also just rolled out an ambitious seven-course tasting menu, which seems to be the dining trend on the Greek islands. But the fare here is definitely more creative. There’s a refreshing cherry gazpacho starter topped with grilled lobster and a whimsical garlicky tagliatelle of calamari with pine nuts and olive oil that tastes like the Mediterranean on a plate.
Experiences and amenities
Upon arrival — right after you receive your welcome beverage — you’ll immediately see the biggest public draw of the hotel: the outdoor pool, which during the day acts as the social hub of the hotel. It’s not a particularly large pool, and therefore, the vibe around it depends on who’s hanging out when — things could be louder if there are more children or entirely more chill. The Minois team will be hosting more events around the pool, whether that’s live music at sunset or livelier pool parties with DJs.
There is also a well-stocked outdoor gym, which seems to be a pretty busy affair early in the morning for guests who enjoy a pre-breakfast sweat session. And there’s a spacious platform toward the back of the resort where guests can take DIY yoga. (It’s especially beautiful during sunset.) But Minois hopes to host official fitness classes there in the future. Because it is the rebrand’s first summer, programming is still quite limited, but more is planned for upcoming seasons. This could include everything from sunset beach picnics to traditional crafts-making with local artisans to a hike that leads to salt harvesting not far from the resort. There’s a nearby rocky bay where you can find teeny-tiny salt pools.
Aura Spa is tucked in the basement of one of Minois’ buildings. While it’s admittedly dark and not particularly spacious down there (there are two treatment rooms and a sauna), there is a robust service menu that includes everything from hydrating facials, reflexology, and different types of body scrubs and massages featuring body and skin care products from natural Greek brand Apitiva. If you’d rather not descend into the spa to have your treatment, the team can administer most of what’s on offer in your room or suite (that’s what I’d recommend).
Accessibility and sustainability
Because of the layout of the property and the buildings on it, there are no ADA-compliant rooms. Sustainability measures are constantly evolving. At the moment, the most obvious is the use of paper straws and water bottles in an attempt to minimise the use of plastic. Minois aspires to one day become part of Small Leading Hotel’s Considerarte Collection, which is reserved for member hotels that commit to very comprehensive sustainability programs, including social and community initiatives.
While there isn’t a dedicated kids’ club, Minois can arrange for child care. Larger suites with private pools are a popular choice with families. And some rooms come with larger sofas that can be used as an extra single bed.
Paros is a sizable Greek island so if you’re keen to do some exploring, rent a car. Minois is a convenient 10-minute drive to the village of Parikia, Paros airport, and the port of Poundia (that’s where you can grab the 10-minute ferry to Antiparos, which is a fantastic day trip).
Naoussa, the main and most popular town of Paros, is on the northern tip of the island. On average, the drive out there from Minois should take 20-25 minutes. But as Paros becomes more popular, the traffic gets worse. So, what should be 20-25 minutes could also take an hour depending on when you’re striking out from the hotel.
Finding the best value
Minois is a member of Small Luxury Hotels (SLH), and if you book through SLH, you can usually score 10 percent off the best available rates. SLH also has a complimentary loyalty program called Invited which comes with more perks: 10 percent off bookings, late check-out, room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, and more. (Membership features a tier system, meaning the perks you get depend on the number of nights you book through SLH as an Invited member.)
Minois Hotel closes for the season at the end of October and reopens in April.
(Hero and feature image credit: Minois Hotel)
This story first appeared on travelandleisure.com