Tranquil Cycladic retreatDesign-led luxury Greek hotel on the island of Paros
Destination: Paros, Greece
Vacation: Ultimate relaxation
Seeking: Slow-paced Cycladic living and natural beauty
Highlight: Stunning architectural design
Flicking through Conde Nast’s infamous Gold list, I came across this beautiful new hotel, and I knew that it would make the ultimate honeymoon trip. The stunning white buildings with dramatic archways and sharp edges nestled among the palms looked like the ideal place to just unwind and do nothing – and feel pretty decadent while doing it.
Parilio is on the north coast of Paros, an island in the Cyclades that’s just as gorgeous as Santorini and Mykonos, but quieter and more low key (with a foodie scene that I’d argue is even better).
We arrived from Mykonos and as we drove through Paros’ landscape our shoulders loosened as the memory of the party crowd melted away – replaced by this sharp white, almost geometric set of buildings, rising from the dusty fields.
The word ‘parilio’ means a bright, sun-like optical illusion – like a luminous halo – caused by sunlight passing through particles in the atmosphere. Playing with light is the hotel’s key inspiration, hence the bright-white masonry and textured canopies throwing shadows across the outdoor communal areas.
Designed by Athens-based couple Kalia and Antonis Elopoulos, all 33 suites are a beautiful combination of drama and tranquility, with bold, local art and muted tones. Just a few minutes gazing at the iconic pool surrounded by grasses and succulents, is enough to calm the stress away. It’s also part of the global Design Hotels Group – so it’s easy to add a host of other design-led hotels to your must-visit list.
We stayed in a vast room – one of the Halo Suites – with a separate sitting area and terrace stretching out into the pool area. The colour palette was soothing with crisp whites and natural terraccottas. To welcome us, there was a plate of fresh fruit, cheese from nearby Naxos and ‘souma’ – like a refreshing Greek grappa.
Scroll down to find out more about our stay at Parilio, and take a look at Wild Bay Co’s full collection of luxury resorts in Europe for more beautiful places to stay. And if you’re thinking of Paros and other Greek islands as a potential honeymoon destination read our guide to the most beautiful and laid-back Paros and Mykonos honeymoon spots.
- Style 100% 100%
- Relaxation 100% 100%
- Natural beauty 100% 100%
- Food 100% 100%
“Parilio’s strong holistic look and feel make for a gloriously poetic retreat in full harmony
with the surrounding sea and natural rocks.”
Best food & drink
1. Mr E
Parilio hotel’s restaurant is a destination itself on the island. Executive Chef Alexandros Tsiotinis was already a renowned chef in Athens and knows how to apply a modern touch to all the Greek classics. The restaurant is perfect for an intimate dinner without having to stroll far from your room.
The menu takes you on a journey through Greece – with only the freshest local ingredients like creamy fava beans and Paros sour cream cheese. I was in heaven with Greek-inspired pasta dishes like feta gnocchi and citrus orzo, but you can also opt for opulent grilled fish and lobster with Greek truffle. The setting is also the same for breakfast, where the menu was just as extensive and colourful.
2. Circe Bar
Sometimes all you want is a perfectly made cheeseburger and fries by the pool. And the tranquil pool bar is perfect for sunbathing dishes like this. There’s a whole section called ‘Junk Or Not’ dedicated to mouth-watering burgers, tacos and club sandwiches (with plenty of plant-based options). Similarly, you can also tuck into lighter Paros-inspired salads and Greek pitta mezzes.
But the highlight was the cocktails. Several times we found ourselves sat at the impressive concrete bar as the sun slowly set behind the mountains. The mixologist plays with local herbs to create really interesting sips – my favourite was the rose and grapefruit spritz and there’s a selection of low alcohol drinks too. On Mondays and Thursdays, you can settle in and experience Parilio’s Jazz Sunset Rituals – the opportunity to sip on something cold while listening to live chillout tunes as the sun fades.
You can find this Aegean-Asian-inspired restaurant in the nearby town of Nauossa. It’s the place to be seen as much as it is to eat, having hosted celebrities and royal family (though prices are still pretty affordable). The busy restaurant spills around the edge of the harbour, so is another perfect spot for watching the sun dip low. On the menu is everything from tuna tataki and sea urchin salad to aged steak and grouper fillets.
There are 33 spacious suites to choose from at Parilio, with the Uranus Suite offering a private outdoor jacuzzi or the grand Sun Suite with its own private pool. We stayed in one of the calm and collected Halo Suites with an open terrace and gardens beyond. This meant we could fling open the doors and listen to the grasses and cicadas as we got ready for dinner.
The furniture feels expertly curated with a peaceful sitting area, canvas rugs and huge beds dressed in simple white linens and printed ochre throws. We felt Greek and Scandinavian influences. The bathroom was stocked full with Greek brand, Korres, products and was impressive with a natural stone rainfall shower and marble basins for two.
Lounging, swimming and sipping is what Parilio is made for. But there’s also plenty to do on the island if you’re wanting more active days. In the neighbourhood is a handful of peaceful beaches and shallow coastline. Kolymbithres beach is just a 15-minute walk away. It’s sandy and popular and is home to Kolymbithres Tavern, which served up the most amazing baked chickpeas and local fish. Further inland, you can explore mountain villages and the craggy marble quarries.
The island’s hub, Naoussa, is just a short drive away. It reminded us of a more relaxed Mykonos town with tiny whitewashed lanes and colourful shops selling everything from local ceramics to olive oil. Yoga Shala is a friendly yoga studio tucked at the heart of the lanes, and you can also go sea kayaking from the harbour to explore the crystal-blue waters around the town.
For foodies, there are plenty of local wineries. Moraitis is famous for its sweet wines and is one of the oldest on the island, hosting intimate tastings for lazy afternoons. But for real adventure, it has to be horseriding at Thanasis farm. This family-owned farm offers 2-hour morning hacks from their location inland all the way to the beach. The best part is taking a dip in the sea – while on horseback – to cool down.
The hotel’s wide pool is framed with dramatic rocks and loungers, and is the perfect spot to while away the day. But if you want to sink deeper, Parīlio’s Asian-inspired spa is hidden on the lower level of the main building. It’s a serene escape from the heat and has two treatment rooms and a nail lounge.
The treatments are inspired by ancient Eastern rituals, so think detoxifying scrubs and seaweed wraps. I went for one of the most relaxing deep tissue massages and facials I’ve ever had, with natural and organic Ila products.
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