Updated: May 11, 2020
The air is warm, the bright sunlight beaming down onto sun-kissed skin, the sweet aroma of pine and olive trees in the breeze and the calming sound of the sea crashing against the shore, it can only mean one thing…summer is upon us.
I have been lucky enough to have just returned from a week long break in the luxurious Greek island of Mykonos. Famed for its glamorous and sophisticated lifestyle, Mykonos mixes the elegance of St Tropez with the party atmosphere of Ibiza…not a bad combination to be had.
Situated in the Aegean Sea and forming part of the Cyclades, a group of Islands 93 miles from Athens, Mykonos according to Greek mythology was formed from “the petrified bodies of giants killed by Hercules”
A favourite of the worlds rich and famous, Mykonos is a playground for hedonistic visitors searching for that cosmopolitan café-bar-boutique lifestyle, all whilst being able to moor their cruise ship sized yachts in the serene bays around the island.
Mykonos in the past has been known for its party lifestyle, but the island is going through a change, moving away from the pounding night beats to more grown up sophisticated party gatherings.
At the heart of this movement, is the unique and stunning beach, bar and restaurant, Scorpios.
On the southern tip of Mykonos between Paradise and Paranga beaches, Scorpios is an oasis described as;
a ritualistic beachside bar and restaurant…a nomadic enclave where design and simple pleasures would attract in equal measure
Walking up the dusty gravel driveway to the entrance, you feel like you’ve been transported to a retreat thousands of miles away from civilisation. Greeting me as I arrived were a host of ladies, each one looking like they’ve just stepped off a Vogue magazine shoot.
As I am led through to start my tour, scores of staff, dressed in Arabian style costumes float around in the hot sun, each one as beautiful as the next.
At the centre and heart of Scorpios is a large weather-beaten style house in typical Greek rustic architectural style, sympathetically designed to blend in with the rugged and wild natural surroundings.
The 274 sq mt gentle whitewashed stone house evokes 1960’s Greek glamour, contemporary modernism and an emphasis on simplicity with the use of organic materials. Interior designer Annabell Kutucu and creative director Michael Schickinger of 'Lambs and Lions', teamed up with award winning architects Dimitiris and Konstantinos Karampatakis of 'K-studio' from Athens to create the holistic retreat.
The brains and creative genius behind Scorpios are its founders, Thomas Heyne and Mario Hertel. Originally part of the nightclub industry and previous owners to the islands famous Paradise Club, the pair sought to create a new vision, one where;
like-minded individuals from all over the world can come together and feed off the exhilarating energy, but to also be a haven of peace, of friendship, of community, and of memorable new experiences
To bring this vision to life the designers wanted to create a modern-day agora (which in Ancient Greek translates to “a gathering space”) The agora was the meeting place of athletes, artists, the spiritual and the political, in essence, the community. Scorpios wanted to recreate this within the modern world, creating;
The ancient ritual of gathering for shared synergies and the free-flowing exchange of ideas and energy. A sensory experience for the like-minded to engage, inspire and revel
Entering the house is like entering the home of a friend (a very wealthy and cool friend I might add) where there is a laid back relaxed atmosphere combined with a luxurious feel. The house features several defined living spaces along with a large bar situated within the centre of the home.
The house is filled with the warm bright Grecian sunlight from the many large oversized double doors and windows. Views of the terrace and the Aegean Sea beyond give a real sense of the harmony between the inside and outside living at Scorpios.
Moving through the house you can’t help but feel calm and relaxed, the stone walls and flooring give a beautiful natural background to the furnishings which have been specifically chosen to be unobtrusive whilst celebrating traditional Greek culture and craftsmanship. Mixing minimal design with rich textures and handcrafted details, the space feels elegant and luxurious without feeling pretentious or ostentatious.
The house during the day provided a cool retreat from the blazing summer sunshine. I was happy to spend a little down time with a drink or two and mix with the fellow guests to chat about that evenings rituals (we’ll get onto that later)
Moving out onto the sun drenched terrace the 6000 sq mt property really opens up into its own. Perched on a ridge between two sandy beaches and surrounded by protected nature reserves, Scorpios is all about unwinding and forgetting the stress of the “outside” world.
The vision is for guests to “store or spend energy as they please”
The large day beds with shaded pagoda style sun shades create a real escape with unobstructed panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and features a prime position for the eastern sunrise and western sunset.
Scorpios is a move away from the old Mykonos of nighttime clubbing to afternoon lounging, al-fresco dining and experiencing the breathtaking sunsets.
As the afternoon slowly heads towards evening I am invited back to experience the ‘rituals’ I’ve been hearing so much about during my visit. Scorpios is ever-changing and depending on the day of the week, the rituals vary and create different atmospheres and experiences to the retreat.
The day’s ‘rituals’ I am told are centred around the sunset, where a musical journey will take me through the ceremony of sunset…I cant wait!
It’s Saturday evening and that meant tonight’s ritual is “Scorpios World”. Recognised as the top DJ on Mykonos, Valeron combines Deep House with spiritual beats performing live alongside Greek musicians of instruments such as the clarinet, violin, Cretan Lyra, Ney, Bouzouki, Oud, Cello and Kanun.
Greeted by our glamorous hostess once again, my five friends and I were escorted to the western sunset lounge area, a large outdoor amphitheatre style space complete with intimate fire pits. Behind the DJ stage was the VIP section where our table for the night was awaiting.
The beats of Valeron were already in full swing and the atmosphere had an almost Arabic feel to it. The Arabian feel continued when we entered the VIP section, a large desert style tent with a mixture of low-level lounge seating and rustic large wooden dining tables.
As Valeron and the musicians played to the sun setting in the distance, the mood was relaxed and carefree. As the golden light turned to the dark of the night, the fire pits glowed and the energy of the entire place came alive.
With the music continuing into the night, we moved to the restaurant for dinner, an open-air beach style setting with large communal tables in the familiar rustic chic design. Over-sized hand-woven lampshades dominate the dining area, with natural light-washed wooden tables and chairs underneath a bamboo canopy.
Chef Alexis Zopas has created a menu to reflect the design concept of Scorpios, fresh local ingredients blending Greek flavours with a light-hearted approach in the kitchen with the emphasis on the philosophy “you are what you eat”
As we left, I was invited to come back and experience another ‘ritual’ to discover how Scorpios changes throughout these events and how they create a different atmosphere for each occasion.
We returned for ‘The Sunday’ apparently the place to be in Mykonos where anyone who’s anyone comes to party. A steady stream of black Mercedes’ flood the car park delivering guests along with a few famous faces arriving by air in a private helicopter.
As soon as we walked in, the vibe of this ‘ritual’ was totally different to the last. The place was electric and full to bursting with the ‘it’ crowd of Mykonos. Tables within the VIP section range around €4000, just for the table, but for that you can mix with the celebrities and the yachting elite.
Walking through the heavy strong crowd, the beats of ‘Sneaky Sound System’ echo around the house and the terrace. The retro disco style and house DJ sets gave Scorpios an entirely new feel. This time instead of the feeling like an Arabian chilled out sunset gathering, this was your cool wealthy friends beach-house party.
Looking up at the stars and listening to the music, I totally got the ‘ritual’ experience Heyne and Hertel are talking about. It’s something you can’t really describe, it’s just a feeling you get, something that is quite special and something very unique…the boys and I will certainly be back!