The unique experience of living in an idyllic waterfront sculpture park
It was only a few moments after my arrival at Minos Beach Art Hotel that I felt really excited about spending the last days of my summer vacation at this gem of a hotel, set up at the idyllic Mirabello Bay of Crete. A short visit at the lobby, a small stroll around the gardens, a glimpse of the azure waters that surround the hotel were enough to make me fall instantly in love with Minos Beach Art Hotel.
Nature, glamour and art
Minos Beach Art Hotel has a way to seduce its visitors upon their arrival. First of all it has a location that blows one’s mind with a 2.5 km of coastline, lush greenery and crystal turquoise waters. Then come all the fascinating stories of its glorious history. Minos Beach Art Hotel was created in 1963, at the beginning of the golden era of Greek tourism, when the country was turning into one of the favorite destinations of the international jet set crowd.
It was the first property to welcome jet-setters in Crete and the third luxurious resort in Greece. There are books with guests’ comments where I discovered Walt Disney’s note and signature (he stayed there during the making of the movie “The Moon-Spinners”). A glance at the whitewashed bungalows and villas scattered at the area, right on the water edge, can explain why VIPs have kept visiting Minos Beach from its early days until today.
The immaculately renovated place still looks as stunning as then. Only now the hospitality experience is enhanced by the concept of an art hotel. Its vast aromatic gardens are filled with 49 contemporary artworks, offering the once-in-a-lifetime experience of living in a sculpture park, a real balm for the soul.
Enjoying the hospitality of Minos Beach Art Hotel
Soon after our arrival, we were led to our whitewashed water-front suite decorated in a laid back but luxurious style with boho touches and neutral hues. From that moment, we started enjoying the Minos Beach Art Hotel micro-universe. It was high season and Agios Nikolaos was bustling with tourists. So, we hardly left the hotel. After all, in Minos Beach Art Hotel you just want to stay there and let the day pass. Our days started with a breakfast full of numerous options like Asian flavours and classic dishes but obviously also Cretan delicacies (such as the famous anthotyro and manouri cheese or dakos rusk) as well as eggs and pancakes made on the spot.
We went on chilling at the vast pool with the dark blue tiles and the straw umbrellas. However what we enjoyed the most was this deeply relaxing time we spent by the sea on the small decks of Minos Beach Art Hotel which offered tranquility and privacy even on days that the hotel was fully booked. We enjoyed staying there in utter idleness until the rise of the moon, swimming almost by ourselves and ordering delicious bruschettas and smoothies simply by using the hotel’s app on our mobile. This is the kind of vacation you want to last forever…
Art in Minos Beach Art Hotel
It all started with the first international Art Symposium that was held in June 1988 at the Minos Beach Art Hotel. Artists from Greece, Europe and America created works in the environs of the hotel and the sculptures that adorned the hotel’s gardens, whether standing, hanging, resting on surfaces or attached to other natural or man-made structures, became part of the hotel’s natural environment. The Art Symposia concept arose from the owner Gina Mamidakis’s love of culture and guarantees that the cultural heritage of different countries will travel all over the world through the eyes of visitors.
The sculpture park was further developed during other Art Symposia that took place in the next years or during subsequent thematic exhibitions. Most artworks have been created to exist in the hotel’s gardens with the artist taking the location into account when conceiving the artwork.
During my stay, I was many times amazed by the works of art I was observing. There is even an underwater installation by Kostas Ioannides, called “Lost Ears of Agios Nikolaos” to be experienced by swimmers and scuba divers, which is accompanied by a text animation at the reception, all of it conceived to remind us of the fragile co-existence between nature and culture.
In 2018 G &A Mamidakis Foundation inaugurated Art of Blue, art project that promotes artists of Greece by commissioning works of art to be specially made for the premises of Minos Beach Art Hotel.
Dining at La Bouillabbaise
La Bouillabaisse restaurant is part of the history of the hotel. It has been renowned since the ’70s for its outstanding cuisine, receiving a number of Toques d’Or awards between 2003 and 2009. Situated right on the water’s edge overlooking the deep blue sea, La Bouillabaisse is the perfect choice for a romantic dinner under the stars, serving exceptional Mediterranean flavours with a creative culinary touch.
A delicious amuse-bouche with a tiny gazpacho and a variety of bread accompanied by the yummiest tomato and olive oil sorbets were the first signs that we were going to savor an amazing dinner. And yes, we had splendid dishes such as veal carpaccio, risotto with beetroots and some perfectly cooked fillets. As for the desserts, they all looked like works of art and tasted like heaven!
And this is why Minos Beach Art Hotel, a member of Blue Gr hotels group and Small Luxury Hotels of the World is a real haven of tranquillity that embraces the Greek summer blissful living. You can’t but long to be back there!