Review: Calilo Resort, Ios Island (Greece)

Wednesday newsletters at all times characteristic a lodge or flight evaluate.

Final July, I loved a terrific vacation on the Greek islands of Santorini, Mykonos, and Ios (Cyclades). You possibly can learn my journey experiences right here:

At present: Evaluation of Calilo, Island of Ios (Greece)

Rising out of, and carved from, the native rock, Calilo is cradled by 1,000 acres of protected land and fringed by an exquisite golden sand seaside, lapped by a cerulean sea. In a distant nook of unspoilt Ios, within the coronary heart of the Cyclades, and only a pebble’s throw from occasion islands Mykonos and Santorini, this 30-suite sanctuary affords an escape from the crowds. Suppose sun-drenched seclusion surrounded by an historical olive-pricked panorama – nature and artwork at its coronary heart. From its structure and inside design to the putting artworks and installations, Calilo – an acronym for “create a life you possibly can fall in love with” – is the creation the Michalopoulos household whose goal is to protect, shield and nurture this tantalizing land and to share the island’s mesmerizing magic.

Calilo options in my high 10 lists of the very best seaside resorts in Europe and probably the most beautiful lodge suites I’ve ever stayed in.

Have you ever ever stayed at Calilo? If that’s the case, what was your expertise? Depart a remark.

On this evaluate (extra information and images beneath my YouTube video):

  • Within the coronary heart of the Cyclades, between Santorini and Mykonos, lies Ios, the beautiful island that Calilo calls its house. Boasting an impressive panorama, Ios is thought for its whitewashed clifftop villages and 32 stunning seashores. Through the day, Ios is absolutely the Cycladic paradise. When the solar goes down, the bars and eating places of Ios’ primary city Chora come alive. The truth that there isn’t any airport on Ios explains why the island has prevented mass tourism and maintained its pure magnificence. Visitors can attain Ios by high-speed ferry from Santorini (45 minutes), Mykonos (2 hours), Crete (2.5 hours) and Athens (3.5 hours). Personal boat switch from Santorini or direct flights by helicopter to the resort’s personal helipad may be organized.
  • Ios has a repute as a celebration island in style with younger individuals, however the breathtakingly stunning space during which Calilo is situated is totally untouched, distant and a world other than the full of life island scene. A scenic 30-minute drive by way of a desolate, mountainous panorama takes company from the ferry port close to the primary village Chora to the island’s little found southeast aspect. Right here, Calilo enjoys a surprising location in magnificent personal bay, the place the calm turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea and a yellow crescent of personal seaside are surrounded by a pure amphitheater of spectacular rocky slopes. Your entire web site is a part of a lot bigger area of protected land (1,000 acres), which is fringed by 10 km (6 mi) of shoreline. 
  • A resort like no different, Calilo is created by the Michalopoulous household whose is led by former Wall Avenue dealer Angelos Michalopoulos. The Michalopoulos household doesn’t simply personal Calilo, they personal about 30% of Ios. As a way to protect the island’s pure magnificence and to guard it from the environmental degradation that often follows mass tourism, the Michalopoulous household made a acutely aware choice to construct on only one% of the land they personal on Ios, leaving 99% to stay as a part of nature to assist be sure that future generations can even have the ability to benefit from the wild great thing about Ios and it seashores. Moreover Calilo, the household’s firm known as Luxurios owns a second lodge, the Agalia Luxurious Suites, and several other bars, eating places and seaside golf equipment on the island.
  • Each design ingredient at Calilo is created by its proprietor Angelos Michalopoulos and aimed toward stirring feelings amongst its company. The result’s an aesthetically distinctive and fairy tale-esque decor that represents a contemporary, colourful tackle conventional Cycladic structure and the hippy tradition that when dominated Ios. The decor is at its most surreal within the foyer, which it accessed by way of a curving walkway lined by artwork works and waterfalls. Skylight beaming by way of pebble holes within the ceiling above disperses as dozens of hearts on a water pond beneath. Embellished with hand-painted military boots, inspirational aphorisms, and wood swings wearing flowers, the foyer feels extra like an artwork gallery in London or New York than a lodge within the Greek islands.
  • Calilo options 32 uniquely designed suites, all that includes hand-crafted mosaics, scalloped tiles, driftwood-inspired chairs and waves of marble (most suites even have personal swimming pools). Throughout my vacation, I used to be upgraded to the “Sea of Smiles Suite.” Positioned on the hill aspect of Calilo with panoramic views of the resort and seaside, this unimaginable suite was named by Michalopoulos for its give attention to water. The signature suite supplied three bedrooms, every with palatial en-suite marble bogs with deep soaking bathtubs. The suite’s beneficiant out of doors area included a devoted sitting space, waterfall, pure rock bathe, water pond and two swinging beds. To high all of it, there was a non-public swimming pool produced from 65,000 items of marble.
  • Though most company favor to calm down by their personal pool or on the seaside through the day, Calilo additionally boasts an huge lagoon-shaped swimming pool for these in want of some extra water enjoyable. Surrounded by loungers and a shaded veranda, the 50 m (164 ft) pool is situated between Calilo’s primary pavilion and the resort’s pristine personal beachfront. Consistent with the lodge’s surreal and Gaudi-alike design theme, the pool options a number of ornamental components, similar to colourful swings hanging over the water, sunken eating areas inside the pool, and exuberant modernist sculptures of our bodies being flung by way of the air.
  • Calilo sits by itself personal seaside, known as Papas Seaside. Most likely the most stunning seaside in Ios, if not Greece, Papas is an idyllic cove, composed of yellow coarse-sand and crystal clear waters, and surrounded by dramatic sandstone cliffs. A number of thatched cabanas with thick mattresses and wind-screens are situated on the seaside and can be utilized freed from cost by company of the lodge. The seaside cove can also be house to a jetty, the place the resort’s personal pace boats dock. Visitors wishing to discover the majestic, pure magnificence and seashores of Ios can hire one among these personal boats and embark on thrilling excursions to hidden coves and secluded seashores reachable solely by boat, in addition to day journeys to any of the close by Cycladic islands.
  • Positioned in a secluded space overlooking the ocean are three separate venues – known as rock swimming pools – constructed into the pure stone panorama providing an alternate seaside expertise. Two of the venues, known as the Dreamers Coronary heart Rock Swimming pools, take the form of their namesake with distinct heart-shaped swimming swimming pools, whereas the third is a spherical form. Full with personal bogs and kitchen, every rock pool incorporates a sitting space with eating desk, devoted butler for catering and bottle service, entry to therapeutic massage remedies, and varied lounge choices from swinging double beds to Calilo’s signature swings. Very best for particular occasions, the rock swimming pools may be booked for marriage proposals, bachelor/ette events and different milestone moments.
  • At present, Calilo has one restaurant, the place serves scrumptious meals all day (though company may have their meals on the rock pool, on the seaside or of their room). Positioned between the foyer and the pool space, the open-sided restaurant is styled within the resort’s signature Gaudi-esque decor and options a number of hidden nooks & corners (e.g. sunken eating areas inside the pool). Within the morning, the venue affords a breakfast buffet whereas throughout lunchtime and within the night (till midnight), a la carte eating is obtainable with all kinds of Western and Greek dishes. Calilo’s meals philosophy is rooted within the Historical Greeks’ perception {that a} wholesome physique helps a wholesome thoughts and the resort’s kitchen strongly advocates the advantages of a Mediterranean weight loss plan.
  • The Michalopoulous household and their Calilo venture have sustainability of their DNA. Following the rules of environmentally-friendly design, the resort is being in-built shut collaboration with the local people, thus offering direct financial advantages by way of accountable tourism improvement. All of the supplies used throughout Calilo’s building – aside from wooden, iron, glass and cement – are extracted from the bottom of the particular constructing web site (e.g. marble, stone, granite). They’re then reduce and carved by native craftsmen who lay by hand and assemble every one of many lodge’s venues (a few of them requiring tens of millions of the crafted stones), using painstaking however genuine and conventional constructing methods.
  • One of many lodge’s conservation venture is the plantation of greater than 70,000 bushes and bushes round Ios island to revive the habitat that had beforehand been burned repeatedly by wild fires and land deforestation. As well as, some 550 historical olive bushes (most of them greater than 300-years-old) which had been about to be reduce and offered for firewood in Athens, had been transported from the mainland, by boat, to Calilo and different websites in Ios. They had been destined to turn out to be firewood and as a substitute have been given a second life on the resort. Right here, with the assistance of specialists, 97% of them have survived and are actually thriving of their new places.


Calilo is without doubt one of the most unusual and spectacular resorts I’ve ever stayed at. The resort and the lodge idea remains to be a piece in progress although, with room for enchancment. It has the potential to turn out to be the very best seaside resort in Europe, one that would even be on the identical stage as a Soneva, however it’s not there but. Right here’s what it’s essential know:

  • Meals on the resort is great, however there’s just one restaurant. Though the menu is intensive, one may get slightly bit bored food-wise after a couple of days. Additionally, the meals is scrumptious however it’s not effective eating because it lacks some sophistication, each in style and presentation. From what I heard, the homeowners will launch some new eating ideas for the following season, so that will be a welcome addition to the resort. I like to recommend additionally they take into account hiring a high chef to rework Calilo right into a foodie paradise (as a result of that’s what most of their potential clientele is used to and can count on).
  • Breakfast at Calilo is a bit disappointing for a resort of this caliber. Though the buffet is properly introduced, it affords a slightly small collection of gadgets which pales compared to the lavish buffets typically seen at different 5-star accommodations in Greece and past. As well as, service at breakfast is gradual: as a consequence of COVID, one workers member is current on the buffet to serve all company (as company can’t contact something themselves), typically leading to some ready time. Lastly, in addition to the buffet, one might order just one egg dish and one kind of espresso throughout breakfast; different egg dishes or coffees had been charged for. I counsel the homeowners to improve the breakfast expertise to a luxurious buffet displayed in a chilly room (with a further a la carte menu for warm dishes).
  • Calilo is increasing its room stock upon the hills across the resort. For those who’re booked into one of many newer, extravagant suites up the hill, count on to do loads of strolling up and down the hill. Alternatively, one can at all times contact the foyer after which a automobile is ship to choose you up or drop you off. Maybe it might be a pleasant concept to offer company of those suites with a golf buggy throughout their keep, in order that they have extra flexibility getting across the resort.
  • Calilo is a deeply private venture of proprietor Angelos Michalopoulost, who has designed each a part of the lodge himself. The result’s a singular and visually overwhelming decor that’s all about love and creativeness. Whereas some company will love the quircky design (depend me in!), it may not match the style of others, though one factor is for certain: it is going to go away an impression that you’ll not simply neglect.
  • For the time being, wellness services on the resort are restricted as there’s simply one spa room. Nonetheless, the resort is at the moment constructing an intensive spa facility which is able to open subsequent 12 months.
  • The resort is tucked away in what looks as if the center of nowhere, however that’s what makes it so distinctive – secluded, personal, quiet and serene with its personal superb seaside and unique services. Though the remoted location is a part of the enchantment for many company, it’s necessary to emphasise that the resort is faraway from nearly all the things, so that you gained’t discover any eating places, retailers or nightlife inside a half hour drive of the resort.

  • Location: 10/10
  • Design: 10/10
  • Pool: 9/10
  • Rooms: 10/10
  • Meals: 8/10
  • Breakfast: 8/10
  • Spa: not obtainable
  • Service: 8/10
  • Worth for cash: 9/10
  • Total expertise: distinctive 9/10

  • Lower your expenses: learn right here my ideas for getting the very best deal at a luxurious lodge like Calilo (and/or obtain complimentary perks).
  • Learn my ideas for making ready your journey in time.


One of the best time to go to Ios are the autumn months of September and October: the climate remains to be nice, the vacationer crowds have left, the ocean temperature is at its warmest, and the lodge charges are inside affordable vary. The spring months of April and Might, earlier than the summer season rush comes, are additionally a good time to go to, though the ocean is chilly and you might encounter some cloudy days. Summer season can also be a good time to go to the resort however it might probably get windy within the Calilo’s personal bay, with the Meltemi blowing for lengthy durations, particularly within the afternoons (generally gale pressure like winds).


Visitors can attain Ios by high-speed ferry from Santorini (45 minutes), Mykonos (2 hours), Crete (2.5 hours) and Athens (3.5 hours). From the ferry port, it’s one other half-hour by lodge automobile to the resort. Personal boat switch from Santorini or direct flights by helicopter to the resort’s personal helipad may be organized as effectively.


Beneath is a collection of my images of Calilo. To view extra images of Calilo (together with meals), click on right here.


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