When you travel somewhere for the first time you hope to stay somewhere which adds to your enjoyment of the location. So when we were looking for somewhere to stay in Mykonos, Greece a very friendly, family run accommodation more than fitted our needs.
We’d wanted to avoid the hostel type places since we were travelling as a couple not in our twenties. We also wanted to avoid the expensive boutique hotels.
After some extensive online research we booked our apartment accommodation a number of months in advance. We were trying to benefit from the best choice before places filled up. Also since we were planning to arrive mid-September it meant that we missed the peak season.
We opted for what is called “Mina Studio”. These are a range of 10 apartments and studios very close to the beaches at Platis Gialos (or sometimes spelt as Platis Yialos).
We also searched for direct flights with consolidated search engines such as: CheapOAir and Skyscanner. We quickly identified that the best direct and cheapest flights from Manchester were with easyJet so that is who we used.
What really please me about my booking was that although I gave credit card details to secure the booking no deposit or payment was made. I only had to pay for the accommodation, in full, the day before we actually finished our holiday. This is a great feature of us making this reservation through booking.com.
Around a month before we arrived I received a call from Mina herself, this turns out to be the lady who runs the business. She explained that they didn’t accept American Express, so I had to register a different type of credit card. (Since the payment is made direct to the accommodation host it is down to their choice of cards to accept.) Soon enough I went online and changed my credit card settings to a Visa card.
Mina soon confirmed by e-mail that this card was acceptable and that a pick up would be arranged from Mykonos airport for us. We were already loving this personal service.
We arrived on a Saturday lunchtime on our easyJet flight to Mykonos airport. We quickly found someone holding the “Mina Studio” sign and discovered that we’d been picked up by Kosmas (pronounced similar to “Thomas” as he told us) who was Mina’s husband.
Immediately we felt welcomed and could chat freely with Kosmas. He was very informative and offered lots of suggestions. He recommended places to eat, beaches to go to. He even talked of the varying nationalities who have stayed with them. (Apparently the Italians are the noisiest, even when you ask them to keep the noise down they only do so for about a minute.)
In no time at all our drive was over. Mykonos (which is also spelt as Mikonos or Myconos) is a relatively small Greek island and we were located at the south western beaches which is barely minutes from the airport.
The delightful Mina greeted us on our arrival and almost immediately we were making light hearted jokes. Talk about breaking the ice, it was if there never was any ice to break.
Mina then surprised us further by saying that we could choose which accommodation we wanted. We’d already picked a cosy, 2 bed apartment with us specifying a sea view. However Mina thought it would be nice to give us the choice since another apartment was also available.
We saw the apartment we didn’t request first. It was very spacious indeed with a large sitting/lounge area and a good size kitchen. There were 2 bedrooms and 2 terraces to sit back and relax. However there was no sea view.
We then crossed the road from the Mina Studio office to see the apartment we had booked. Again this was 2 bedroom, although it had a smaller, tighter kitchen and no real lounge area. There was one terrace which would qualify for a sea view. The angle wasn’t perfect but it qualified.
In spite of the first place we saw being more spacious we felt an immediate affinity with the second apartment and decided to stay there. Both were lovely and it was a marginal decision.
Mina then advised that once we settled we should cross back over the road and meet her in the Mina Studio reception area for a welcome drink. She would also explain where things were on the island for us to take full advantage of our week there.
We were keen not to miss out on the advice of locals so we went over within minutes of her leaving us.
As we sat and listened to Mina she marked places out on the map as we drank our welcome drink, I opted for coffee whilst my bride went for a fresh orange juice. We’d had an early start that morning (3:45am alarm) so welcomed the refreshment.
We spent maybe 20 minutes plus with this welcome chat. It also seemed as though the reception room was a real social hub.
Across the table from us sat an American gentleman, Michael. Mina explained he was a cousin who came over every year for 1-2 months if not longer. He was a real character and very entertaining. It was very easy to get into conversation about places we knew in the US.
Mina and Michael had a fair bit of banter going on. Also with Mina speaking excellent English we didn’t miss out on any of the jokes.
Already, I felt that those 20 minutes of a warm welcome had made the holiday for me even though we hadn’t even started! What a wonderful way to be greeted and personally get to know your host and her family. (Her son Miko was also present.)
We headed back to our apartment to become more familiar with our home for the week. It had clearly ticked a lot of boxes for us:-
- 2 bedroom (so we can spread out our clothing/luggage and not have to share a wardrobe)
- air-conditioning which was surprisingly free. Normally in Greece you have to pay extra to use air-con but not with Mina Studios.
- Free wifi! Yes another plus. Admittedly I didn’t really use it, I was on holiday and didn’t want to get bogged down with e-mail and website maintenance issues. My bride did however use it although it appeared slow at times. (I think this is more a reflection of the local Greek service than Mina Studio.)
- Fridge/Freezer and a mini hob/oven in the kitchen plus a kettle, cutlery and some crockery. (Sadly the various nearby stores had a minimal selection of food to buy so we ate out most of the time.)
- 2 bathrooms with a hot shower (- ah I say separate bathrooms is the key to a happy marriage. We have separate bathrooms at home so having it here was a real home comfort.)
- Hair dryer – not important for me but crucial for my bride
- TV in each bedroom although I can’t confess to ever turning it on
- a wonderful terrace with a partial sea view
- breakfast included
- literally 1 minute to the nearest beach, however numerous beaches were barely minutes away. Mina even loaned us beach towels for the duration of our stay
On the downside because nothing is ever quite perfect:-
- whilst the shower was great, you always had to hold the shower head rather than being able to place it on the fixture on the wall. After being in the heat all day it would be lovely to stand in a water massage for 5 minutes
- the kitchen was a bit narrow, however we should take the blame for that since we chose the apartment with the narrow kitchen
- no plug for the sink so it was difficult to wet shave
- the apartments were beside a relatively busy road so you could often hear traffic day and night
- wifi was slow but I did mention that above
On the Sunday morning we slept in and missed the free breakfast. (Well we did have a ridiculously early start the day before.) So once we bumped into Mina and Kosmas later in the day they queried why didn’t we make the breakfast. They politely advised us that it was a good breakfast, included in the price and it would be good for us to make it. They then suggested that I go for breakfast, let my bride lie in then bring her breakfast in bed. Well as you can imagine my bride loved the idea! So that is what we did 🙂
When I attended breakfast it was a delightful combination of fruits, breads, omelette, yoghurt and even chocolate cake. Of course coffee and juice was on hand to wash things down.
It was also quite a social affair too. There was an 8-9 seater table inside plus dining tables on the terrace outside. It proved the perfect setting to share our experiences of not only Mykonos but other Greek islands that the other breakfasting travellers had been to.
We were all pretty united in the view that Mykonos was one of the more expensive islands in Greece. Basics such as a meal out or a drink were comparable to prices in the UK or Germany.
Probably what shocked me most was the price of sun cream. Most places charged €20+ for a bottle. When it is about £7-8 in the UK this seemed extortionate. The sun is strong in Greece so sun cream is an essential if you run out of stock.
To counter the relatively high cost of the island of Mykonos, Mina Studio offered another solution. Just around the corner from their reception they ran a little café which was open until 10pm at night. It was called P. G. Café. The PG stands for Platys Gialos, the name of the beach it is near.
They had a staple range of food including Greek pie, pizza, salad, burgers and sandwiches plus various drinks. Compared to the beach front restaurants a few metres away PG Café was the most competitive on price and had the most friendly service too.
That was not all. PG Café seemed to come alive at night time as they’d also created Mykonos Fun Park! This was a children’s play area with bouncy castles, kiddies rides, air hockey and other amusing items. Local parents flocked here at night time for children’s parties or just to tire the kids out before bed time. It was entertaining to watch.
I’m not sure if we just got lucky or it was the pay off from my bride’s extensive research for accommodation. What I can say is that Mina Studio was a choice we were delighted to make and we loved it.
Why you need to be careful when you choose where to stay in Mykonos
During our time on the island we chatted to a few other holidaymakers and they’d had some nightmare tales of accommodation on the island. Problems with the booking, unplanned cancellations, grumpy staff and so on. One lovely British couple who I met at Mina Studio told me how they left their previous accommodation after one night because it was so horrible. They moved into Mina Studio and decided to extend their stay on Mykonos because they felt comfortable here. Clearly a friendly, family run accommodation is a winning combination. Need I say more?
Mykonos, Greece is a beautiful island yet also quite pricey. Depending upon your accommodation needs finding where to stay in Mykonos varies from camping and cheap chalets at Paradise Beach to high range boutique hotels.
You need to feel comfortable in your surroundings, welcomed by your host and not feel as though you are being ripped off. Also being close to beaches, shops, bars and transport facilities will help you enjoy the experience. Mina Studios ticked all those boxes for us and more.
They have 10 different studio and apartments for rent and they are open for hire from March to October each year. There is little doubt that next time we go we will know where to stay in Mykonos, Greece.