Our story

While most family businesses are built over several generations, the Myconian Collection was established over four decades by one family, inspired by a passion for sharing the beauty and hospitality of their home with the world.

‘We are as proud of our roots as we are of how much we’ve grown,’ says Markos Daktylides about his parents George and Eleftheria Daktylides, founders of the Collection that today counts nine of the leading luxury hotels on Mykonos and is run by their four sons.

The Mykonos of George Daktylides’ youth was a world unto itself. The island ran a barter economy well into the Fifties and people who lived on the land traded their cheese, sausages, cured fish and produce with the townsfolk for imports such as sugar, flour, rice, coffee and spaghetti, not to mention the all-important cigarettes which were sold individually from large boxes of all sorts.

Besides visitors to a few private villas, the island was a well-guarded secret before the yachts and cruise ships of the Sixties’ began to drop anchor on their way to the magnificent ruins of Delos. Onassis and Jackie O were followed by Princess Soraya, Grace Kelly, Brando and Liz Taylor, to mention but a few, and Christian Dior famously crowned the town’s tailor Josef Salachas ‘le roi du pantalon’ (‘the king of trousers’), inspiring Givenchy to collaborate on a couture collection. The secret was out, and close on its heels came the boho chic of the Seventies.

George Daktylides was a handsome young man in a hurry when he married the beautiful young Eleftheria from Delos. On completing his military duty, he had returned home with big dreams. He drove a bus that carried men and materials from town to the barite mines, and soon convinced his brothers to invest with him in a vehicle of their own. Before long, they were operating the only public transport on the island, with a fleet of twenty-five buses on which the families’ kids cut their commercial milk teeth by taking turns at ticket sales.

While tourist accommodation on the island had grown modestly with the state-funded construction of the Lito and Xenia hotels in town, as well as informal room and board offers, demand from visitors drawn to experience the warm hearts, rich culture and the exceptional hospitality of the locals continued to grow. It was not uncommon for cash-strapped backpackers in the 80s to be invited to open up their sleeping bags on private terraces under the stars.

So, with burgeoning contacts in trading and construction, George decided to undertake a development of his own, coming home one day with a second-hand Caterpillar. The well-worn but solid 920 four-cylinder diesel loader went on to dig the foundations of his first four hotels, starting with the 25-room Kohili in 1979. Set high above town and looking directly onto the seven famous 16th Century windmills, the charming little hotel commanded sweeping views of the Aegean by day, and the glittering spectacle of the town by night. Kohili was the first private hotel on Mykonos outside Chora, and an instant hit, followed by Korali a year later to double the room count.

The personal touch and attention to detail that to this day defines the Myconian Collection, inspired a loyal clientele and a reputation that spread by word of mouth. Six years later, Kyma and Kalypso joined Kohili and Korali to form what became known as ‘K-Hotels’. In anticipation of growing demand for luxury destinations, George purchased a plot in 1986 on the south coast above the bay of Platys Gialos and built the island’s first 5-star hotel, the Myconian Ambassador Relais & Chateaux.

By that stage, each son in turn was sent to hotel school in Switzerland, and once all four brothers were back on the island, they were ready for a new challenge: the conquest of Elia bay. If the seaside beaches around the peninsula are the golden crown of Mykonos, few are said to gleam as brightly as the broad swathe of fine sand on the South side of the island. So, in securing the most scenic cliffs and gentle slope of fields that joined them with the ocean, they acquired the perfect setting for the new stars in the Myconian Collection’s luxury constellation: the 5-Star Royal in 2000 and the Imperial in 2002, followed by the Villas, Utopia and Avaton.

Throughout this growth, the Collection never lost the sense of family and organic growth. Interwoven with their managerial philosophy and operation approach, it pervades the relationships between the Daktylides family, the island and the staff – and flows into guests’ experience of warm and personalized service, as well as the privileged relationships that discreetly open doors to the island’s best suppliers and services.

The family remains firmly rooted in Mykonos. Their children go to school on the island. The dedication to give back to the island finds expression in environmental conservation initiatives, local sourcing and consistent support to the Cycladic communities: waste is recycled, worn linen is donated to old age homes, prisons and monasteries in the Cyclades, seawater is desalinated.

Some loyal guests who experienced the Myconian Collection’s entire progression since Kohili, comment that they return not just in the knowledge of enduring excellence and the unfailing warmth and hospitality of the Daktylides family, but equally in anticipation of the element of surprise that results from a quest to create an experience both firmly rooted in traditions and responsive to the seasons of world class hospitality.