It is 7.00pm on the southeast corner of the island of Mykonos, the sun is edging drowsily into the sea, and the owner of the brand-new The Wild Hotel by Interni is gesticulating with a cigarette in the direction of a yacht in Kalafatis Bay. Mr Alexandros Varveris is an ebullient Athenian with a long familial connection to the island and he is explaining to me how things used to be here: “You would have Jackie Kennedy and her sister and the heir to the Krupp armament fortune. He would never carry cash and his secretary would just travel round the island at the end of the season asking if he had visited this taverna or that shop. I expect he paid,” he takes a drag of his cigarette, “a lot of extra money.” Mr Varveris is attempting to bring back a little of that bold-face name glamour with two new projects on the island (he has long owned a restaurant, Interni, in the old town, too).
For the past few decades, Mykonos has become synonymous with a certain style of partying: usually boozy, quite often excessive and perhaps not altogether in the Ms Jackie Kennedy mould. And that is no bad thing, by any means. But if you wanted a bit of five-star comfort, a quiet place to lay your head, and you weren’t in possession of a motor yacht or a multi-billion-pound armament’s fortune, then you were a little short of choice. As Mr Varveris says, he wanted to “bring a new dynamic” to the island.