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Melisses Andros, a hidden jewel in the Cyclades

Andros, one of the least visited islands in the Cyclades, Greece.

Of course I like it, as I shun mass tourism that ruin our planet, noisy bars, cheap restaurants and concrete!

Aerial view hotel Melisses Andros, a Hiddenist journey in Greece

Andros is green, thanks to several freshwater springs.

Andros is vast, very vast - it can take over an hour to drive to its most beautiful, secret and deserted beaches, even in the middle of summer.

Andros is very sparsely built. Only a few monasteries, churches or white villages dot the landscape criss-crossed

by winding roads.

Andros is full of children playing, shouting, cycling in the evening in the main square of Chora, its largest village - and the impression of an instant trip back fifty years. Nostalgia. Sighs.

A two-hour ferry ride from Athens, a dizzying road that juts out into the sea and leads to one of the most beautiful places in the Mediterranean: Melisses Andros.

The wind, the meltem, howling from dawn to dusk, the Aegean Sea at its feet, the neighbouring island with its ochre tones, occupied only by a small white church, its cross stretched towards the sky.

The view from Melissès is magnetic. The dazzled gaze is constantly drawn towards this infinite balcony which overhangs the blue monochrome in front of you.

The decoration is simple: blue shutters, rough floor, walls built in the traditional way - there are still a few craftsmen on the island who know how to make houses out of heavy stones and one of the last to have this ancestral know-how has restored Melissès stone by stone.

Inside, whitewashed walls, white wooden ceilings, an Astier de Villatte candle (unexpected here!), chintzy animal boards or old manuscript pages as decoration. An old chest that serves as a magazine rack. A magnificent white marble sink. A huge cupboard full of old crockery, silverware and all sorts of kitchen utensils for preparing the most wonderful of feasts.

Outside, a lush Mediterranean garden that seems to have been here for decades, flowerbeds that withstand the overwhelming heat of Helios, pebbles here and there.

Soft blue and white sofas, endless pools, terraces.

A perfectly designed staircase leads to the greatest of luxuries: private access to the Aegean Sea, crystal clear, sublime, eternal. All to yourself.

Here, nothing is too much. Everything is just right. Everything is balanced.

Villa Coral is my favourite: two bedrooms, an indoor living room with a fully equipped kitchen, an outdoor kitchen-lounge for endless lunches under the trellis, an infinite terrace with more than 180 degrees of view on the islands and the big blue.

Allegra Pomilio, the young owner of this jewel, loves to cook, loves to entertain, loves her life in Greece.

She is Italian but has been holidaying in her adopted country since she was a child. A photographer and cook, she worked with Mimi Thorisson in France before launching this project.

After travelling to many islands in vain, she came across this magnetic place which has now become her home.

The art of hospitality by Allegra Pomilio, hotel Melisses Andros

She regularly organises retreats for cosmopolitan aesthetes who come to cut themselves off from the world for a few days and share their taste for the beautiful and the good.

No one on the horizon. From time to time a boat passes. A swallow. Or a cicada.

Melissès, I leave you with regret, but I know that I will come back again to take a break from the hubbub of

the world here.

Because Melissès is everything I've always been looking for in my life as a traveller: silent, refined, gourmet and peaceful.

And proof that it is still possible to make your dreams come true.

Juliana Angotti, founder of Hiddenist


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