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AEGEAN WELL; With luxury resorts and a glamorous main town, Mykonos is the perfect Greek island for a girls' trip.

Byline: michelle darlow

am a big fan of the Greek Islands - but the problem is there are so many to pick from. Our holiday brief was mixed - five women who wanted a bit of fun in the sun.

IWe wanted it to be relaxing with glorious, uncrowded sandy beaches to lounge on, but with enough of a buzz at night to keep us happy. We also wanted a dose of culture and history, as well as fashion and fun. And we found it all on the cosmopolitan island of Mykonos.

It's beautiful - it's not for nothing that in the last decade this has become one of the most visited, photographed and loved islands in the Aegean.

Framed by a row of famous windmills above, and the sparkling sea below, it only took us seconds to get into the holiday mood.

There's plenty of budget accommodation in Mykonos Town, but if you're treating yourself, head out to the flashy, splashy beach resorts: beautiful, golden curls of sand backed by hills dotted with shining white Cycladic villas.

And you won't do better than the luxurious St John Hotel Villas & Spa, where we couldn't walk a step before a golf cart whizzed up to escort us around - a luxury we very quickly got accustomed to.

St John is a big resort hotel, great for weddings and honeymoons, just a 10-minute ([euro]7) taxi ride from the main town. The villas are scattered across the hillside, with enough private space without feeling completely deserted.

The main infinity pool - complete with dazzling white bridge and endless sea view - is the sort of vision of calm you see in honeymoon brochures.

You can while away hours lying on the double swing beds, iced coffee in hand. If you want to escape the pool area, some of the villas have hot tubs on the balconies, but whatever type of room you have, the day's highlight is watching the beautiful sunset from the hotel's private beach - one of the best spots on the island.

This is celebrity Greece past and present. While my friend is squealing: "The Kardashians stayed around here!" I'm more interested in an older claim to fame - this is the beach Shirley Valentine came to in the 1989 movie. If you want to have a go at recreating it there are no less than six hotel restaurants and bars to try (including one named after her).

Even if you're not out to bag a sexy waiter, try the exotic Au Bar over-looking the sea. It's the perfect little place to chill out and work your way through the impressive cocktail list.

Because there is everything on site, we could happily have spent a week not leaving the complex, but it's worth stirring yourself to discover the rest of what this idyllic island has to offer. Mykonos Town is a maze of narrow, painted paths which tempt you into getting lost. That's our best tip: dump the guide book and head out to discover flower-filled courtyards, chic little shops and restaurants.

If you're a foodie after a treat, dining at Meating is a must: traditional Greek fare at Michelin standard. But if you're on a budget head further into the maze, where you'll discover friendly local bars like Galleraki and snack shops at pursefriendly prices. Save a couple of euros for the amazing ice cream - it's practically a food group around here.

The quaint little streets lead out to the harbour, where you'll see the cruise liners dock and get to feel superior to the daytrippers who'll be gone by tomorrow.

We chilled in Alegro right on the port with fresh calamari and a glass (or two) of wine.

A week away just didn't feel long enough, between the wonderfully relaxing days mooching around the hotel, mixed with a few days out exploring. Plus there really is a lot to be said about the friendly chilled-out locals.

We left this whitewashed paradise feeling serene and to return.


Tilting at windmills... iconic Mykonos

Fine style... St John Hotel & Spa
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 17, 2014
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