Sustainability, wellness and organic food take centre stage at this relaxing retreat on the unspoilt island of Antiparos

Words: Jonathan Whiley

Cuddle puddles, sacred gong bath ceremonies and a House of Healing – arriving at The Rooster, the Yorkshireman in me has concerns. Elements seem a touch “woo woo”; my version of spiritual awakening usually involves a double G&T.

Opened in summer 2021, this boutique hotel on the wonderfully unspoilt Greek island of Antiparos – still largely under-the-radar in spite of Tom Hanks owning a home here – was conceived as a wellness and lifestyle resort. It’s the passion project of one (rather stylish) woman: the Greek shipping heiress Athanasia Comninos.

Her vision, inspired by her own wake-up call (hence the name), is to foster respectful tourism on an island she loves. The Rooster is about heart and soul – sustainability, wellness, organic food – and celebrating life’s simple pleasures. The 17 stone-built houses have an abundance of space, with their own freshwater pools, outdoor showers, private gardens and spacious sundecks overlooking landscaped gardens or, in our case, the shimmering Aegean.

The colour palette is soothing, with natural materials such as wood, marble and cotton used throughout. It’s impossibly chic – photos become a ready-made Instagram reel – yet somehow nothing ever feels contrived or overly curated.

Livadia beach, which the hotel overlooks, remains blissfully wild – a secluded spot frequented by guests and in-the-know locals looking for the surf. The bohemian vibe continues at the House of Healing spa, with complimentary yoga, Ayurveda therapy and custom-made treatments using organic Ila products.

Service is relaxed and warm – staff float around wearing kimonostyle outfits – and highly accommodating (nightcap martini by your pool? No problem).

The food is a real highlight. Breakfast is leisurely, whether enjoyed in your room or in the restaurant, with an array of homemade spreads including thyme honey from Paros, almond cashew and cardamom butter, served alongside a selection of homemade breads (cocoa and chocolate sourdough, anyone?) and traditional Greek yoghurt, local cheeses and a farm omelette made with herbs and zucchini from the hotel’s organic farm a kilometre away. Seasonal ingredients frequently appear on the wholesome but inviting menus alongside freshly caught fish brought in daily by the island’s fishermen.

As night falls, make for the open-air bar and enjoy searing sunsets with a Rooster spritz in hand. For dinner, a complimentary transfer to the centre of Antiparos (a 10-minute drive) can be  arranged at a moment’s notice, or dine under the stars at the hotel’s Secret Garden restaurant, a romantic stone courtyard festooned with lights. You will soon fall in love; even sceptical Yorkshiremen fall under The Rooster’s spell.