The myth of the Semeli Mykonos hotel


Named after the mother of the god Dionysus, the Semeli Mykonos hotel blends style with authenticity, bespoke pampering and culinary pleasures to offer its guests a mythical holiday experience.

Tucked in a quiet yet fairly central corner of Chora, a few minutes walk from the action, yet safely removed from the buzz and hubbub, the Semeli Mykonos hotel is a legendary destination in its own right.  

It all began some 20 years ago when Stamatia and George Zissimopoulos, the descendants of an old family of Mykonian merchants, decided to convert their childhood holiday house into a luxury Mykonos hotel. Back in the 19th and early 20th centuries, wealthy locals used to seek repose from the summer heat on the (then) edge of Mykonos Town. This is where the Zissimopoulos’ ancestors built an elegant neoclassical mansion in 1870. Inspired by the grand houses of South France, it was painted in the characteristic Provence pink. The same colour has been retained up to nowadays – and it is a marked diversion from the island’s characteristic all-white scheme.

Semeli Mykonos hotel – the legendary backstory

But this is not the only thing that sets this Mykonos hotel apart. Inspired by the myths and legends of their birthplace, Stamatia and George Zissimopoulos’, named their baby ‘Semeli”: she was the mother of Dionysus and Zeus’ paramour – and, as archaeological evidence suggests, a much-celebrated deity on the island in ancient times. As the story goes, Semeli was the daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia – a princess of Thebes with whom Zeus became infatuated. In his typical ruler of gods and men fashion, he left her pregnant, thereby infuriating his (understandably jealous) wife, Hera. Zeus had already promised his latest squeeze that he would grant her any wish. Seeking punishment for their liaison, Hera tricked Semeli into asking Zeus to appear to her in all his glory. Zeus had no choice but to comply. But no mortal could stand the sight of his thunderbolts without bursting into flames. That is what just happened to Semeli. Still, Zeus managed to salvage the unborn child – Dionysus – by sewing him inside his thigh. Later on, Dionysus went down to the underworld and brought his mother to mount Olympus where she became the goddess Thioni. As scenes on ancient coins indicate, both mother and son were revered in Mykonos – no wonder really, as contemporary Mykonians and visitors alike continue to pay tribute to the good life; and Dionysus is no other than the god of merrymaking and wine.

Spurred by happy memories, the Zissimopouloses set upon creating a hospitality establishment that would reflect the charisma and elegance of Zeus’ favourite paramour – and they went to great lengths to ensure it. Diachronically popular among the hip and trendy set, the Semeli Mykonos hotel owes much of its reputation to its immaculate aesthetic, pampering facilities and relaxed, laid-back aura. Here, trademark Cycladic minimalism meets designer furniture, state-of-the-art conveniences and an anything-goes attitude to service. The original neoclassical building forms the core of the dining and lounge area, with Thioni and Krama restaurant, as well as the hotel’s signature lobby lounge bar, being favourite foodie haunts for residents and non-residents alike. A large freshwater pool with lavish day beds and sun loungers, as well as the world-class Aegeo Spa, complete the picture of easy living. The baton has been now passed to the new generation, with the younger Zissimopoulos’ never resting on their laurels. On an island brimming with elite choices, the Semeli Mykonos hotel continues to wow discerning travellers from all over the world. Part of the charm lies in the effortlessly cool atmosphere and the owner’s ongoing effort to keep up with the zeitgeist. The other is attributed to Semeli’s exceptional staff: handpicked, highly efficient, and above all cordial, gracious and kind, they’ll go the extra mile to ensure that your heart’s desires are satisfied. And this makes a world of difference – for it is teamwork that made Semeli, from the start, the best 5-star hotel in Mykonos town.

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Stylish sofa and wooden coffee table overlooking the pool at Semeli Town Best Mykonos Town Hotel.

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