Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese islands, brings together sandy shorelines, clear waters and ancient ruins framed by craggy hilltops and low-slung mountains. Byzantine, Arabic and Ottoman rulers have all left their mark, from the eclectic architecture to the vibrant cuisine. And it has mythological status too: spurred by envy, Greek god Helios was said to have made Rhodes the most beautiful island in the Aegean Sea. Legend or not, it’s hard to disagree. Here’s our pick of the best hotels to call home during your stay.
Kókkini Porta Rossa started life as a knight’s inn around the year 1350, but at some point during its storied past it fell into disrepair and lay abandoned until current owners Nikos and Angela returned it to its former glory. Spurred by a sense of responsibility towards local architecture, history and culture, they used original timber, stone, marble and materials such as lime, pumice, beeswax and linseed oil to rebuild it. Each richly decorated room follows a slightly different theme and is named after a member of a family that once lived there. Common features include antique ornaments, beamed ceilings and heavy drapes which add to the romantic tone.
Ancient history is felt strongly here – ornately decorated, the Melenos Lindos flaunts rich designs that nod to the Byzantine, Medieval, Arabic and Ottoman influences upon the Greek islands, conceived by designer Donald Green. With the Acropolis of Lindos in full view from some of the guest rooms, it’s hard not to let your imagination frequently drift to a bygone era. Get down to the garden for an early breakfast of pittas with homemade honey and jam, yoghurt, cereal and cooked options – and come the evening, reserve a table at the Melenos rooftop restaurant for traditional Greek food at its finest.
Casa Cook is a sleek, adults-only option set in the shadow of the Tsambika mountains. The low-slung house is heightened by Cali-cool interiors: think seagrass furnishings, tropical murals and plants aplenty. Wake up to complimentary yoga sessions in the outdoor hammock-strewn terrace, then head to one of the cabanas for an Ayurvedic massage. You can spend the rest of the day lazing at the Kitchen Club – where the bar, restaurant and pool seamlessly converge. Dinner could be anything from lobster linguini to grilled octopus with fava from Santorini. Savour whatever you choose alongside a sunset backdrop and mellow house music.
The goddess Rhodos herself might consider checking into Allegory Boutique Hotel in the event she popped back for a visit. All rooms take their name from Greek mythology, and are decorated with antiquities excavated during the renovation of the place. The Narcissus suite – designed with beamed ceilings, exposed brickwork and golden linen – includes its own hammam and waterfall shower. The traditional stone-clad courtyard is a romantic spot for enjoying meals – owners Nikos and Anastasia have thought of every detail – but you can always dine on your own private terrace instead.
Unlike the breezy boho hotels that dominate the island, this listed building is a cosy bolthole that feels more like a friend’s house than a hotel. A contrasting palette of burnt orange, marigold and mint create a retro flair that’s emphasised with vintage painted plates on the walls and twee kitchen curtains. Owner and manager Froso will be around to provide top tips on things to do after a Greek-style breakfast of yoghurt and honey, eggs, cheese and fresh fruit.
The traditional pebble-mosaic courtyard at St Artemios Boutique Hotel is a prime spot for enjoying a thick Greek coffee in the morning – like much of the brightly painted abode, the space is the work of Anatolyan and East Aegean craftsmen. Its prime location in the old town means you’re within easy roaming distance of Elli beach, the pretty port town of Mandraki and Saint Nikolaos fort. And once you’ve ticked those spots off your list, you can book a guided walking tour, a cooking class, water sport activities – even catamaran tickets to Turkey – at the front desk.
Amada Colossos Resort overlooks miles of sun-bleached sand and impossibly blue sea. Closer to your room, though, are multiple swimming pools partitioned by bridges and platforms leading to countless sun loungers. In fact there’s a pool for just about every age group – a thoughtful approach that extends to the dining facilities: four restaurants and eight bars, no less, so plenty of choice whether you’re travelling with family, friends or a loved one.
Decorative period features characterise the Spirit of the Knights Boutique Hotel, from the high-ceilinged lounge area to guest rooms furnished with dark wood, exposed stonework and intriguing antiques. It also has great eco credentials by way of wood sourced from forests, solar heating, Coco-Mat beds and hand-blown glassware made by local craftsmen. Breakfast is served in the pretty pebbled courtyard – expect fresh bread, pastries, jams and salad, plus there’s an additional brunch menu designed by an in-house nutritionist.
Where luxury meets natural beauty, you’ll find the Aquagrand. Sandwiched between rocky slopes and the Aegean Sea, this exclusive resort is made from locally sourced materials and brightened with art from local creatives. The guest rooms and suites come in a tasteful neutral palette, allowing the sea views through large sliding doors to take centre stage; many also come with a private pool. If you want to indulge yourself, visit the spa; the thalassotherapy (which harnesses the supposed therapeutic powers of the sea) and Vichy showers will do the trick.
Found down a pretty narrow alleyway, Casa Antica is a romantic boutique perfect for loved-up couples. It was built in 1730 and was once home to the Spanish consulate, but it now contains seven stylish apartments – most of which are named after a European master painter – with eco-friendly furnishings and plump beds. In the evenings, head to the 42 Wine Bar, a dreamy, flower-filled courtyard with Greek wines, local craft beers and a smattering of art.
These dozen villas make for an uncomplicated vacation in Rhodes, particularly for families or groups. Each lodging has a sun lounger-lined private pool, but you’re just moments from the beach and a golf course should you feel a bit more adventurous. The elected cook can work their magic in the kitchen or on the barbecue grill; mornings are sorted with the daily breakfast basket.
A lagoon-like swimming pool with dining islands and a covered bar is the centre of the action at this large, beachside luxury resort. Take a few more steps to find yourself on a sandy beach with rows of parasol-shaded sun loungers. The small village vibe is reinforced with a selection of fitness and sports facilities – basketball, tennis and volleyball courts, aquagym classes and a nearby watersports centre – plus a hearty collection of bars and restaurants.
Along the coast from Ialyssos, just steps from a sandy-pebble beach dotted with palm-leaf parasols, lies D’Andrea Mare. It’s a family-friendly destination; ship the kids off to the mini-club or let them splash around in the children’s pool with a waterslide. For you, there are four pools, a lazy river and a modern spa with all-wood massage cabins.
Now that you’ve sorted your stay, plan your trip by discovering all the best things to see and do in the city of the Colossus. Make sure to leave room for a delicious dinner at one of it’s best restaurants. Feel like island hopping? Why not take a trip to not-so-far-away Kos? Stay in one of the best hotels, and get to know the island better by exploring it’s must-see sights. For the even more adventurous, make Astypalea your next stop. Stay in one of the island’s beautiful hotels and carry on with your Grecian getaway.
Sam Murray contributed additional reporting to this article.
These recommendations were updated on September 24, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.