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HISTORY OF TOURISM IN MYKONOS
It is widely agreed that the first tourists to visit Mykonos did so in the 1920s and 30s, the majority of which were archeologists and antiquity hobbyists commonly stopping in Mykonos to and from the island of Delos – one of the most important archeological sites in Europe and the mythical birthplace of Apollo.
It was not until the 1960s that Mykonos began to attract an A-List crowd, led by Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis, who moored his yacht on the island with then partner Maria Callas – the world-renowned opera singer – before later returning with his second wife, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, the widow of US President John F Kennedy and one of the great icons of the Swinging 60s.
Jackie O’s visit to Mykonos ushered in the arrival of other stars of the time, including Grace Kelly, Sofia Loren, and Brigette Bardot.
In 1973, the opening of Pierro’s Bar – the island’s first openly gay bar – made Mykonos a global favourite and became a long-lasting symbol of the island’s glamour and opulence.
Since then and in more recent years, Mykonos has increasingly catered to the rich and famous clientele it attracts as luxury resorts, ultra-exclusive beach clubs, and VIP parties have been set up to satisfy the whims and demands of those ready and willing to spend €100,000s to have a good time.
WHO HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE MORE CONTEMPORARY VISITORS IN RECENT YEARS?
It really has been a who’s-who of celebrity and mega-rich visitors over the past few years. Supermodel sisters Bella and Gigi Hadid and their Victoria’s Secret colleagues Kendall Jenner and Alessandra Ambrosio have all vacationed in Mykonos in recent years.
Global superstar athletes such as former Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney, Portuguese legend Cristiano Ronaldo, soccer manager Jose Mourinho, Olympic sprint king Usain Bolt, and the late, great basketball icon Kobe Bryant are among other prominent figures to visit Mykonos.
Stars of the screen and stage are also frequent visitors, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Gerard Butler, Hugh Jackman, Tom Hanks, Maria Carey, and Arianna Grande.
Let’s not forget the billionaires who choose Mykonos as their holiday destination, with the likes of retail tycoon Philipp Green, Google co-founder Larry Page, and venture capitalist Thomas Perkins all spotted on the island.
MYKONOS HOT SPOTS FOR THE RICH AND FAMOUS
There are many places in Mykonos that cater to the rich and famous, chief among them is Nammos Restaurant by the Sea – a restaurant and beach bar that hosts daily parties and events. The venue is located on Psarou Bay, which has a deepwater harbor protected by the meltemi north winds, making it the ideal spot for the super-rich to moor their yachts.
For additional privacy, celebrities can opt for one of Nammas’ exclusive cabanas which are available for €5,000 a day and come complete with private jacuzzis, private butlers, and a VIP driver.
Other notable elite hot spots on Mykonos include Scorpios, Cavo Paradiso, Tropicana, Super Paradise Beach Club, VOID Mykonos, and Remezzo.
In addition to all the parties, Mykonos boasts plenty of luxury shopping and art galleries, with Gucci, Burberry, Christian Dior, and Louis Vuitton and many other high-end designers all setting up shop on the island.
Curiously, though, for a holiday spot that attracts high-rollers, Mykonos does not actually have a luxury casino to accommodate the typical betting habits of the rich and famous. Therefore, anyone holidaying on the island will need to either head to one of the small, modest betting shops or rely on high-roller online casinos to satisfy any gambling habits.
For accommodation, Nammas Village offers 20 luxury boutique hotels, while Cavo Tagoo Mykonos is also a popular spot for big-spending tourists as well as a plethora of luxury Airbnb options. Alternatively, some of the superyachts can be chartered, with Tom Perkins’ Maltese Falcon available for a cool €480,000 a week.
WHAT NEXT FOR MYKONOS?
To accommodate the influx of international travelers, Mykonos Airport is undergoing a €25m upgrade which is expected to be completed by 2021. Meanwhile, a private-jet sharing service, called Camp Aeros and set up by Uber co-founder Garrett Camp, is already in operation to transport people between Mykonos and Ibiza – the Spanish party island and another popular spot for high-end partygoers.