Discover more from The Rhubarb Society
Vol. 33 - The Rhubarb Society Guide To Mykonos
as well as what to buy for your trip and what to read and watch on your travels
Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you have all had a glorious week and that you are taking some time to enjoy what is left of your Summer. I am currently sitting with the windows wide open, sunlight streaming in, chugging a mango Dash (which I’ve now realised I can order on Amazon, THANK GOD), reflecting on my Summer so far. I’ve recently come back from a girl’s trip, and whilst my memory is still intact, I wanted to talk all about it. ‘It’ being the weird and wonderful island that is Mykonos. In this issue, I’m going to talk honestly about some of the most overpriced places I’ve been to this side of the equator, the books and shows that have been filling my downtime, as we all as a few Mykonos essentials for those entertaining the idea of going.
Whenever I hear ‘Mykonos’, it conjures a variety of images. Balding, overweight sugar daddies with their BBL girlfriends, Orans and Royal Oaks, rich Russians, aspiring influencers with coke addictions looking bored and Sheikhs on yachts with women who have their emails in their Instagram bios. In short, it conjures images of wealth and excess, and it’s a place that has never really tempted me beyond morbid curiosity. However, if there’s one thing I can’t say no to - it’s a girl’s trip. We could be spending a week in the seventh circle of hell, and I’d be the first to board the plane, so when Mykonos was pitched as this year’s location of choice, I packed my holdall and my St Louis without question. I entered the land of the rich and entitled, and I am ashamed to say that I left a convert. I do think 80% of that had to do with the group of girls I was with, as I could have fun locked in a bunker with them, but I’ve gotta give a little credit where credit is due to the island itself. Firstly, Mykonos is dystopian as hell. There were moments when I wondered whether I’d died on the plane ride over, and the island was conjured up by my dying brain. The things I saw and experienced can’t be put into words, and I have never seen so many attractive and also terrifyingly botched people in one place. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is; you will find a party where people are drinking and dancing on tables to a DJ set whilst others are around them drinking coffee and starting their day. Time does not exist here, and this is partly why I loved it so much. If you need to forget about life, responsibilities, and your circadian rhythm for a week, there is no better place to suspend reality. Anything goes, and that is both brutal and freeing. I had the perk of going with seasoned Mykonos-ers as well as a native Greek speaker, so I trusted them with the itinerary, which I am now going to share with you in all its glory (with very detailed notes).
Before we start, if you are planning to go to Mykonos; 1) pre-book as much as possible because it is dog-eat-dog out there, and you still end up queuing and waiting even with a reservation, and, 2) if you are in a big enough group (or you have the means), consider hiring a driver to get you around…you can use Uber pretty easily (or have your hotel arrange cars for whenever you leave), but it is chaotic and at peak times, taxis/Ubers will charge you 60 euros to go up the road just because they can
Check into hotel at 3pm - We stayed at the Myconian Kyma, which wasn’t far from the edge of town (not that it makes too much difference as most of the places we went were at least 20 minutes away by taxi). Yes, it was expensive (two of us sharing a room cost around £2500), but this is par for the course when it comes to Mykonos. The room was on the smaller side, but the service was fantastic, and the food was delicious. I think I had the best turkey club sandwich of my life here, and it was my go-to every time I slept off a hangover by the pool. It never felt crowded or busy, and it was the perfect place to chill in between our bookings, so I didn’t mind the cash we spent. Personally, a good hotel is a priority for me as I need my downtime to be relaxing and stress-free, but if that isn’t the case for you, then this probably isn’t the place to book.
Scorpios Dinner and Sunset at 5pm - So Scorpios is owned by the Soho House group, and upon my friend calling to confirm our reservation, they reminded her for the umpteenth time that there was a dress code of ‘elevated chic casual’, which our Greek speaking friend translated to ‘boho trust fund’. Obviously, the venue is on the beach and has beautiful views over the sea, but my lord, is this place pretentious. Our dinner was good, and the food was delicious (although 36 euros for a half-baked cookie is obscene), but outside of that, apres dinner was pretty shocking. We moved down to the beach, and the seated area to get drinks and listen to the DJ, and the service was non-existent. I also saw a lot of exposed body parts that seemed to contradict the ‘elevated chic casual’ dress code they were so fervent about, so I wouldn’t take it too seriously if you do plan on going. I wore a sheer white linen Massimo Dutti top with a white bikini underneath and a pair of knitted Missoni-esque trousers. The seats/tables on either side of us were also filled with people pretending to have fun for Instagram rather than actually having fun, so the beautiful views were obstructed by photo ops. The music was fine, but the vibe wasn’t really there. It kind of felt like something was missing. We stayed until about 1 am and then decided to call it a night as we’d all been up since the early hours.
Spilia lunch at 2pm - The location for this was S T U N N I N G. It’s literally nestled into the rocks, which means you’re hanging over the sea, and the ‘party’ section below is in a cave. Firstly, make sure you book, as it got to the point where people were literally fighting to take our table the minute they thought we were done. The queue was obscene and ended up infiltrating the restaurant. Secondly, I think this was my favourite meal of the whole trip - stick to fresh seafood and vegetables (avoid the pasta), and you’ll be fine. The whole fish was perfection, and everything we ordered was perfectly light and fresh, and well seasoned. We spent a glorious few hours eating and drinking here before deciding we wanted to dance, which required trying to get a table in the very packed cave section where the DJ was. We tried to barter with our waiter as we had already spent a pretty penny on lunch (about a thousand euros for 7 of us), but he told us that if we wanted to sit downstairs, we had to order a magnum of Dom P at the very minimum (and that was going to cost us 2.5k LOL). We strategised different ways that the seven of us could sneak into the downstairs section before asking the waiter again about getting a table there, to which he said, ‘The minimum spend has now gone up to 4k’. The bathroom to the restaurant was completely separate and at the other end of the cliff. It was also tiny and mainly used for people taking party favours which was annoying for those of us who actually needed the loo. It also happened to provide a back entrance into the downstairs section, so we went in twos and crept into the party cave and headed straight to the bar without having to spend a stupid amount of money to get there. It was chaotic and rammed, and people were still being served food, so we had countless waiters holding HUGE trays above everyone's heads that just felt like an accident waiting to happen. I recognised quite a few people from Scorpios the night before, dancing on the tables, surrounded by uneaten food. I even saw one of the bald twins from selling sunset in the queue for the loo. Anyway, after an hour or so of dancing to ‘unts unts’ music, half of us decided that a swim in the sea would be far nicer than dancing in a sweaty cave, so we made a break for the beach and had a glorious dip in the sea. I am SO happy that we did not spend any extra money to go downstairs because it was in no way worth it. Go for a long boozy lunch there and then head straight for the beach. You can hear the music from the sea anyway.
Zuma dinner at 12am (11pm request / drinks earlier) - So Mykonos is the type of place that will give you a dinner booking at midnight with a straight face. After drying off from our sea dip and getting re-glammed (I wore a maxi Missoni dress, Zuma is definitely the place to dress up), half of us headed to Zuma early for drinks and shisha. The vibe here is immaculate. The lychee martinis are the best I’ve ever had. Infinity pools overlook the sea, and the bar and stage area is open and outside (like one huge balcony) but also lightly covered with wood and raffia. It’s chic, cosy, and moody, and we all agreed it was one of the best places we’d been to. The music was also fabulous as we were tired of the incessant house music that we’d been subjected to at every other place - Zuma plays music that you can actually dance to. We sat for our food at midnight (the sushi was great, of course), and then at 2 am, the music stopped, and we went in search of somewhere else to party. At that time, you’re limited with options (a lot of the big places get shut down by police if they go after hours), so we headed into the centre of town, which was an actual jump scare. I have to say that I’ve never been to a place that has standstill traffic at 2am, and we sat in traffic for SO long trying to get into town that we had to get out and walk. Mykonos town at that time is very Magaluf-esque. Everyone was very young and drunk and messy, and all of the tiny, narrow streets were rammed with people. We went to Scandinavian bar to sing along to some cheesy old-school songs, and then a huge fight broke out, and we all realised we were in a place with smashed glass and sticky floors wearing designer clothing at 4 am, so we called it a night. Aimee and I got into bed at 5am, but we are both cursed with the inability to sleep in, so we were up at 9 am and ready to go again.
Ftelia flower power beach reservation at 1pm - We didn’t make this reservation because we all had gone to sleep at a ridiculous time. Instead, we opted for a day by the hotel pool, eating turkey club sandwiches and drinking rose—a very sensible choice.
Alemagou dinner and party 8:30pm (min spend 250 pp) - Alemagou is another bougie place that is part beach, part rave, part restaurant. Whilst in the second queue (the one for people with reservations), we heard multiple iterations of ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ and ‘I’m friends with the owner let me in’. It’s a pretty big venue, and when we walked in, we were all immediately hit by how clubby it felt (despite being outdoors). It was dark and moody, and the volume was at 800. The food was good but not a great atmosphere to enjoy it in as we couldn’t hear a word each other was saying. It only got really fun once we were done and we had the space to stand on the chairs and fill the table with alcohol instead (I was glad we had a table to do this as, by the stage, it looked like a mosh pit). The waiters were also really good-looking and extremely attentive - they had several drinks with us (we had to order a lot of booze to get through our minimum spend), so it really ticks every box if you’re looking for the full party vibe. The downside to Alemagou is that it closes at midnight, so it cuts your evening very short unless you have a backup. It is also like the hunger games trying to leave there and find your sprinter (aside from quadbikes, this is literally how everyone travels) and it’s on the longest, dustiest stretch of road, so my eyes were fried from all the sand. We went back into town again to find somewhere to continue drinking and dancing. We tried Coya, but it was pretty dead, and the vibe was rubbish; we then tried our beloved Scandinavian Bar again before getting some early morning gyros and heading home.
Nikolas Tavern at 1pm - Nikolas Tavern is a very chilled and reasonably priced place for lunch by the sea. It’s family-run, and they’re known for their fresh fish (you can sometimes see the father and son coming back via boat with a fresh catch). Go here for delicious traditional Greek food that’s unfussy. We stayed there for a few hours before heading straight to our next destination.
Nammos at 4.30 pm - Nammos is a weird little luxury village complex that also happens to have a beach, a restaurant and a bar amongst the designer stores. I’ve never seen so many insane (derogatory) looking people in one place. There are two sides to this place. One feels more like a party bar that is half indoors, half outdoors and dancing on chairs and tables seems like a requirement. The other side is an outdoor restaurant, which is where we initially sat. We were so full from lunch that we didn’t have the capacity to eat, but in order to keep the table, we ordered some sushi bits alongside our drinks and hatched a plan to get to the party side. The music here is also really good as they play things you can sing and dance to, so we stayed for a few hours doing just that. We wanted to head to the beach to continue the party, but some shipping magnate had hired the whole place out for a private party (BOOOO), so we had to rally and think of what to do next. We thought about going back to Scorpios as apparently a big DJ was playing, but all of the taxis refused to take us anywhere near as it was a 2-hour backlog of traffic trying to get there. We went back to the hotel to freshen up and have another drink before the survivors left for the next place. We even managed to convince one of the girls who was already in bed to rally and come out with us at 10:30 pm.
Dinner for the survivors (which ended up being at Sea Satin) - This was 100% my favourite place of the entire trip. It’s a tiny restaurant, literally in the sea (we opened the windows at one point, and seawater was literally splashing onto us) with an immaculate vibe. I was so full from all the food and drink we’d had that day that I ate one singular tomato out of all of the dishes we’d ordered, so I can’t comment on the quality of the food. We had arrived quite late, so a few tables around us were done with their food and already up on the tables dancing. We even ran into one of our waiters from the night before who was on a date which was just the cherry on top of this ridiculous day. As was par for the course, shortly after the food was cleared, we were up on the table, singing and dancing and drinking. It was really nice to be somewhere cosy and intimate, lit by candlelight, with the sounds and smell of the sea right next to us. All of the songs were classic singalong songs, and there wasn’t a house or DnB song at all; THANK GOD. The staff occasionally joined in and kept the energy up, and we were there until nearly 3 am. It’s also right by the centre of town so it’s very easy to walk around and find somewhere to carry on afterwards.
Try not to die before flying home - I can confirm that I did not die. However, Everyone at the airport was half dead, looking very defeated in stupidly inappropriate clothing for travel. The guy next to me on the plane said, ‘he couldn’t wait to get off this island’ because there were ‘too many fucking drugs, bro’, and then fell asleep minutes later with a stream of drool falling from his mouth. After four days straight of sleeping for less than 5 hours but drinking for over 12, I kind of understood.
As much as travel can be a pain in the arse, it’s also the perfect time to catch up on the things that daily life tends to put on hold. I love reading but really struggle to find time without distractions from the world around me to sit down and actually read. The same goes for films and TV shows that I’ve been recommended a thousand times over. Being suspended in time and space on a plane, train, or automobile or lying on a beach with nothing to think about other than what to drink next provides the perfect opportunity to do as such. I actually finished 400 pages of a book on my flight home - it’s amazing what three hours without wifi can do for you. So, if you’re looking for inspiration for your next trip, here are a few things I’ve been reading and watching recently.
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow - When I took to TikTok to ask for book recommendations, this one came out on top. I’d seen it on my FYP a few times and heard *generally* good things, so I didn’t think twice about buying it. Whilst in the queue for Pret at the airport, I was telling my friend, Aimee, how I’d brought a book with me to read that everyone was raving about. She told me she’d brought one she had been struggling to read for the last three months, and I jokingly offered to swap with her. Fast forward some hours later, and we’re both lying by the pool, laughing at the fact that we’d brought the same book. Firstly, I can understand why both Aimee and those of you in my DMs had less than favourable reviews of this book, as it is a slow burner, and I appreciate that this writing style isn’t for everyone. The story follows a group of friends over a few decades and often jumps backwards and forwards in time. Luckily for me, I love a slow burner, and for fans of A Little Life, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow will resonate with you. Despite its core theme being video games, I didn’t find myself switching off. It’s written in a way that doesn’t turn off those who aren’t well-versed in this space, and it never goes too technical to the point where it becomes boring. Of course, though, the most important part of this book is its relationships, and it’s why it deserves all the praise it’s been given. I’m not sure whether I was feeling particularly fragile after the combination of a lack of sleep and heavy drinking, but I cried twice on the flight home reading this. There are some unexpected characters that will hold a place in your heart, and I think everyone will be able to relate to at least one in this book. It’s not necessarily the lightest and easiest read to take on holiday with you, but if you are looking to be completely captivated for 500 pages, this is the book for you.
Klara and The Sun - This was another firm favourite amongst booktokers, and as an Ishiguro fan, this was a no-brainer. I’m only halfway through, but I still feel compelled to recommend it. Klara is an AI human/robot and the narrator of the novel, which already makes for a unique perspective and, in turn, an interesting read. I love Ishiguro’s work because his prose is so simple and subtle that it allows the reader to immerse themselves fully into the world he creates without him spelling it out. The storytelling is poignant and melancholic (two of my favourite things, haha) and, most importantly, Klara and The Sun is thought-provoking. Again, probably not the easiest and lightest read for a holiday, but at the very least, you’ll have all the time in the world to ponder all of the oddly depressing questions that this book will make you ask yourself.
Clean - I was sent this book nearly two years ago now, and it was sold to me as ‘Gossip Girl meets Girl Interrupted’, which piqued my interest. The story is largely about the rich and privileged social groups of London, and its protagonist, Lexi, a socialite who ends up in rehab. Whilst some of it is mildly entertaining, and it can be fun to read about rich idiots doing rich idiotic things, it kind of felt like something was missing for me. Juno slightly misses the mark on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to privilege and drug addiction, which made the whole book feel very fictional (I know that it is a fiction, but it stopped me from being immersed in the story because I kept noticing how unrealistic certain parts of the story were). I did enjoy some of the dark humour and how cynical Lexi is as a character, and it is definitely an easy enough read to enjoy on your travels, but it’s one for the YA category, so don’t expect much more than that.
American Horror Stories - Ahhh, the spin-off to our beloved series, ‘American Horror Story’, that I had no clue existed until I was aimlessly scrolling on Disney+. This series is slightly different from its predecessor as every episode is a different horror story, almost black mirror-esque in its delivery and references to its own lore. I binged both seasons, and the episodes are massively hit or miss. Some I really enjoyed, others I couldn’t believe were even greenlit. If you are a fan of the original franchise, it’s certainly worth giving it a go to get your AHS fix (some episodes do directly reference earlier seasons and characters, which is cool). It’s also quite nice to get your creepy little horror hit without committing to ten episodes of something. Season 2 is definitely better than 1, so if you just want to pick random episodes to watch, start there.
The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2 - I know I’ve spoken about this show several times, but the grip that this teen drama has on me as a 30-year-old will not be let go lightly. By the time this newsletter goes out, there will only be one episode left in the season, so you’ll basically be able to binge the whole thing in one go. Not only is this the best show to watch to pass the time on your travels or on your holiday (the show is literally all about Summer and based around Summer at a beach house, so at the very least, it gets you in the holiday mood), but it has the perfect combination of romance, drama, and humour all set to a killer soundtrack that I am convinced was made by a millennial. It will make you feel good, cry, and give you an unshakeable feeling of nostalgia. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the whole cast is stupidly good-looking. I also found out that the woman who plays Laurel is SIXTY-TWO.
Barbie - I didn’t want to write about Barbie until I’d had the chance to see Oppenheimer, but between its 3-hour run time, my packed local cinema, and my horrendous schedule, it isn’t going to happen any time soon. I’ve also wanted to write about Barbie since I saw it on opening day. Firstly, fuck the naysayers. I don’t know why anyone was going into this film with any preconceived notions, seeing as Greta was at the helm of both directing and writing this. The bulk of the criticisms annoyed me because they centred around Barbie as a film wanting to do more. More for feminism, more for marginalised groups, more for every other issue in the world that wasn’t included in a two-hour film about a literal doll, completely ignoring the fact that a mainstream film catered to women being able to even cover one of those subjects, is a big step, to begin with. I think some of the naysayers ignored the fact that a female director in charge of a mainstream film is already starting on the back foot, and in order to keep creating, they have to be both financially and commercially successful — an issue that a lot of male directors don’t have to worry about. Barbie is funny and clever, and I couldn’t stop smiling throughout. Young women and teenagers who will see it without knowing its core message will have the privilege of seeing the truth about ‘womanhood’ being shown on the big screen, with messages that I wish I had been exposed to in the films I watched growing up. Is it perfect? No, of course not, but Greta’s reimagining of this world and Barbie’s story is a triumph. The amount of women I have seen resonating with so many parts of this film tells me all I need to know about its impact. Ryan Gosling is so fucking funny in this; I cannot wait for a compilation of his best bits to come out on TikTok. I always say my marker of a great film is how many times I would rewatch it, and I was ready to walk out of that screen and straight into another one so that I could see it again.
Get yourself a Royal Oak, some Hermes sandals, and a Rimowa suitcase, and you’ve nailed most of the key uniform for Mykonos. If in doubt, you can always go for the biggest, tackiest branding possible, and you should be fine (I’m only half joking because I’ve legit never seen so much Phillip Plein in one place). But in all seriousness, a place with so many dress codes and unspoken rules and regulations can be daunting. In a place like Mykonos, sometimes it’s best to just embrace your inner Ken, pack a case with colourful items and make your whole personality ‘just beach’. In a place where anything goes, the same can be said for the outfits, so here are some of my picks for, in the words of Scorpios, ‘elevated beach chic’.
Hermes Orans - Everyone and their dogs have a pair of these sandals. Due to its extensive range, it’ll be hard not to find a colour and a material to suit you. If in doubt, go for the classic brown (or, as Hermes calls it, gold) to elongate your legs and match any outfit. You can also easily pick up a dupe of these if dropping £600 on a sandal doesn’t sit right with you. These are perfectly acceptable to wear literally anywhere in Mykonos, and you will see a sea of these stomping on a table at any given time.
Barely There Crochet - So you’ve spent a day at the beach, and now you have dinner and dancing to get to. The easiest solution is to chuck a crochet dress on and be on your way. You might feel very exposed, but there will always be someone wearing less, so don’t worry; no one will notice. This beige Herringbone crochet maxi from & Other Stories is chic and slightly more modest than your usual Mykonos party-goer. If you want to channel your inner Ken with something colourful that has a touch of ‘himbo’, this Missoni mini crochet dress is far more fun than a neutral maxi. If you’re looking for an in-between price-wise and modesty-wise, SNDYs have crochet dresses in pink, blue, and beige that are flirty and fun without being too revealing (and they’re only £65 as opposed to £500).
Statement Sunglasses - Whether it’s trying to hide a hangover, extortionate drug use, or from an expectant sugar daddy, sunglasses are worn 24/7 in Myk. It’s perfectly acceptable to wear them inside at night during dinner for some reason. For the beach parties, I wore a tanned pair of sunglasses like these Sunday, Somewhere ones in shade ‘champagne’ (very fitting). For mornings by the pool reserved for sleeping off a hangover, a pair of oversized Celine’s were the only option like these or these. For something a little more ridiculous, you can’t go wrong with Loewe. If you’re feeling particularly ostentatious, maybe choose a Dior visor instead.
Loro Piana Summer Walks - Maybe you’re a little foot shy, and you think showing toes in public is for Neanderthals? Don’t worry; I’ve got you. Another popular shoe choice for the young and wealthy is the Summer Walk. Suede shoes at the beach might seem odd, but these are actually water repellent and, in their words, ‘perfect for summers spent sailing or at the beach.’
Printed Linens - Whilst you want to look good, most days are still unbearably hot, so you need fabrics that will work for you. Mango is really smashing it this season when it comes to Linens that are still bright and fun. This pink patterned two-piece would be an easy option to throw over a bikini. I tried to buy these multicoloured linen trousers for my trip, but they’d sold out in my size (annoyingly, they’re now back in stock), but I thought these would look great with a Missoni headband and a white bikini top for a beach party. If you want something more versatile, this colourful linen sarong could be tied in a few different ways over your swimwear and dressed up with some big earrings and sunglasses.
And that’s all from the thirty-third issue of The Rhubarb Society! If there’s anything you’re keen for me to discuss, or if you have a podcast topic you’d like me to talk about, please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below, via email or in my DMs. If there’s anyone you think would be an excellent fit for The Rhubarb Society, please do extend the invitation below.
Tamsin & Rhubarb