On Mykonos

Alexander Clapp

The hotel where I worked was called the Mykonos Grace. It was a whitewashed stucco building of 32 rooms. Most went for hundreds of euros a night – around what each of the staff made in a month. The cheapest rooms were at street level. An angry French couple once uploaded a video to TripAdvisor of every truck that rumbled past their room over the course of an afternoon. Rooms on the second floor had outdoor jacuzzis. ‘Not just the wine corks,’ our manager, Kostas, who moved in a cloud of cologne, told me on my first day. He solemnly handed me a small aquarium net. ‘You must also capture the foreign liquids.’ The third floor had a restaurant, a pool and a library stacked with crinkled paperbacks and copies of the Herald Tribune. From the bar we served the Grace Cocktail, a pink vodka martini which smelled of detergent. The honeymoon deluxe suite spanned the fourth floor. We were instructed never to take the lift. Grace management believed it was best for the bellboys to have tharros, ‘courage’ – to charge with the bags up the stairs, and arrive at the guests’ rooms panting.

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