Hotelier Alexandra Efstathiadou enhances her Halkidiki resort with ten new suites that pay homage to the area’s rich spiritual history.

It’s not often the same project features on the pages of Sleeper more than once in its lifetime, but when a hotel prides itself on regular redesigns to enhance the guest experience, it deserves a second look.

Since opening Ekies All Senses Resort – a Design Hotels member on Halkidiki’s Vourvourou Bay – hotelier Alexandra Efstathiadou has made it her mission to showcase contemporary Greece through design, fabrics and colours, working with local architects and designers to bring her vision to life. In all, it took 11 years to create the hotel she dreamed of, but it didn’t stop there. In a bid to stay ahead of the game, Efstathiadou has continued to develop the property – regular updates are all part of the philosophy here. In 2015, the Evergreen and Pine Suites were added, with a design scheme inspired by the surrounding woodland, and in 2017, the Treehouse restaurant was built using sustainably sourced materials.

A new suite at Ekies All Senses Resort in Halkidiki

The latest round of enhancements sees updates to five of the guestrooms, changes to the lobby, and the addition of ten new suites, which draw on the area’s rich spiritual history. “Seamlessly blending contemporary international design with Greek elements has always been part of our DNA,” explains Efstathiadou. “This time, our inspiration came from the nearby monasteries and the calmness they exude. It’s all about finding inner balance through connecting with nature in a more spiritual way.”

Created in collaboration with Athens-based Agarch+ Architects, the new look plays on the contrasts between excess and restraint. “We wanted to rethink the less is more approach, taking cues from the ascetic tranquility we encountered upon visiting the stunning monasteries of Mount Athos,” reveal Giorgos Anagnostellis and Angeliki Pappa, co-founders of Agarch+ Architects.

In homage to the nearby monasteries, suites are furnished with baptismal bowls that serve as washbasins and draw on the power of water to sanctify, while beds are stripped back to a bare-boned aesthetic. Emphasis is placed on natural materials, with marble, bronze and wood set against an earthy colour palette. Organic fabrics like the pure linen of the curtains and bedding strike a balance with solid wood furnishings and concrete ceilings, while walls come in authentic hues of olive green and burnt sienna by way of eco-friendly paint. Also of note are the floorcoverings, which combine handmade ceramics with patterns found in nearby Orthodox churches, as well as mosaics that pay homage to traditional Greek houses of the sixties and seventies.

A new suite at Ekies All Senses Resort in Halkidiki

A sense of contrast is carried through to the lobby too, where contemporary chairs from Vitra, Magis and Aper complement traditional wooden furniture. There’s also a new retail offer, affording guests the opportunity to take the Ekies aesthetic home with them, while the revamped pool area brings a bohemian spirit to the verdant landscaping.

And there’s more to come. Plans are afoot for two new villas, one is close to completion while the second will be ready in time for next season. It’s this commitment to renovation and resoration that keeps guests coming back for more, and sees the resort garner praise from across the industry; in 2017, Ekies won the award for Landscaping & Outdoor Spaces at AHEAD Europe, while this year it has reached the shortlist stage in multiple categories.

Owner: Alexandra Efstathiadou
Architecture and Interior Design: Agarch+ Architects
Landscaping: Fytron Landscape Design
Words: Eleanor Howard
Photography: © Nick Kontostavlakis / Globe & Trotter