Located among olive groves on a hillside on the Greek island of Zakynthos, famous landmarks include the Navagio beach, a cove on the northwest shore isolated by high cliffs and accessible only by boat with numerous natural “blue caves” are cut into cliffs. The new Olea All Suite Hotel appears to have organically grown out of the landscape. Designed by Athens and Stockholm-based architectural practice BLOCK722, the five star retreat was conceived as a pristine sanctuary of earth and water in dialogue with the surrounding nature, where guests can enjoy the comforts of understated luxury in a setting of modernist elegance and tropical sensibility.
At the centre of the development is a lake-like pool organically following the hillside morphology in a tiered configuration, around which the hotel’s suites and communal facilities unfold. The seamless integration of guest suites and communal spaces cultivates, as the architects explain, “a unique sense of freedom and mindfulness resembling the deep state of relaxation one feels when floating”.
Architecturally, the resort combines the purity of modernism, exemplified by stark cubist volumes, with a tropical f not African aesthetic of thatched roofing, coloured-washed walls and bamboo screens. The selection of earth-toned colours, materials and textures, interwoven with hidden gardens and age-old olive trees, evocatively reflects the surrounding nature while the ubiquitous water elements throughout the resort in the form of pools, ponds and streams conjure the Ionian Sea that looms in the horizon.
The earth-toned colour palette is also prevalent in the resort’s interior design which eschews decorative flourishes in favour of a minimalist sensibility refined by the textural richness of natural materials such as oak wood, bamboo and rattan as well as pockets of vegetation.
Photos by Claus Brechenmacher-Reiner Baumann Photography.