On the eastern side of Greece’s greenest island, Zakynthos lies a dreamy haven that blends key aspects of Mediterranean architecture with a dash of tropical modernism. Perched organically on the hill in Tsilivi and merging with the emerald colours of the lush natural landscape, the Olea All Suite Hotel (a member of Design Hotelsª) is a contemporary, peaceful retreat that taps into an ever-present water element.
The tranquil, beating heart of the hotel is a 4000m2 man-made lake encasing the minimally-designed luxury suites that have developed naturally around it. The calming, transforming power of the water that flows freely through the veins of the Olea All Suite Hotel cannot be understated. The almost complete absence of boundaries between the resort’s suites and its communal spaces cultivates a unique sense of freedom resembling the deep state of relaxation one feels when floating.
ÃThe idea was to introduce a resort that embraces everything that makes this island so wonderful, but in a contemporary way. From its warm-hearted people and the unique ingredients of local cuisineÃto the lush vegetation and the majestic beaches, Zakynthos has just so many meaningful experiences to offer. Olea utilises all the above and adds a bit of magic through modern, minimal design and an ever-present element of water,Ã says Venia Xenou, on behalf of the Xenos Hotels Group.
The Athens and Stockholm-based architecture practice Block722architects+ is responsible for Olea’s design and concept. They worked closely with the existing vegetationÃincluding the venerable olive trees that have been gracing this plot of land for centuries. Using natural techniques and materials (like rustic oak wood, bamboo, and rattan), they redefined the physical environment while emphasising the autonomy of each suite unit, with the result resembling a luxurious, tropical island settlement. ÃThe most important thing to us was how the guests would experience their surroundings,Ã says Katja Margaritoglou, co-founder and interior designer for the firm. ÃThe design brings people in sync with nature and its elements, connecting the indoors with the outdoors in a seamless way that helps them unwind and explore the resort in its entirety.Ã
In addition to the mindfulness and relaxation aspects, Olea All Suite Hotel emphasises wellness. Guests can be rejuvenated at the Royal Spa & Relaxation area (with special aromatic and essential oils therapies using Mediterranean herbs), train at the fully equipped gym, pamper themselves at the beauty salon and unwind at the yoga pavilion. Of course, if they prefer, they can also swim or float in the all-encompassing lake-like pool.
Around this ÃlakeÃ, natural meeting points are formed. Lounges are protected from the sun by the cooling shadows of pergolas and the carob and Judas trees that surround them. At the same time, guests can have their taste buds regaled by various culinary delights, which tap into Greek and Mediterranean flavours with a creative spin. Last but not least, at the Cocoon Bar (strategically positioned so that the rays of the setting sun envelop every inch of the premises), one can find an exclusive menu of signature cocktails that includes drinks infused with local herbs.