|Hotels, Architecture, Design, Interior Design
|25 suites & 2 villas
After a pandemic-induced year-long travel moratorium, there’s something deeply liberating and reassuringly gratifying about stepping into a brand new hotel that has just opened its doors, especially if it’s located on one of the most beautiful and cosmopolitan islands in the Mediterranean. Kalesma Mykonos, which fittingly translates as ‘invitation’ in Greek, does exactly that, inviting discerning holiday-seeking travellers to a tranquil, sun-drenched, luxury retreat of laid-back sophistication and Cycladic charm where they can rebalance their minds and reset their bodies.
Comprising 25 luxury suites and two larger villas, the five-star boutique hotel was designed by Athens-based architecture practice K-Studio and interior designer Vangelis Bonios, founder of Studio Bonarchi, as an authentic yet exclusive Mykonian neighbourhood. Perched atop the Aleomandra cape on the southwest of the island, Kalesma combines all the amenities you’d expect from a luxury resort, from private pools and fine dining, through to wellness treatments, with a languorous, indoor/outdoor lifestyle and a picturesque setting, complete with expansive views of the Aegean Sea.
Built on a ridge, the hotel is uniquely positioned to enjoy views of both the sunrise to the east, and the sun setting over Delos Island to the west. Taking advantage of the property’s privileged location, K-Studio has thoughtfully placed the social areas at the uppermost part of the site to allow all guests to enjoy panoramic views as they sunbathe by the pool, dine on the terrace or relax around the fire pit at the centre of “Aloni”, a repurposed threshing floor, once used for grinding wheat now used as an outdoor lounge. Lower down the slope, the suites and villas are conceived as secluded retreats, providing spacious accommodation along with private pools and patios, outdoor showers and freestanding bathtubs.
But what makes Kalesma Mykonos stand out from the island’s numerous luxury hotels is its forthright, open-eyed embrace of Mykonos’ soulful Cycladic heritage. The design team has drawn from the island’s vernacular not just in terms of architectural tropes such as whitewashed volumes and timber pergolas but also in terms of its humble complexity, sculptural sensibility and communal dimension: the hotel unfolds around a central square as a series of interlocking whitewashed volumes, taking the form, in other words, of a typical Cycladic village.
Filtered through a lens of contemporary minimalism, the hotel’s cubic forms, smooth-edged corners, gently rounded openings and latticed walls constitute a sculptural composition whose traditional simplicity immerses guests into a relaxing environment. By eschewing the typical blue-painted windows and doors for slim black frames, doing away with the whitewashed outlines traditionally applied to the paving stones, and introducing handcrafted furnishings that blend tradition with modernity, the team has seamlessly integrated the local vernacular with a refined aesthetic of timeless sophistication.
The artful amalgamation of vernacular and contemporary elements that characterises the hotel’s exterior can also be experienced in the interior. Underpinned by the sculptural geometries of typical Cycladic houses, the interiors echo the rugged Mykonian landscape through a stripped down, monastic aesthetic of clean lines, an austere décor, and a palette of natural materials and earthy hues. Whitewashed walls juxtaposed with darker surfaces like the sandblasted stone floors and chestnut roof beams create a subdued backdrop, while bamboo reed ceilings, brushed wood furnishings, stonewashed linen fabrics and brass details add texture.
Interior designer Vangelis Bonios has enhanced the vernacular-meets-minimalist aesthetic with numerous bespoke hand-crafted furniture pieces, from mid-century-inspired oak and rattan armchairs, to rustic consoles and sculptural black lava stone coffee tables, which are seamlessly mixed with contemporary designs of modernist elegance from designers such as Rick Owens and Apparatus Studio. In addition to a layout that blurs the line between interior and exterior, Kalesma is imbued with a laid-back glamour that feels both authentic and aspirational.