A successful, yet extremely busy career as an investment banker led Marina Efraimoglou, Euphoria Retreat’s owner, to Chinese medicine, and more specifically to The Five Elements theory that underpins the resort’s offering today.
After a decade-long search for the perfect location, Marina felt an affinity with the tranquility and cultural significance of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mystras. Having settled on the site, Marina enlisted the help of Natalia Efraimoglou & Partners – her sister’s architectural practice – as well as Athenian firm, Deca Architecture, to realise her vision.
The retreat’s philosophy and architecture have a deeply symbotic relationship, from the sunken spa, which reflects the belief that proximity to the earth promotes healing, to the prominent use of spheres and interplay of light and shade throughout the property.
Classical Byzantine artwork provided a key source of inspiration for the property’s interiors, while the colour palette is characteristic of the region’s rich iconography. Domes and arches provide elegant curves, blending with a palette of soothing yellows and golds.
At the centre of the resort’s offering is its remarkable spa. Built into the mountainside, so that it is quite literally at one with nature, it spans four levels that each represent a distinct passage in the guests’ wellness journey. At its core is an empty 25m-deep water well, encircled by a spiral staircase that joins up the four different levels.
“As guests enter the soothing reception area, complete with its Byanztine-style domes and curved walls, the feel and temperature immediately shifts”
The first floor is the spa’s entry point. As guests enter the soothing reception area, complete with its Byanztine-style domes and curved walls, the feel and temperature immediately shifts.
The second level is dominated by the spa’s innovative signature Sphere Pool. Inspired by the immense dome of The Hagia Sophia in Instanbul, the sphere is half-filled with water, so that it is waist deep at its outer rim and deep enough to allow full submersion at its centre. Guest can glide within it’s womb-like form to the soothing sounds of music, dolphins and whales, or experience a gentle massage from the hydrotherapy jets positioned on the walls.
The Pool Relaxation Area provides space for further peace and rejuvenation. In keeping with the geometrical symbolism visible throughout the spa, the space features a skylight and a striking circular table at its heart. Views over the property’s landscaped gardens, and the valley of orange and lemon groves, aid its peaceful ambience.
Also situated on this floor is a marble-covered Tepidarium, a striking Byzantine Hammam, circular Finnish Sauna, Steam Room, Experiential Showers, Cold Plunge Pool, Speleotherapy-Salt Room, Watsu Pool, Treatment Relaxation Area, an Ice Fountain and a Sanctuary Deprivation Pool.
The third floor holds 15 treatment rooms – two of them doubles – that are designed to optimise guests’ experience of the many treatments on offer, while the fourth floor is home to two yoga/ meditation rooms.
Supporting the diverse and condisered spa offering, the resort’s restaurant, Gaia, serves up a menu of wholesome, locally-sourced dishes. Wooden monastic tables and bespoke lighting encourages guests to feel part of the resort community and interact with one another, while an inner courtyard and a paved terrace with views over the village provide an attractive al fresco seating option.
45 rooms and suites complete the resort’s offering, complete with spectacular views of either the Castle and the village, or Euphoria Retreat’s private forest.
The design team have opted for a minimalistic approach within the guest accommodation, with a sophisticated palette of warm tones. Sumptuous textiles, inspired by the iconography of Byzantine Empire, have been exclusively designed for the Retreat.
Each guest room is fully-equipped with the latest technology, including subtle lighting, bio climatisation, underfloor heating, and home automation systems. Each room has its own distinctive character, respecting the zen and calming atmosphere of the place, featuring wooden furniture, marble bathrooms and an intelligent layout for complete relaxation.