Acclaimed boutique hotel, Grace Santorini, re-opened in May after a complete renovation by Fifth Element Interiors London and SMK Interiors Greece.
Its minimalist whitewashed rooms have been reimagined, with considered additions that remain true to the hotel’s Hellenic heritage.
The 21-room hotel is carved into the cliff-face 300m above Santorini’s volcanic caldera. Award-winning architecture practices Divercity and Mplusm, known for their ability to handle challenging briefs in a variety of locations and contexts, were responsible for the original development of the hotel, completed in 2008.
In 2010 they were tasked with the addition of The Villa, a 400m² luxury residence complete with its own Volcanic Spa, completed in 2012.
Today, the hotel provides a contemporary interpretation of vernacular architecture, employing economy of space and simplicity. The infinity pool’s jagged outline echoes the zigzag paths that cross Santorini’s sheer terrain.
“Our challenge was to preserve the original use of white and avoid cold minimalism, ensuring a balance that reveals an unmistakable sense of luxury and understated beauty,” says Christina Logothetis and Staci Perkins-Surla, Founders of Fifth Element.
“By subtly introducing a new colour palette with furnishings, fixtures and fittings exuding the highest standards of quality, we aimed to set standards on the global stage.”
The refurbished rooms and suites, whilst maintaining the Grace hallmark of elegance and simplicity, have a contemporary style, combining cutting edge and bespoke design alongside traditional handcrafted pieces.
Inspired by the island’s ‘yposkafa’ cave-like dwellings, the hotel has rounded walls and domed roofs excavated from the rock-face. All-white interiors with brushed concrete floors reiterate the trademark whitewashed houses of the Cyclades.
Accents in turquoise, aubergine or navy are featured in some rooms, a colour palette synonymous with Santorini and the Mediterranean. Traditional Aegean walnut was used for the design, as opposed to non-indigenous wood like teak and driftwood found in other island properties.
Products from the local region complement the interiors and include handmade walnut desks with Vibeffe 9500 Marble and walnut coffee tables. Wardrobes with solid walnut interiors include an innovative in-room bar which will offer a cocktail-making kit for guests.
The luxurious bathrooms offer double vanity units with basins hand carved from solid Greek Statuario marble and spacious rain showers with mosaic feature walls.
The sofas are handmade in Greece and upholstered in C & C Milano fabrics along with handmade throws and rugs especially hand-dyed for Grace Santorini. Rooms are complete with a curated collection of accessories, including pieces from the Cycladic Museum and Greek artisanal marble bowls.
Further details include marble accessories and brass book ends based on traditional Greek design from Two is Company.
The hotel has an impressive F&B offering, too. Its restaurant, Santoro, offers dining inside or al fresco on the open terrace alongside Grace Santorini’s iconic infinity pool.
The newly designed restaurant is lighter and more sophisticated than its previous incarnation. A white feature wall has been created with Greek triangular scalloped design. This is punctuated by iconic black ‘Here
Comes the Sun’ pendant lanterns, originally designed by architect Bertrand Balas in 1970. Reminiscent of the light at sunrise and sunset, the rounded lamps are made from satin aluminium and anodized copper.
The angular design of the windows echoes the zigzag paths that cross the island. Discreet built-in banquettes allow guests to enjoy the view in privacy, while niches in the wall display porcelain bottles, pods and teardrops by acclaimed ceramicist Sophie Cook.
The hotel’s new Champagne Lounge provides breath-taking views of the Caldera, offering the ideal vantage point to witness the dramatic changing hues of the legendary Santorini sunset, facing the awe-inspiring immensity of the panorama from its vast floating terrace.
Inside, a feature wall is made of lava rock from Santorini using local architectural techniques, with mirror behind it to reflect the light. A fully lit honey onyx bar with brass shelves provides a dramatic statement foil to the dark volcanic stone. The bar is furnished with Emperador marble coffee tables, and barstools and armchairs handmade in Greece upholstered in C & C Milano fabrics.
A curated collection of modern art is showcased in the Champagne Lounge from the renowned RARITY GALLERY, the first Greek gallery to exhibit the works of internationally acknowledged contemporary artists.
Last, but not least, the new yoga and Pilates studio allows guests to take in the breath-taking panoramic views whilst enjoying their classes.
The interiors are white and calm with walnut and plenty of mirrors to allow the light to reflect back into the room and accentuate the effect of the scenic surroundings.
The space is complete with Reformer Pilates machine and cutting edge Technogym fitness equipment.
Two new suites with private plunge pools and terraces, and a new full service spa will open in 2017.