MKV Design, the interior design studio that was a tasked to bring to life the first W Hotel in Greece, was inspired by natural materials when creating W Costa Navarino…
Located in the beautiful resort of Costa Navarino and on the beach of the historic Navarino Bay overlooking the Ionian Sea, W Costa Navarino is surrounded on land by olive and cypress groves. It is this intoxicating inheritance of nature’s wonders and ancient stories, together with centuries-old artisanal traditions that has been translated by the designers into a contemporary experience where luxury and informality meet. The resulting aesthetic feels pure and genuine; it also reflects the ‘free spirited’ ethos of the W culture.
The concept of the hotel, imaged by MKV Design, is an alliance of indoors and out in which the buildings are constructed from stone hewn from the site and, inside, all stone, timber and metals are from the region. Reception flows seamlessly from olive groves to a panorama of the sea with the continuum of cobbles underfoot and woven rope panels above, through which plants tumble. The colour palette emerges from the gentle green of the olive trees combined with bursts of bright colour in accessories and soft furnishings.
To one side of reception, the bar anchors library and lounge to form a contemporary and flexible space; the bar opens onto the sea vista while the library closes-down into a cosy, fire-lit space on chillier days. Furniture is modern and organic in style. Contoured forms reappear in the spa, combined with pure geometric lines. Openings in the walls provide sea views and allow sunlight to bathe the space; a custom-crafted artwork of twisted towels set in plaster makes an intriguing statement piece in the spa’s reception. Even the conference spaces enjoy connection with nature with views of the groves and indoor plantings to revive flagging spirits.
The conventional all-day dining restaurant has been fragmented into a collection of distinct F&B offerings. Each one is intentionally designed not to feel like a hotel restaurant but rather an easy-going venue in a Greek village square, each with its own aesthetic but all offering a seamless indoor/outdoor experience expressed through the continuity of materials, finishes and furniture.
The four venues – the Coffee Shop, the Bakery, the Deli and the Cookery – all showcase regional materials, authentic regional patterns and details of centuries-old craft traditions within a modern vernacular. Warm timber slats articulate the ceilings of the Coffee Shop and Deli, juxtaposed with the grey-green colour palette of the stone finishes and furniture. Artefacts are inspired by the ancient oil jars and pots of Greece, and, in the Deli, terracotta wall tiles draw on the typical designs of old tiles still to be found in local villages. Tables are hand-carved to show off the natural knots and joints of their timber. The design of Bakery also includes generous use of warm timber, here offsetting the mosaic of stone to the floor. Cookery features a huge theatre kitchen around which diners can sit to dine or enjoy lively cooking demonstrations. The craggy stone surround of the kitchen counter, washed with uplighting, glows invitingly as night falls outside.
However, singular as the interiors of the four destinations are, the exceptionalism of this unusual all-day dining option lies in the Platia where guests can sit wherever they wish, around tables, on sofas or in rocking chairs, and enjoy whatever cuisine they desire at that moment in time. In true Greek style, they can re-arrange the seating for friends who happen to pass by, they can shelter from the afternoon sun under modern pergolas and at night they can find quiet niches for candle-lit suppers. The square is designed as a room outside and, just as in the hotel’s interiors, the natural world beyond the resort is brought in with aromatic and trailing planting and fruit-bearing trees. The Platia is bordered by one of the resort’s pools and, beyond this, captivating views of beach and sea complete guests’ sense of place.
The 246 guestrooms are a journey from the olive and cypress groves to the vista of the sea. Approaching their door, guests experience a sensory awakening as cascading plants create a verdant and aromatic curtain that rustles in the breeze and casts ever-changing shadows on the corridor wall opposite. As the sun sets, this arrival experience takes on new magic.
Inside, the rooms flow seamlessly from the glazed bathroom to bedroom area and onto an indoor lounge before opening onto the terrace. The result is a sense of spaciousness, transparency and serenity – the guest’s own space between land and sea. The design is a testament to the skills of basket weaving, carpentry, rope-making, leatherworkers, and potters that still abound in the region today and includes subtle nods to the hotel’s coastal location.
Wooden headboards are intricately interwoven with white rope, sheer curtains sway in the sea breeze like sails on a boat and lamps are designed to resemble a fishing trap with a delicate rope weave that creates a play of light and shadow on the walls. The materiality of the room is simple and honest but elevated into something new and sometimes sculptural – blocks of wood, for example, are playfully translated into a console table and sisal cord becomes an organic surround to the vanity mirrors providing an eye-catching contrast to the rough-hewn stone walls of the bathrooms.
Further creative detail abounds. Room signage is crafted from pebble-shaped forms, linear B writing on pottery is a tribute to the ancient Greek civilisation that once flourished in the region and terracotta sculptures bring a touch of whimsy. The chestnut wood armchairs are a work of art in themselves, inviting guests to sink into their hand-stitched leather upholstery for an afternoon nap.
The ground level ‘Swim Up’ guestrooms open-up onto a terrace which steps down to the hotel’s main pool. Guestrooms above, on the first and second storeys of the hotel, offer large outdoor terraces with magnificent panoramic views, and two- and three-bedroom villas are located alongside the beach, each one with their own pool, garden and direct access to the beach.
Recognised for its pre-eminence in hotel interior design across Europe, and respected for its sensitive approach to hospitality interiors, MKV Design has injected character, peronality and timeless touches inside a hotel that will carry the W brand into a new design era.
> Since you’re here, why not read about this month’s hottest hotel openings?
Main image credit: John Athimaritis and Giorgos Sfakianakis