Grace Santorini reopened for the summer season in May 2016 with a fresh new design following a complete renovation to enhance the iconic luxury boutique hotel.
The renovation consultancy and interior design was handled by Fifth Element Interiors London and SMK Interiors Greece. The plans for Grace Santorini involved adding to the beauty of the interiors that had been the subject of consistent critical acclaim since it opened, reimagining the minimalist whitewashed rooms whilst delivering something authentic and true to its Hellenic heritage.
Innovative design, a new Champagne Lounge and dedicated yoga and Pilates studio provides guests with a significantly upgraded experience, whilst retaining the intimacy it has become synonymous with.
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 400 sq m luxury residence complete with its own Volcanic Spa, completed in 2012.
The understated design allows the extraordinary landscape to take centre stage. 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.
Founders of Fifth Element, Christina Logothetis and Staci Perkins-Surla, comment: “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. 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.”
Rooms & Suites
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.
The objective was to maximise the ability to enjoy the view and the space outside. Grace Santorini’s hotel rooms all have a frontal orientation to make the most of the panoramic views. Every single room allows you to have breakfast outside, 19 of the 21 rooms include plunge pools and the largest rooms have round day beds with retractable canopies.
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.
Elements of local materials and architectural techniques can be found throughout the hotel. This is exemplified by the feature of volcanic rock fragments that are positioned in the windows of four rooms, interspersed with apertures that provide glimpses to the sea. This echoes a local architectural technique in which minimal amounts of mortar are used, leaving gaps between the stonework creating a light-filtering screen that allows privacy, ventilation and casts dappled shadows as the sun goes down.
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. 40% of the world’s walnut produced in the Peloponnese.
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.