The Romanos, a Luxury Collection hotel designed by MKV Design, has opened to widespread acclaim. The hotel, together with the adjacent village, conference centre, golf and spa is the first completion in an audacious 20-year long vision to create Costa Navarino, a series of four resorts on nearly 2,500 acres of virgin land that wraps around the Ionian Sea in the Messinia region of the Peloponnese. The development that includes The Romanos is Navarino Dunes, named after the untouched dunes that fringe the long sunset-facing beach in this part of Navarino Bay.Lobby Entrance
For the designers, the initial canvas was rich. Messinia is one of the oldest parts of Greece, the land where legend and history merge and the sacred art of hospitality is enshrined in the stories of the region. The location was also very beautiful and, from the beginning, the owner was determined to preserve, celebrate and, indeed, enhance the natural environment.
The result is an intertwining of the provenance of the region with timeless architectural design and contemporary furniture and fittings not just in The Romanos but across all the buildings in the resort, creating layers of interlocking experiences that enfold the guest. At the same time, each building has been meticulously planned to ensure maximum delight and comfort for guests and a harmonious relationship with the exterior environment.
The entrance lobby of The Romanos is monumental – a modern interpretation of an ancient Greek temple that plays with scale and materials to frame the view towards the Ionian Sea for guests as they arrive as well as to act as an orientation device as they go on to explore the site. Its direct references come from the nearby Palace of Nestor, the king who embodied the spirit of true hospitality in the Odyssey, but its role in the resort is that of a transitional space. Having driven through carefully reinstated olive groves, now juxtaposed with the manicured greens of Greece’s first signature golf course, guests arrive in the “private mansion” of The Romanos where they can stop and discover the experience about to begin. The lobby is furnished with luxurious high-backed chairs and chaise-longue, the exquisite flooring replicates the mosaics of Nestor’s Palace and the neutral envelope of stone and traditionally exposed timber roof achieves a classic and dramatic structure. On each side, double-height bronze fretwork gates give onto the two wings of the low-rise hotel that curves around the coastline below. The interior forms of the corridors are almost monastic, reflecting the architecture of local villages and allowing the view to do the work.
Glazed Colonnade, Lounge Bar
The lounge bar extends from one side of the Lobby. Here, sculptural, classical Greek lines are combined with chic furniture pieces and graceful free-standing lamps, and natural local materials, such as timber, leather, bronze and stone, reiterate the commitment to sustainability. The Interior Designers carefully planned this large space as a sequence of experiences, allowing guests variety as well as protection from and exposure to the weather and location. On the sea-facing side, the Lounge Bar begins outside with a sunken terrace surrounded by one of the many small canals that traverse the site. A glazed colonnade flows alongside where a remarkable collection of 18th Century engravings tells the story of the great sea battle in Navarino Bay.
Sunken Terrace, Lounge Bar
The main space is situated behind this – an area of striking volume where the stone structure soars up to an exposed timber roof with an intimate “library” area at one end around an open fire and a turquoise glass mosaic bar at the other. During the day, beams of sunlight from small windows at the top of this structure criss-cross the room; at night, the bar shimmers in the lighting. A raised area with a lowered ceiling creates the next set with tables for board games and billiards, and finally another terrace affords views over the cluster of stone and timber buildings that form the village centre.