The Hotel is perched on an outcrop overlooking the ancient town of Pylos and the Bay of Navarino in the Peloponnese. There are 39 rooms within the main building of the hotel that also houses the reception, various lounge and terrace spaces, a pool, a spa, a restaurant and a bar. Scattered on the hillside beneath this building are an additional 12 rooms and 48 private villas each with their own garden and pool.
The architectural concept draws inspiration from the local agricultural tradition of the Mandria – dry stone animal shelters built by hand by the farmers working the land. These spontaneously constructed enclosures are built of stone found in the ground of the site and take a simple, straightforward form that follows the natural topography of the land, including or excluding any obstacles such as trees or large rocks that lie in their path. Naturally a hotel resort is a more complex building typology with more sophisticated requirements, but this land-led attitude to organic form-finding gave us our starting point.
The hotel design is a sequence of Mandria-inspired stone ribbon enclosures connected by cast concrete plates, clustered together according to the topography of the site, in a horizontal arrangement on the top of the hill. Cascading from this castle-like formation is the ‘village’ of private villas, all brought together by a densely aromatic and slightly wild landscape.
Taking a closer look, the proximity of the stone enclosures to one another creates interesting moments of in-between space that are key to the design of the hotel layout. The Mandria provide solid boundary lines that are then punctuated with carefully placed openings to frame views whilst maintaining privacy for private spaces such as the rooms and spa. The concrete slabs connect these stone boundaries horizontally and glazed thresholds blur them vertically by allowing continuous views from the entrance and reception across the lounge to the land beyond. Outside zinc-clad pergolas act like topographical exclamation marks, bridging the gap between internal and external space, providing shade and signaling key parts of the building such as the entrance and the pool terrace.
The architectural materiality comes from our effort to connect with the landscape and local materials. To give a sense of the resort having grown organically within the site we take our queue from the farmers and place the structures according to the lay of the land, building them with stone from within it. Internally the stone walls are treated with natural render; the concrete is left exposed and polished to showcase the purity of the construction of the slabs; and slender, anodized aluminium-framed glazing allows for uninterrupted views of the surrounding – and encroaching -landscape. An authentically verdant blend of olive and cypress, lavender and thyme surrounds, encroaches on and in places literally inhabits the building. This layer of green life overlaps and softens the built edges, tying the building down into the landscape and literally giving it roots.
The interior design concept aims to connect the complimentary conditions of near and far. The humble beauty of the surrounding landscape has inspired the form and materiality of the architecture and to this context we introduce a more refined and complex layer of finishes and decorations inspired by international travel. The overall impression is of a collection of discoveries that are arranged to achieve a balance of luxuriously soft depth and elegantly delicate details in each area, with a relaxed palette of natural tones that lift as you move from interior to exterior space, tying them together.