“A postwar winery has been transformed into a barefoot luxury resort on one of the most unspoiled stretches of coastline in the western Peloponnese. Situated on Kourouta beach near the town of Amaliada, the hotel is an ideal outpost for sun-seeking and exploring the regions offerings, which includes an abundance of wineries.” Dexamenes Seaside Hotel
The wine factory, abandoned since the 1920s, dates back to the “Era of Currants”. Currants were the main export product of the 1830s post liberation Greek Kingdom. The spread of phylloxera that struck the French vineyards in October 1879 contributed to the great opening of Greek raisins to the French markets. The Greek agricultural production was adjusted to the increased demand, and ships full of raisins left the Peloponnesian harbours for the major overseas markets.
But when the trade of currants collapsed in 1910, there was the need to convert the unsold stock of currants into alternative products, such as wine.
The first wineries and distilleries were created and some, like the Dexamenes, were built literally on the sea, so that the ships could be loaded with wine via pipes and then set sail for the major overseas markets.
“Engaging the past with the present. Respecting materials and history of the existing abandoned factory.” Dexamenes Seaside Hotel
“The derelict, industrial structures… left relatively untouched since the 1920’s, sit quietly on a site that literally dips its toes in the water of one of the most unspoiled and beautiful stretches of coastline in the western Peloponnese. It is a naturally ideal location for a hotel.” says K-studio Architects, who were engaged by the Nikos Karaflos, the visionary entrepreneur-turned-hotelier several years ago with an idea to transform an abandoned wine factory on the west coast of mainland Greece, into a hotel. After a long process of design, development and bureaucracy, his dedication to the management of the project is paying off, as Phase 1 is complete and the Dexamenes Seaside Hotel is open.
The existing buildings strong character was core to the design strategy, to delicately showcase the strong history and raw beauty of the industrial structure and breathe new life into their walls. The designers challenged themselves to compliment their brutality with elegant interventions and so transform their austere functionality into a place of calm, comfort and relaxation.
“We needed to play on the bare aesthetic of the site, work with it and avoid introducing any elements or materials alien to it. This realisation helped to define our palette of concrete, steel and engineered glass, with the addition of timber as a nod to the nautical connection of the site to the sea. But it was also clear that new construction should tread lightly and leave the existing buildings relatively untouched to retain their strong presence. The key to the design of the hotel was to contrast and balance out the old and new by using an industrial palette in an elegant way.”
Today you can choose to stay in a range of different wine tank room options, and in the future, complimentary development of a bar-lounge, a taverna, a history room, and a boutique “Bakaliko” store selling local produce will all bring the location to the forefront.
According to the hotel website, guests are welcomed into a comfortable 30sqm room of carefully organised and beautifully detailed space, designed to sit within the exposed concrete walls of the tank without inhibiting their unique texture and patina. Each room features a Cocomat double bed adjacent to a single bed that can also act as a sofa, an open wardrobe and storage area and a bathroom separated by a wall of textured glass that allows light from the window to reach the back of the tank. A huge double shower and separated WC bring a sense of luxurious comfort to the minimal, pared-down interior. Many of the wine tanks also boast a private patio under a canopy, while Taking guests from this post-industrial concrete landscape to the sands of Kourouta beach is a wide promenade that seems to float above the sand.
Phase 1 of Dexamenes Seaside Hotel has seen the transformation of just 8 of the 40 tanks within the first of the 2 existing concrete blocks. Phase 2, planned for 2019, will continue to transform the first block to provide more rooms and facilities, with plans to introduce a lush vine-garden, a taverna, a boutique selling local produce, and a history room that will connect visitors to the story of the site.
Images courtesy of k-studio. Photography by Claus Brechenmacher & Reiner Bauman.