Cave-like suites and a yoga studio with an arching bamboo roof feature inside this wellness hotel on the Greek island of Crete, which local hoteliers Danae and Konstantina Orfanake have perched on a rocky precipice above the sea.
Arco Suites is set on a cliffside in Crete’s Mononaftis bay
The complex accommodates 49 suites and villas in buildings constructed from locally sourced stone and wood, which were designed to blend into their surroundings along Crete’s Mononaftis bay.
Some of the stone was excavated directly on-site while the rest was sourced from Mount Ida, the highest mountain on the island.
The hotel overlooks the Aegean Sea
Each of the hotel’s suites has its own private saltwater pool with views of the Aegean Sea and interiors finished in a palette of natural materials.
This ranges from raw silk bed covers to furnishings custom-made by local artisans using marble from nearby Feistos.
The hotel’s Cave Suites are carved out of the cliffside
Some of the suites were carved directly out of the cliffside, with parts of the rockface left exposed around the pool terraces and throughout the interiors to preserve their cave-like feel.
The stone walls also help to maintain a pleasant temperature all year round, reducing the need for heating and air conditioning.
The hotel’s external stone walls were crafted by Cretan sculptors, as were the custom-made clay light fixtures in the Cave Suites.
A thatched roof covers the Circle Bar
Kipritidis worked closely with the Orfanake sisters on the design of the hotel’s Cremnos restaurant and the Circle cocktail bar.
Echoing the natural look of the suites, the restaurant is furnished with custom-made marble furniture, natural fabrics and copper and wood details.
The Circle bar features a ceiling made from Makuti – a type of East African thatching that consists of sun-dried coconut palm leaves.
This natural material provides shade and sways in the breeze, creating a relaxing atmosphere.
The spa area combines wooden joinery with rough stone surfaces
Utopia Hotel Design was brought in to help with the design of the in-house spa, which features an oval layout and smooth stone surfaces contrasted against roughly hewn walls and wooden doors.
The wellness area houses a Byzantine hammam, a Finnish sauna, two treatment rooms, an outdoor pool and a heated pool.
The spa contains an outdoor pool
The hotel’s Asana yoga studio is covered by an impressive arching roof that was custom made in Crete using wood and bamboo from Thailand.
The hotel’s yoga studio has an arching bamboo roof
A number of other design studios have explored the idea of embedding buildings into the rugged topography of the Greek islands.
KRAK Architects recently developed a concept for an underground house with an infinity pool on Crete’s south coast. And on Mykonos, Kyriakos Tsolakis Architects has blended a wellness hotel into the surrounding hillside using stones excavated on-site.
The photography is by Giorgos Sfakianakis.
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