Fallen plasters, detached tiles, broken furniture, rusty irons, scalped walls due to the saltiness and a deserted beach that looked like a wasteland; that was how Xenia in Patmos looked like, in 2009. The former symbol of tourism development on the island, built in 1960 under the guidance of the architect Miltos Dallas, was completely left to its fate after 1990. Without the necessary maintenance or any form of renovation, its gradual decline, which had already begun in the ‘80’s, finally led to a definitive pause of operations in 1999. Since then, even though it was privately sold twice, the hotel remained closed. Patmos Island, apart from the available rooms and the income they involved, also suffered the loss of approximately thirty employment positions, both permanent and seasonal.
In 2009, the group «Divine Hotels» initiated the revival of the Xenia and at the same time, the overall upgrading of Grikos area. The aim was to transform an abandoned, third category, two-storey hotel into a contemporary five-star accommodation that would be in total harmony with the natural environment and would give Patmos a dynamic position in the latest map of tourism. Naturally, the initial building could not meet the expectations of a luxury hotel. Even though the specific Xenia was nothing like the constructions of modernism that were built during the same period by Aris Konstantinidis, the unprocessed seafront area was preserved and further interventions were made.In fact, constructions beyond restoration and re-construction of the building, involved the addition of a two-storey block at the back of the site.
Patmos Island was, according to Babis Ioannou - one of the project’s architects, what defined the concept for the construction of the new building. Specifically, there were three characteristics on the island that influenced the design of «Patmos Aktis Suites & Spa»: an indisputable Greek character, since Patmos is located in the Aegean, an oriental tradition, with the Island being geographically very close to the eastern world and a widespread religiousness, arising from the existence of the Monastery. Architecturally, the Island’s Greek identity was primarily captured with the white of the quicklime, a dominant color in the hotel’s areas, allowing the natural light to continuously express its proportions. Moreover, the extended use of stone truly creates the impression of walking in the alleys of Chora, as you listen to the northern wind blowing.
The influence of the customs of oriental tradition and architecture is obvious when you notice the high walls, separating private from public areas. For instance, in the reception’s entrance, the tall stony wall does not allow you to see the charming garden and the water running from inside, creating a feeling of surprise. What is significant throughout the whole architectural composition is the presence of intricate dividers on the tall walls or «klostra», directly referring to similar Egyptian constructions. «Klostra», enable residents to look outward, participating in the hotel's «public life» while at the same time, concealing their own privacy. Just as it happens with Egyptian women. This particular firmness of the eastern moral ideals is associated with the religiosity that arises from the monastery and explains the almost monastic, due to austerity, formation of the entire hotel complex.
Today, after five years of operation, the old Xenia skeleton and the discredited bay of Grikos have been transformed into a unique traveler's destination. Along with them, Patmos Island not only regained its previous glamour but also enriched its economy. The creation of almost sixty permanent seasonal jobs, the arrival of 4,000 visitors on average a year and the gastronomical evolution of the area through «Apocalypsis» restaurant, have significantly contributed to the local economy. At the same time, the continuous support of all great festivals on the Patmos Island, such as the IFFP (International Film Festival of Patmos) or the festival of «Taste and tradition», the kind hosting of dozens of cultural events, from book presentations to theatrical performances as well as the undivided support towards all cultural associations of the island have turned «Patmos Aktis Suites & Spa» hotel into a cultural core at the tip of the Aegean. In practice, the Xenia project does not only revive the settlement of Grikos. It constitutes a compass of standard and sustainable development for the entire Island of Patmos.
ARC MASTROMINAS ELIAS AND PARTNERS
GREENWAYS XANIKIAN - SKORDILIS
ARC ELIAS MASTROMINAS & ASSOCIATES
Construction period: 2009
Start of operation:2011