In order to build the Dexamenes Seaside Hotel, an extensive transformation was not necessary in terms of construction — considering the existing cluster of 1920s wine tanks were already in existence. Respecting the integrity of the buildings’ industrial heritage was simple in the conversion into a beachfront retreat: reuse and repurpose existing site materials where needed, make new interventions with local materials, and keep most of the structure as is. Despite its remote location, Dexamenes has become a cultural touchstone for the area: with unique and immersive art and design experiences, wine tasting performances, sound healing events, and other singular activities.
The venue itself was repurposed and most materials were upcycled, including blocks of concrete reused as steppingstones, coffee tables, and chairs; reclaimed bricks were used to create the floor of the restaurant and courtyard; and old water pipelines exist as handrails.
The hotel upcycled building waste into furniture, floors, and handrails. They have a program of counting water that is consumed and chose to landscape the area with local plants that need minimal watering.
The hotel produces almost 90% of their electrical energy needs in-house.
The hotel collaborates closely with local farmers, promoting products from within the region: a feat which lies at the heart of their gastronomic identity.
The hotel’s values are centered around cultural connection. Guests can partake in unique experiences blending viticulture with art, like wine tasting performances and immersive art and design events.
Alternative wellness treatments are available that do not guzzle energy like typical spa facilities. This includes sound bath healing events in an open-air courtyard tank room, along with wine tastings, cooking workshops, and performances, art installations, and exhibitions.
Sustainable means of transport are on offer with electric cars and vans. The hotel is spread out horizontally across one story, making all areas accessible for those with mobility issues.
Dexamenes operates with a small team where respecting each other is paramount and instinctive. Staff are educated consistently on sustainability matters.
We spoke with Nikos Karaflos, the owner and general manager of Dexamenes, to find out where the hotel is at on its conscious journey.
To reduce, recycle, and respect. Dexamenes is an upcycling case in itself: postwar wine tanks converted into a meaningful hotel. We reclaimed materials from the site in many elements of the design, from bricks and concrete to old water pipelines and furniture. During this process, we applied some bioclimatic principles—such as our lake that cools the area, and planting local grape varieties that will gradually make their contribution to the microclimate and productivity of the hotel. In addition, the energy consumed for the air conditioning is also used to heat the water used by the guests.
The local community is a part of our DNA. Almost all our staff are locals, we collaborate with conscious local farmers and buy their produce, and we like experimenting with our cultural surroundings to combine local traditions with contemporary art or mindful experiences.
Sustainability can be achieved with two categories of measures: firstly, through technical solutions and infrastructure. The issue is the budget needed and the changes that should be applied on existing buildings. The solution here is a long-term plan based on a strategy, and applying changes step by step. Secondly, and importantly, the hardest issue is changing the mindset of people visiting or working at hotels. It is a matter of personal habits that should change and this can be achieved through education and talking. We apply it with our staff and our staff become the educators of our guests.