said the great naturalist John Muir on the divine interconnectedness of nature. It’s a refrain you will find mirrored at our new property Pnoēs Tinos on the Greek island Tinos, a wonderland of natural beauty. The three-villa property, which is just about to open its doors, connects to its surroundings and history in unique and compelling ways.
Aristides Dallas, the man behind Pnoēs and a part-time Tinos resident, works closely with local artisans who bring the flavors and history of the island to the hotel through smell, taste, and sight. Dallas says that “until the previous century, Tinos was intensively cultivated for barley and wheat…hence the peculiar, terraced landscape all over the island. After the harvest, the ears were gathered in special round stone basins—remainders of which can still be seen all around.” Either animals, such as horses and donkeys, or the wind helped separate the grains from the husks, and then the grains were sent off to the mills.
At once a place for nourishment, pleasure, community, and sustainable practices, the lush gardens at Pnoēs have several sections, such as the fruit trees that tempt you with their plump juicy yield while also providing shade for the terraces; a Mediterranean herb section that infuses the air with delicious scents and gives the garden-to-table dishes a je-ne-sais-quoi edge; a tea garden with flowers for infusions, and of course, a vegetable garden.
To load the soil with the best nutrients and create a habitat for insects, bushes often considered weeds on the island are left to flourish. Three worm “hotels” are fed with paper and compost, in turn benefitting the earth. Here, plants are arranged according to the principles of polyculture, meaning placing plants according to their synergies in a mutually beneficial relationship. Using the wisdom of native Americans, a corn circle offers support for the beans while pumpkins and melons cover the soil with their big leaves preventing it from overheating and drying out.
Mindful of sustainably sourcing its fish, the hotel has partnered with small-scale fishermen who know how to harvest from the seas while respecting the marine ecosystem. The fish tavernas and restaurants that the hotel staff suggest to the guests are at the forefront of this “local and sustainable” philosophy, with some of the restaurant owners being fisherman themselves, serving what they caught the same morning. Coming up midsummer, one can expect sardines, red mullet, and sea bream on the menus.
Beekeeping is an ancient tradition in the Cyclades, especially in Tinos. In fact, modern beekeeping is based on a treaty written in the 18th century by the Bishop of Syros from a neighboring island. One can still find ancient, rudimentary “beehives” carved out of stones in the terraced landscape of the island. Today, Tinian honey mostly comes from thyme, one of the main plants growing in the wild dry landscape of the island, which gives the honey a light amber color and mellow taste with distinct aromatic and balsamic notes.
Videos courtesy Advertising Agency Teramok, Athens
*Please note that the hotel is currently only serving breakfast and will unveil its restaurant soon.