Without question, Ekies All Senses Resort is a testament to the determined efforts of Alexandra Efstathiadou. But before this premier boutique hotel in Halkidiki, a large peninsula in the northwestern Aegean Sea, became the showcase of nature and modern design that it is today, it was just a dilapidated piece of property and a childhood dream.
Years later, when she saw the place in ruins, Alexandra knew she had to do something about it. So she talked to her dad. Alexandra’s father, Jannis, who owns Nestos, a Greek canning company specializing in upscale garden vegetables, loved the area too, so he bought the old building, figuring he’d turn the place into a sprawling summerhouse for the family and rent the extra rooms to guests. “My father wanted to clean the place up but leave it the way it had been—just an ordinary hotel,” she recalls. But because she always had a secret passion for design and architecture, she just couldn’t agree to go in that direction. She envisioned a boutique hotel that emphasized its natural surroundings while showcasing contemporary Greece through design, fabrics, and colors. The family of Alexandra Efstathiadou’s mother co-owns Coco Mat, a leader for natural sleep products, bed linen, towels, and furniture, which are used throughout the hotel.
“I wanted to display Greek culture but in a modern way. I wanted to create a new way for people to look at the country,” she says. "It would still be a Greek hotel, but it would also be minimalist, modern, and eco-friendly."
Each year when the resort closed in winter, she’d suggest more and more changes. Eventually she brought in four architects to redesign the three buildings and the outdoor areas. “They were all Greek, but they represented different ages, different visions, different views of the country,” she says. The hotel would be known as a barefoot luxury resort—a place where guests feel comfortable lounging on hammocks and oversized couches in the public areas. It took 11 years, but finally the hotel has become the place Alexandra envisioned—an extraordinary hotel in an extraordinary setting. “It is a place filled with love,” she says.