Weekend

Hotel Aristide, Hermoupolis, Syros, Greece

12. Juni 2020

Still under construction in some public areas, but this will be the next hot spot to visit…

Doors have real keys

Housed in a restored mansion in the historical centre of Hermoupolis, the Aristide combines old-world elegance and contemporary design. The building, with its dramatic marble staircase and Doric columns, is an architectural gem showcasing Greek Neoclassical and Art Deco styles. It was restored by the owners as though their home, and so, from common areas to private bathrooms, guests can enjoy the spaciousness of a grand mansion together with celebrated interior design pieces and a private art collection.

In addition to the nine suites, the mansion hosts an art gallery, an artists’ residence and workshop, and two bars. Guests can choose between the garden bar, where they can sip a cocktail in the shade of trees, or the rooftop bar with its open sea views. The hotel is in the aristocratic Vaporia neighbourhood, once the home of shipowners and industrialists. The beach is an eight-minute walk away, as is the town centre and the imposing main square of Hermoupolis.

Hotels often end up feeling impersonal and unloved, and which way a building is headed is decided very early on in the restoration. Luxurious furnishings cannot compensate for PVC windows, or for having broken up the harmony of a space with wall boxes. The Aristide has every modern comfort (smart home technology, integrated air-conditioning and heating, soundproofed plumbing, energy-efficient cladding), but the technology was adapted to the house rather than inflicted on it. Doors have real keys, what looks like wood or stone really is wood or stone, and fake ceilings and walls were considered problems rather than solutions. The guiding philosophy of the restoration was that materials, textures and colours of the house be real, each of them chosen to be enjoyed rather than to withstand. All suites have air-conditioning and heating, wifi, amenities, dimmable lights, the possibility of black-out, soundproofing, under-bed night lights, rain showers, king-size or super-king size beds, solid oak flooring and doors, and speakers that guests can connect to with their personal devices. Almost all suites have five meter high ceilings, sea views, balconies or terraces, and private plunge pools or stone bath tubs. All suites are for one or two guests. Due to the architecture of this historical building and for reasons of safety, the hotel can unfortunately not accommodate children under 12 years of age. Because of the imposing white staircase that meets visitors, marble was always going to be at the heart of the hotel. Often used just to signal opulence, with its character lost amidst the bling, at the Aristide the marble has been incorporated in contemporary pieces of furniture for a fresh and uncluttered design. Guests will come across nine types of local marble, and discover the wide range of colours, textures and translucences of this quintessentially Greek material.

Images: Alexandros Petrakis of Inbulb

hotelaristide.com

© 2020 Robert’s