Without question, Ekies All Senses Resort is a testament to the determined efforts of Alexandra Efstathiadou and the inspired vision of Vagelis Liakos. 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 ...
“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. [So the four architects hired] were all Greek, but they represented different ages, different visions, different views of the country.”
... dilapidated piece of property and a childhood dream. As a little girl, Alexandra spent her summer vacations at Porto Capis, a hotel on Halkidiki far from the crowded tourist spots near Athens and the Cyclades. That rather plain, unadorned property in a heavenly setting—green pines and olive trees, wooded slopes and crystal blue waters—was so filled with happy memories and beautiful panoramas that it etched itself into her soul.
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.
“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. Little did she know it at the time, but she was echoing what would be the exact sentiments of designer Vagelis Liakos, who very soon found himself immersed in Alexandra’s project—and life.
Each year when the resort closed in winter, she’d suggest more and more changes. Eventually she brought in four architects (one of them being Vagelis of course) 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 roaming barefoot and lounging on hammocks and oversized couches in the public areas. It took eleven 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.