On the eastern side of Greece’s greenest island, Zakynthos, lies a dreamy, adults-friendly haven that blends key aspects of Mediterranean architecture with a dash of tropical modernism. Perched organically on the hill in Tsilivi, sheltered from the winds and merging with the emerald colors of the lush natural landscape, the Olea All Suite Hotel is a contemporary, peaceful retreat; a design-led sanctuary that taps into the ever-present element of water.

At the center of it all, functioning as the tranquil heart of the hotel is a 4000 sq.m man-made lake with suites and hotel facilities developing naturally around it. The calming, transforming power of water flowing freely through the veins of the Olea All Suite Hotel cannot be understated. The complete absence of boundaries between the resort’s suites and the communal spaces cultivates a unique sense of freedom and mindfulness resembling the deep state of relaxation one feels when floating.

“The idea was to introduce a resort that embraces everything that makes this island so wonderful, but in a contemporary way. From its warm-hearted people and the unique ingredients of local cuisine, to the lush vegetation and the majestic beaches, Zakynthos has just so many meaningful experiences to offer a traveler. Olea utilises all the above and adds more magic through modern, clean design and an ever- present element of water”, says Venia Xenou on behalf of the Xenos Hotel Group that is behind this project.

The Athens-based architecture practice Block722architects+ is responsible for Olea’s design and concept. They worked closely with the existing vegetation — like the venerable olive trees that have been gracing this plot of land for centuries. Using natural materials (like rustic oak wood, bamboo, and rattan) and techniques, they redefined the physical environment while emphasizing the autonomy of each suite unit, with the result resembling more of a luxurious, tropical island settlement. “The most important thing to us was how the guests would experience their surroundings,” says Katja Margaritoglou, co-founder and interior designer for the firm. “The design aims to bring guests in sync with nature and its elements, connecting the indoors with the outdoors in a seamless way that helps them unwind and explore the resort in its entirety.”

Keeping up with the mindfulness, nature and relaxation aspects, Olea All Suite Hotel puts a big emphasis on wellness. Guests can rejuvenate at the Wellness Spa & Relaxation area (with special aromatic and essential oils therapies using Mediterranean herbs), train at the fully equipped gym, pamper themselves at the beauty salon and unwind at the yoga pavilion. Of course, they can also swim or float in the all- encompassing lake-like pool.

Around this “lake”, natural meeting points are formed. Lounges are protected from the sun by the cooling shadows of pergolas and trees, where guests can enjoy a variety of snacks and drinks all day long, or have their taste buds regaled by the culinary options that tap into Greek and Mediterranean flavours with a creative spin. Furthermore, at the Sunset Bar which is strategically positioned so that the rays of the setting sun envelop every inch of the premises, one can find an exclusive menu of signature cocktails.

Images © Claus Brechenmacher-Reiner Baumann Photography & One Image Nikos Kontostavlakis

Engineer: S. Xeimarios

Construction Company: Malo Development