On the spectacular and historic Greek island of Cephalonia, a contemporary family-run apartment hotel is drawing attention not only for its location, but for its edgy design and awareness to eco-friendly living.
The Greek island of Cephalonia (Kefalonia) has mountains, harbours, olive groves, spectacular beaches – some inaccessible by land, and a protected population of the endangered loggerhead turtle. The island has a rich history and may have been the Ithaca of Greek poet Homer’s epic Odyssey. With its amazing natural beauty and historical background, Cephalonia is a popular holiday destination, especially for Italians, thanks to its close proximity to Italy. Film and literature buffs are also drawn to the island after its appearance in the novel (and film of the same name) ‘Captain Correlli’s Mandolin’.
Hotel Leivatho, a new project by the young design firm LDLP (run by Architect Papalampropoulos Leonidas) is a family-run apartment hotel on the sands of Avithos Beach. The 32-studio ‘medium-sized’ hotel has panoramic views of the sea and a design aesthetic that works beautifully with Cephalonia’s landscape. Traditional hospitality in a modern setting is what Leivatho is all about.
The main idea behind Leivatho was to design the hotel in such a way as to experience the landscape fully without compromising the privacy of guests in the hotel. LDLP came up with a two wall system – an exterior “crossing wall” which follows the contours of the land, goes around existing trees and determines the access to the apartments. A second layer of perpendicular walls divides the rear patios of each apartment, ensuring the privacy of the guests.
Eco-friendliness and a commitment to the natural landscape is Leivatho’s USP. A serious water management and recycling policy cleans bath and shower water for reuse in the toilets and the garden. This ensures that water consumption is cut by a whopping 50%. Solar energy is used for water heating and locally produced organic food ensures a connectivity with the community and slow food.
The Leivatho Hotel believes that “luxury lies in hospitality, simplicity and a healthy life in understanding the aesthetics as a culture.” The hotel has 32 rooms, studios and suites, each with a balcony or terrace with sea view. The reception area is huge with a circular sofa encouraging guests to mingle, while keeping the spotlight firmly on the outside. Guests are treated to wine and fruit on arrival, a taste of the organic, elegant stay to come.
The suites are large and roomy with minimalist furniture to keep the attention on the stunning sea view outside. Large glass partition walls bring the magical Greek light in while the exposed stonework and concrete façade add balance to the space.
The mainly-white rooms with 100% pure cotton linen have cheerful splashes of colour in the way of headboards and chairs. The simple beds are carefully positioned to take in all the scenery.
From the upper floor studios, the sea is what you see when you wake up. For apartments on the lower floors, the view of the garden and landscape outside is what soothes the soul.
The innovative design of the hotel ensures the privacy of guests should they choose to experience a bubble bath or a shower with the drapes open. Privacy is assured – with the drapes open or closed. The floor-length window blinds allow guests to have unobstructed views of the landscape outside.
A pool bar ‘Bella Vista’ and breakfast room overlooking the pool gives guests one more venue to relax. A fully equipped kitchen allows guests to treat the hotel as a ‘home away from home’.
The owners of the Leivatho Hotel aspire to make the space an “interactive place of pleasure”. With its common sense approach to the environment, emphasis on simple and elegant living and the amazing sight of the sapphire blue sea outside, the Leivatho Hotel certainly meets its goal.
Text By: Chryselle D’Silva Dias
Photographs Courtesy Hotel Leivatho