When conflict erupted between Israel and Lebanon-based group Hezbollah in 2006, architect Galal Mahmoud found himself unable to return to his office in Beirut. Having vacationed near the Myconian Ambassador on the Greek island of Mykonos with his family as a child, Mahmoud was invited by hotel owner Vangelis Daktylides to stay and establish a temporary workplace within the hotel. The arrangement lasted for nearly six years, so when it came time for Daktylides to update the circa-1979 property, which overlooks the Aegean Sea and the beaches of Platis Gialos, he turned to Mahmoud and his Beirut-based firm GM Architects to refurbish the serene lodging without making any structural adjustments.
“Overall, I wanted to base the aesthetic idea on guests seeing the local culture through fresh eyes, where tranquility and well-being are prized above all,” says Mahmoud. The design aims to honor Greece’s classical architecture and nature while also infusing a clean, modern touch. Mirroring local tradition, materials like Thassos marble and driftwood-inspired tropical hardwoods create layers of warmth and sophistication.
Envisioned as an idyllic beach house, the reception area is defined by clean lines and Mediterranean colors. In an effort to “‘shake up’ the common spaces,” Mahmoud chose large marble blocks for the reception desks and replastered the walls to recall the drapery of classical Greek statues found nearby on the island of Delos. The lobby’s mixture of high-end furniture and fixtures complements custom carpet, low marble tables, and original artwork.
“The colors and textures we used were inspired by vernacular architecture and the Greek countryside,” says Mahmoud. “This is why the hotel features shades of royal blue which contrast with the purity of the white.”
Wide windows and mirrors throughout the hotel establish a more open concept. When faced with the narrow layout of the guestrooms, Mahmoud and his team flooded them with more sun exposure to establish a welcoming airiness. “We made great efforts to bring more natural light into every room to create a seamless continuity between different areas,” he explains, “creating spaces which were much more roomy, modern-looking, and light.”
The timber pool deck’s surrounding bar and lounge were also opened, and transformable loungers now double as sun chairs during the day and lounge seats in the evening. The connected breakfast eatery Latitudes was also opened to the pool terrace for a more organic flow from the inside out. Tables and seating of varying heights offset the low ceilings while also allowing for expansive ocean views.
“My designs are conceived as spaces which work from the interior outwards,” Mahmoud points out. “They also work in the opposite direction, as they bring the outside world into a place that is open, airy, and tremendously conducive to contemplation.”
From: Hospitality Design