The most eastern Greek island – just 12 miles from Turkey, which can be seen vividly from the Old Town – Rhodes has become famous among tourists for its medieval city, which is twice the size of Dubrovnik; fascinating architecture; stone-paved alleys and beautiful, untouched natural landscape.
In recent years, due to its easy accessibility from the UK and wider Europe, the island has become somewhat of a tourism hotspot. In 2018, it was reported by Statista that Rhodes had 49,451 hotel rooms, the second largest reported figure among the Greek islands that year.
Among them is the beachfront Amada Colossos Resort, where, on the eastern coast, early risers during the small hours of the morning can capture the moment the Mediterranean Sea meets a bubble-gum pink sky as the sun starts to emerge on the edge of the horizon – a much welcome change of scenery from the craggy, gray autumn I left behind in England.
Since 1980, when the first hotel emerged as a 408-key hotel, it has evolved into several new chapters thanks to a series of renovations. Nothing, though, was quite as impressive or dramatic as than the €50m reconstruction and redevelopment project in 2017, which was implemented by architecture studio F. & K. KYDONIATIS & PARTNERS and completed in 2018.
Aris Soulounias, Colossos SA CEO, a veteran and experienced hotelier, had the vision to create a resort that would offer, through a spectrum of locally inspired and meticulously selected details, a ‘modern philosophy of luxurious seafront holiday’; an irresistible combination of five-star living and authentic Greek hospitality.
Landscaped to blend into its natural setting, the hotel now shelters no less than 699 guestrooms (varying from 17 styles), all decorated in natural materials with a contemporary twist. To cater for the number of guests, the hotel features 16 bars and restaurants that are dotted throughout the resort, a 140-meter outdoor pool and even its own water park. The challenge, therefore, for the wide team at F. & K. KYDONIATIS & PARTNERS was to maintain a cohesive design narrative throughout – and this required a sensitive yet personal approach.
Inside one of the 32 sea-view suitesguests enter to a sense of calm, which, in one of the 12 Sea-View Executive Suites, is enhanced by the floor-to-ceiling balcony doors that frame an enchanted vista of endless sea, which is complimented by the color scheme that includes punches of turquoise and blue.
Clever use of cove lighting aptly elevates the space, while also blurring any potential hard boundaries. Blended together with natural materials, such as a handcrafted wooden headboard from Bali and walls that have been painted with a modern lime wash effect to create a natural tone and texture, the suite feels earthy yet spacious, complete with a contemporary walk-in wardrobe, framed with LED strip lighting, a large living area, a luxurious bedroom and a balcony that stretches the entire width of the suite.
The bathroom, meanwhile, complete with Ideal Standard taps and shower fittings, is beyond simply a practical space. A large window, with panel-controlled blinds, allows natural light and a cohesive design style to flood into the space, as well as opening up yet another opportunity for guests to soak in the unmatched view of the sea below. “The first question was how to bring water into the building,” architect Konstantinos Kydoniatis tells Hotel Design. “We opened up the bathrooms to give a feeling of more space and tried to orientate everything towards the sea. When visitors arrive, they will understand that they have come very close to the sea. That you can see the sea from many parts of the resort. That you can touch it.”
It would be easy with a hotel as large as Amada Colossos Resort for its design language to be muted or overshadowed by its size. However, like many answers in design, the solution came in the form of art. Throughout the hotel, guests will notice abstract sculptures and art pieces that reflect the property’s sense of location. Taking the art narrative deeper, I am told that in fact all the art sheltered within the building had been commissioned by Ms. Roula Soulounia, who was instrumental in the interior design process and the selection of the artworks adorning Elite Collections Suites and Villas as well as resort’s premises.
Sustainability fit to scale
Don’t let the hotel’s size fool you despite its scale, the Amada Colossos’ commitment to sustainability is refreshing. Going much further than simply banning plastic straws – although the hotel has taken the liberty to introduce 450,000 straws – decisions such as installing energy-efficient pasta windowpanes, heat-recovery chillers to reduce energy costs from air conditioning units, prove that the hotel is, from its foundations, a non-greenwashing, sustainable core.
In addition, the outside walls have been fitted with an external thermal insulation composite system and all interior walls have been painted with European Eco-Label paints. The hotel also used 40,000 meters of energy-saving LED tape around the premises (just another 295 meters and it would have completed a marathon). Around the resort, a total of 14,000 low-energy LED bulbs have been fitted, and by introducing reverse osmosis and nanofiltration technology, not only is the tap water in rooms and common areas drinkable, but guests save 450g of CO2 emissions (equivalent to six km of driving) by consuming their three-litre daily water quota.
Outside, the landscaping has been done with local Mediterranean plants, minimising irrigation needs.
As an added touch, screens in the lifts reference these sustainable milestones, which ensure the message around conscious hospitality is being heard loud and clearly, without it feeling too forced.
The real power of F&B
And now we come to the real answer on how a large hotel can indeed still shelter an apt boutique look and feel. The power of F&B has long been explored in the arena of hospitality, but nowhere can it set different scenes than in a large resort, and often it is the make or break moment of whether a hotel will cater for modern demand travellers. In charge of the main restaurant as well as three á-la-carte restaurants (Greek, Italian and Asian) is Executive Chef Konstantinos Vasileious, who along with his committed team ensure that the hotel’s extensive menus hit the notes, which they do precisely in every dish.
The three á-la-carte restaurants are positioned next to each other, but could not be more different in their design. The Greek restaurant appropriately feels more like a Greek house than a hospitality establishment, with authentic artwork and ceilings made from used crates. The Italian restaurant, meanwhile, features a beautiful tiled floor and orb-like lighting with matt black and wooden furniture to reflect a contemporary image. Lastly, the Asian restaurant has been designed with a sharp eye to feature Asian-inspired lighting that plays on different textures.
If trends are to be believed, with travelers expected to journey deeper and for longer in the future, hotels such as Amada Colossos Resort have the ability, flexibility and space to offer something for almost everyone. As I check out – turning over my shoulder to capture the postcard-perfect view one last time – I feel confident to conclude that the owners and management team behind this hotel work tirelessly and effectively, through design as well as service, to ensure that each guest’s experience is unique, comfortable and memorable – you don’t get much more boutique than that.
Main image credit: Amada Colossos Resort