Meet Dexamenes, the conscious-luxury hotel set within a coastal post-war winery.
The history and economy of the western Peloponnese region of Greece was changed in 1879 by a microscopic pest; the infestation swarm of phylloxera in the vineyards of France created a new market for Greek grape and currant producers. Having already accelerated in production since the 1830 liberation of Greece, (the currants became the Greek Kingdoms main export, with production increasing tenfold by 1860), the industry was now able to infiltrate the French markets. For a brief decade, this created a boom in wealth and economy for the region, with the first railway in the country being built there and with it increasing social mobility.
However, the recovery of French vineyards in 1890 closed the market, creating a Greek ‘Currant Crisis’ and implementation of a ‘Currant Policy’; protecting production, selling the best quality crops abroad and keeping the lower qualities for their internal markets and alternative products- such as wine. It was for this reason that wineries began appearing in the region, and Dexamenes was born.
Built on the seafront to allow for easy transport, the 1920s industrial structures have today, over 100 years later, been transformed into a conscious-luxury resort on one of the most unspoiled stretches of the region’s coastline. Conceived by visionary entrepreneur turned hotelier, Nikos Karaflos, Dexamenes Seaside Hotel is ‘almost monastic in its pared-down design’, etched within the history of the winery. Offering wine-tank suites as well as a beach-front villa, the hotel’s minimalism creates an atmosphere of relaxation and reflection.
Thirty-four wine tanks have been minimally refurbished with steel, engineered glass, timber, and a clean-lined aesthetic to create beachfront, courtyard, and backyard suites. Each suite has a luxuriously sustainable Coco Mat double bed, with a single sofa bed adjacent offering extra room. Beyond a wall of textured glass, one finds the open wardrobe and bathroom, with a double shower and an abundance of storage, the minimalist, luxurious design accents the historical, unique setting. The only choice to make is Ionian Sea views, historic courtyard views, or the peaceful privacy of the Backyard suites?
A few steps from the suites, two traditional stone out-buildings have been transformed into spaces for both in-house dining and event staging. Dexamenes’ cuisine is local, seasonal, and conscious. The traditional references and hyperlocal meals change depending on seasonality and availability, supporting ‘local, young and conscious farmers voting against the cruel practices of the mass food industry’. The varied selection of meals can be found at three locations around the hotel: the Beachfront Bar, the “Ex-Engine Room” Restaurant, and The Beach.
In the events space, the hotel hosts a range of exciting artistic and cultural affairs. The space holds a ‘focus on communicating the culture of the area and the history of the building through art and cuisine’, through exhibitions, workshops, and lectures, as well as wine tasting and cooking classes.
Each summer, the hotel’s chosen resident artist holds installations and exhibitions throughout the season. This year, Joanna Burtenshaw, an English artist living in Athens, showcases her collection ‘Out of Thin Air’. Created in the midst of lockdowns and isolation, the collection explores a release of control through paint, leading to a grasp of inspiration ‘out of thin air’. The exhibition is on show throughout the hotel, and can also be viewed online on the hotel’s website.
Dexamenes’ monastic minimalism offers the perfect understated escape for relaxation, framed by local, historic traditions and the Ionian coast. Find out more at dexamenes.com