Myconian Ambassador Resort, Mykonos Hotel Building, Greek Project, Aegean Sea Images
Myconian Ambassador Resort in Mykonos
Greek Accommodation Hotel Building in the Cyclades: Aegean Sea – design by GM Architects
12 Jul 2016
Myconian Ambassador Resort
Design: GM Architects
Location: Mykonos, Greece – on an island in the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea
Myconian Ambassador Resort
The Myconian Ambassador is a luxury hotel located in Mykonos. It is one of a number of such top-end establishments in the Cyclades group of Greek islands. Its construction in 1979 was overseen by George Daktylides, and was the first hotel in the Myconian hotel collection. In 1992, the Myconian Ambassador was selected for membership of the Relais & Châteaux network due to the outstanding quality of its customer service and stunning location. In June 2015, the Lebanese architecture and design firm GM Architects completed the refurbishment of this magnificent establishment – all of its suites, its 69 bedrooms and its communal areas.
Overlooking the famous beach of Platis Gialos and set amidst beautiful gardens, this temple of excellence and wellbeing boasts a wonderful location and spectacular ocean views, just a stone’s throw from the finest sandy beaches and the town of Mykonos.
In line with his ‘contextual immersion’ approach, Galal Mahmoud drew inspiration from the history of the Cyclades and local Greek culture to help him to come up with a new concept for the location’s overarching architectural vision, characterized by a look that is clean, simple, contemporary and totally unique.
The use of premium materials such as Thassos marble and tropical hardwoods gave Galal Mahmoud tremendous scope to take traditional Greek architecture down a completely new path.
“I am a great believer in the power of architecture to positively impact upon our ability to get the most out of life, to live out the ‘good life’. I design my architectural spaces, both interiors and exteriors, to be experienced as pathways to well-being, at one with their surrounding environment and the natural world.
My designs are conceived as spaces which work from the interior outwards. They also work in the opposite direction, bringing the outside world into a place that is open, airy and tremendously conducive to contemplation.”
Galal Mahmoud – Founder of GM Architects
The refurbishment of the Myconian Ambassador is a project that’s very dear to Galal Mahmoud’s heart, profoundly attached as he is to the island of Mykonos, to which he has been a regular visitor since his childhood. ‘This island is part of the fabric of my life’, confesses the architect, who has become firm friends with the owner of the Myconian Ambassador, Vangelis Daktylides. What could be more natural, then, that Mr. Daktylides should entrust the top-tobottom refurbishment of this prestigious hotel – regarded as one of most magnificent in the country.
The refurbishment offered the opportunity to create a new, resolutely modern aesthetic for the hotel, one based on looking at the local culture through fresh eyes, a culture where tranquillity and well-being are prized. The refurbishment project is centred on the bedrooms, communal areas and the design of its interior spaces. The spirit of Mykonos is present in every shape, every contour and even the very fabric of the hotel, which is reminiscent of the rocky Greek landscapes, sea and sky.
The Myconian Ambassador has been redesigned to create a very special environment, a place of open spaces and clean lines. ‘Airiness’ is perhaps the best word to describe what drives the concept behind the new Myconian Ambassador. This airiness is seen in the hotel’s spacious interiors, with their wide windows and mirrors, bringing out the contemplative in us all. As far as colours are concerned, Galal Mahmoud has remained true to classic ideals of beauty: shades of royal blue which contrast the purity of white.
Overlooking Platis Gialos beach, the Myconian Ambassador offers its guests an experience of unparalleled luxury, most notably in the shape of its wonderfully spacious and comfortable accommodation. Its elegant and sophisticated bedrooms boast unbeatable views of the Aegean Sea – not to mention its superb customer service tailored to the individual.
How is your own life story bound up with this country? How did your partnership with Mr. Daktylides begin?
I have a very strong personal attachment to Greece, especially to the island of Mykonos, because I’ve been coming here every summer with my family and friends for a number of years now. The island is a place where we can gather together and unwind in a gorgeous setting. This island is a part of my life and I have a real sense of affection and loyalty towards it. I’ve been familiar with the Myconian Ambassador hotel for 30 years. I used to rent a house with my family just beside it. During the conflict in Lebanon in the summer of 2006, the owner told me that I could stay for as long as I wanted and even set up my office there. This arrangement lasted 5 or 6 years in the end, and was the beginning of a very close friendship. After I moved away, we remained friends and kept in touch. We met up one day and he asked me if I would undertake the refurbishment of his hotel, which he felt was somewhat old-fashioned in its décor. That’s when our working partnership first began.
Which parts of the hotel were involved in the refurbishment project?
Firstly, you have to remember that we couldn’t make any structural changes to the building. The remit was to preserve the essence of the hotel’s original look, but at the same time, bring it up to date somewhat. We initially focused on the bedrooms, which were very narrow. We sought to create a feeling of space in a relatively small area to which we couldn’t make wholesale alterations. Now, when you walk into a bedroom at the Myconian Ambassador, your first impressions are of a feeling of openness that draws the gaze out onto the expanse of ocean outside. We made great efforts to bring more natural light into every room, creating an almost seamless continuity between different areas. This approach enabled us to create spaces which were much more roomy, modern-looking and light.
With regard to the communal areas, our goal was to ‘shake up’ these spaces. For example, we had large blocks of marble carved to create highly-original customer service desks in the hotel lobby. All walls were re-plastered in a way that consciously recalls the drapery of the statues of Greece’s classical period.
What changes did you make to the hotel’s interior design?
Our first priority was to bring top-quality materials into the Myconian Ambassador’s interior design mix. These included white marble from Thassos, for added elegance, and tropical hardwoods, which impart both character and warmth. As for the furniture and furnishings, we opted for a combination of contemporary, stylish designs from some of the top names in the field, along with our own creations, such as the rug in the lobby and the low tables in marble. We also introduced a number of original artworks into this space in order to add interest to the area. The colours and textures we used were inspired by vernacular architecture and the Greek countryside, albeit with the addition of something of a contemporary twist. In short, we changed the existing furniture and reworked the old colour schemes and lighting in order to imbue the Myconian Ambassador with a more aesthetically-pleasing, airy feeling without making major structural changes.
With his great affection for Greece in general and the island of Mykonos in particular, Galal Mahmoud was also asked to participate in the construction of a private villa located in the very heart of the island
Galal Mahmoud and his team focused on the exteriors of the residence, turning the terraces into places to live out life to the full – whilst offering protection from the Mykonos wind, which can be very strong during the summertime. GM Architects devised this transformation in close partnership with the villa’s owner, in charge of monitoring the work, to create a space that would whisk the individual off on a dream-like, contemplative journey through their imagination, all in an outstanding natural setting. The Greek architect Andreas Vassilaros participated in the realization of the project with main mission the building permit as well as the follow-up of the works. His innate sense of the detail and the good work was an added value in the quality of the project.
GM Architects wished to preserve the local character of the location and the building’s traditional Greek architecture, whilst injecting it with a more modern, simple and elegant feel. The three key materials used to this end were white cement, light-coloured stone – for both interiors and exteriors – and wooden decking for the terraces. To further reinforce the contemporary look of the design, the architect opted for a colour scheme dominated by white and light grey, with subtle touches of royal blue.
The continuity between interiors and exteriors makes it seem as if the building is almost floating, suspended between water, sea and sky. Every effort has been made to direct the gaze outwards towards one of the finest views in the whole Cyclades.
Myconian Ambassador Resort in Mykonos information / images from GM Architects
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Myconian Ambassador Resort in Mykonos, Cyclades, Greece
Website: GM Architects