Owner: Curio Collection by Hilton
Hotel operator: Troulis Royal Collection by Hilton
Architectural design: PeppasNarchitects
Interior design: Dome of engineering, PeppasNarchitects, StudioLost
Lighting design: Foss
Landscape design: Livingscapes_Mathioudakis
Furnishings: on design
Photo credits: Nick Kontostavlakis / Globe & Trotter
In Panormos, the Royal Senses Resort features views over turquoise expanse of the Aegean Sea, which the dry summer wind renders and intense blue. It elegantly aligns, in a geometric and conceptual counterpoint, with the rocky curves of the north-western part of the coast of Crete where it stands. PeppasNarchitects’ construction choices — as well as those for the interior design by HBA / Hirsch Bedner Associates and Constantina Tsoutsikou of StudioLost — borrows their logic from the landscape, both in terms of design and a concept of relating with the context that aims to highlight the local culture and its excellent craftsmanship, albeit in a modern key.
Located next to its sister property, the Royal Blue, a few kilometers from the picturesque city of Rethymno, the new resort in the Troulis Royal Collection follows the slope of the land in a series of structures distributed along six natural levels, at the base of which are common spaces, with the structures at higher altitudes holding 179 suites and villas.
Accessory services, such as kitchens and corridors, are at the rear of the hotel, while the main services are in the front. The water features are striking both for their number and their contribution to the composition: private infinity pools organically are dug into the rock part of the ultra-luxurious 200-square-meter villas, the four large communal pools and the 74 private infinity pools flanked by elegant sun loungers and cabanas that seem as if they flow from one level to another like a single large waterfall.
The buildings’ positioning and its interior spatial sequences were orchestrated to ensure “unobstructed views to the endless blue of the Aegean sea, wherever you are,” the architects Nikos Peppas and Katerina Tsiolaki explain. The intensity of the light and the perception of the surrounding environment are also controlled by the careful design of its windows and doors. This boundless, converging perspective creates the conditions for guests to enjoy a new kind of hospitality. They get the benefit of a private view and can reconnect to the environment around them.
As visitors move through water features and olive trees, they come across the grandiose, transparent building of the reception, passing through the common areas located on the same level as the spectacular lobby and restaurants. A cable car takes visitors to the hot springs where the stone wall crossing it reflects in the swimming pool. This brings guest to level of their room and leads them through small pathways.
In the interiors, natural tones of terracotta, rattan and rope combine with the selective use of stone and wood to create a feel of immediate calm. The juxtaposition of rough and smooth surfaces suggests the wild quality of the natural context which is sometimes stark and unruly. Both in its private spaces and public areas, furnishings with simple lines and works of art and decor pieces celebrate the craftsmanship of the new Cretan generation. Textile accessories are completely handmade by a local weavers’ association using the island’s traditional pattern.