In Thessaloniki, a city steeped in ancient history, it’s not easy to create a new cultural monument. But by designing an extravagant luxury hotel that doubles as a top-notch art gallery, Greek star architect Tasos Zeppos (who also built the Fresh Hotel Athens, a member of Design Hotels™) has achieved notoriety. For the exterior, he placed an emphasis on brave monochrome contrasts, with sharp lateral beams pointing towards the busy industrial harbor. Inside, the focus is more on wide, self-conscious areas that allow masterpieces the space to shine. And throughout the entire structure, high-end materials create a calming sense of quality and comfort.
In the lobby, for example, solid black walls serve as a backdrop for visual art by some of the world’s best fine-art photographers, including Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth. A feeling of quality and intimacy washes over you as you sink into the swooping, softly lit sofas at Chan, a zesty Asian restaurant designed by London-based architects Andy Martin & Associates. And in the Long Bar, where you’re free to sip whisky cocktails until the early hours of the morning, a 22-carat gold-plated wall twinkles and shines. No space has been wasted on pure functionality, including even the underground car park, which has been given over entirely to the Formula 1 theme.
Christina Chandris (whose eminent Greek family owns the Chandris group of hotels and resorts) has worked hard to ensure The Met’s 212 guest rooms and suites blend high-end materials with inspirational art. There are solid wenge floors leading to marble- and Corian-built bathrooms. Solid, sharp-edged furnishings by the likes of Minotti and Armani Casa add tangible layers of comfort at every turn. And black-and-white originals by German photographer Ralph Baiker hang near expansive glazed panes that offer views over the azure waters of Thessaloniki Harbor. Meanwhile, beauty products by Molton Brown give guests the freedom to pamper themselves in their own time.
For something more indulgent, check out The Met’s naturally lit spa, which soothes with fragrant steam rooms and deep, bubbling hot tubs. Aqua-blue glazed walls help to retain a sense of intimacy and hygiene, while walls the color of Greek island sands add an organic sense of tranquility. There’s art here, too, but you’ll find it the calming treatments, rather than in any numbered exhibits.
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