A terrace overlooking the Sea of Crete
Described by Homer as the “island of the hundred cities”, Crete retains a profound sense of mystery. It offers a stunning variety of landscapes, monumental ruins left from the splendour of the ancient Minoan civilization alongside Byzantine churches and Venetian fortresses, a magnificent sea and rugged mountains, and everywhere unique fragrances.
In this splendid setting, nestled in the peaceful bay of Vathi on the island’s magnificent north-west coast, stands the Gran Meliá Luxury Resort and Daios Cove Villas, a new luxury hospitality complex built by internationally-renowned Athens-based design practice 3SK Stylianidis Architects.
What strikes the visitor at first glance is the skilful way the resort is integrated into the natural environment. It blends in with discretion and balance, evoking the charming intimacy of the island’s traditional villages through an elegant contemporary aesthetic based on soft lines and materials with warm colours that fit perfectly into the natural setting.
In spite of the scale of the complex – over 300 guestrooms, master suites and independent villas with private swimming pool, a wellness area of over 2,500 square metres, bars, restaurants and night clubs – it does not disturb the environment, which appears to embrace the structure with warmth as though recognising the grace and passion that inspired the design. “Each of our projects is based on a poetic concept that informs the design process, freeing it from triviality and convention. We appreciate the sculptural aspect of architecture, so our work is based on continuous experimentation with a wealth of forms, materials, textures and colours,” was how the architects from Stylianidis described their design approach. And this is indeed the message conveyed by the resort, a highly creative and articulate structure in which architecture and design are integrated harmoniously and interpret the tradition and spirit of the island.
The overall design of the Gran Meliá resort displays meticulous attention to detail, using extremely high quality materials and finishes. The materials chosen for the floor coverings in the structure were the Heartstone series from Piemmegres, a porcelain tile that combines high strength and slip resistance with an extremely natural aesthetic based on a natural stone effect. It imbues the spaces with warmth and creates a soft interconnection with the surrounding environment, maintaining the splendid contrast with the blues of the sea and the salt water pools dotted around the complex.
From the wide terraces located on several floors, the view over the private bay below with direct access to the crystalline sea is truly breathtaking. Likewise, some of the design solutions – such as a water-level breakfast zone in the Daios cave – offer guests spaces that are not just beautiful but above all are emotionally engaging.
Piemmegres, Heartstone series
45x45 - 30x60 - 60x60 cm
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): <0,5%
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): <175 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >35 N/mm3
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10 - R11
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant