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Restore and Revive

Arcadia, Greece

Athens-based K-Studio has reimagined an abandoned sanatorium as a boutique hotel in the heart of Arcadia

Sitting surrounded by virgin fir forest in a remote part of Arcadia, the Swiss-designed landmark, now a boutique hotel called Manna, makes a striking sight on Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula. Inaugurated in 1929, the unusual building functioned as a sanatorium until 1938, when the discovery of penicillin rendered its treatments obsolete. It sat abandoned for eight decades until owner Stratis Batayas took it under his care and handed it over to K-Studio for a sensitive restoration into an inviting hospitality space.

After years of neglect had ravaged the building and left it in crumbling disrepair, the team had an empty, though protected, shell to work with. With the approval of the MONGON Office for Architecture and the Greek archaeological authorities, who determined how far the team could veer from the architects’ original intentions, K-Studio were able to replace the roof – previously a neoclassical design from the building’s short life as a sanatorium – with an homage to Manna’s Swiss heritage.

The stone facade had fared better and, as the only listed part of the building, was restored back to its original former glory. Next door, however, an auxiliary building had completely disappeared and with no archives available to reference the design, K-Studio took inspiration from what had survived of the main property for a modern interpretation of the original style, proportions, and materials.

Inside, the team retained columns and beams but had the freedom to rebuild the rest of the interiors, notably to increase the original room sizes to better suit the needs of the modern traveller. One original detail which has survived is the pre-cast concrete staircase which runs through each floor, and one of first béton armé structures in Greece.

When it came to the décor, the mountainous countryside offered inspiration for the 32 guest rooms and suites. Each is dressed in an earthy colour palette and layers of natural materials like wood, rattan, wool, and linen while the addition of brushed copper standalone tubs and plush velvet brings a sumptuous touch to the subdued backdrop.

To ensure the building remained rooted in the peninsula, the stone, terrazzo, and chestnut panels have been sourced locally, and lighting is from specialist Eleftheria Deko, whose creations have recently lit up the Acropolis. In the communal spaces, the design acknowledges the building’s heritage through the large fireplaces, a nod to the originals that existed within the sanatorium. Broken terrazzo flooring inspired newly laid terrazzo crafted from marble and white concrete.

For guests who aren’t tempted to linger indoors for too long – although a farm-to-table restaurant, bar, library, and spa make it an attractive prospect – outdoor activities will take you on adventures to explore the surrounding mountains, vineyards, and lakes.