The Euphoria Retreat, which is the first holistic wellness destination Spa in Greece, is located besides the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mystras. The architectural team, inspired on the one hand by the natural beauty of the Laconic valley and the byzantine castle of Mystras that presides over the scenery and on the other by ancient Greek philosophy and Chinese holistic philosophy of the five elements, created a unique environment of elegance, tranquillity and symbolism. The architectural team developed a vocabulary of “Byzantine Zen”, which is expressed in the morphology (i.e. the masonry, the coloured concrete facades), typology (i.e. the archeries, the caves) and the decoration (i.e., the golden cement mortars, textiles inspired by Byzantine iconography). The overall architecture creates a symbolic path with a flow of darker and lighter points and featuring views of visual escapes.
Pre-existing structures, such as the listed 19th century Leoncini Mansion and two unfinished buildings, have been completely restored and, together with the new buildings of the Spa, the restaurant and the reception, create scenery of successively closed, semi-closed, and open-air spaces. Central to the hotel’s philosophy is the Spa building, embedded into the mountainside with the distinct design of each of the four levels, to represent the distinct passage of personal journey.
The design of the Spa, developed by Deca Architecture, is meant to be at the same time peaceful and subversive, meditative and hallucinatory, orderly and free flowing. This occurs through a choreographed transition of spaces in which light, sound, temperature, humidity, textures, materials and smells create immersive sensory experiences. The vertical spine of the building is made of three concentric cylinders. The inner circle is a 20-meter-deep well, rendered white, which opens to the sky. The main floor is organized like the gears of a mechanical clock. The challenge was to instigate a moment of 'catharsis'. At the centre of the interior pool there is a sphere. Floating in the centre of this dark orb there is a sense of being suspended in the void of a platonic volume but also a sense of womb-like calmness. The Tepidarium connects spaces of different temperatures and humidity. Their purpose is to engage the largest sensory organ in the human body, the skin, making it sweat, expand and contract. The final floor, which is in closest connection with the forest, has two large and bright gathering spaces for classes and conferences.
The Reception area is designed as a large oblong space with archeeries and with two centerpieces at the two ends, on the one side the long wooden reception desk and on the other the impressive fireplace. The Gaia restaurant is designed after monastic dining places, with tables arranged in order to encourage guests to share experiences and feel part of a community. A terrace with panoramic views of the valley closes the unique experience of enjoying a healthy meal in a spirit of pure environment.
Τhe 45 spacious and lavishly decorated guestrooms are uniquely designed with furniture made of natural materials, such as wood, and with harmonious colour combinations with touches of gold and Byzantine reds and blues, creating an atmosphere of discrete luxury and Zen calm.