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Only in Greece would you find hotel owners obsessed enough with perfection that they’ll redo their entire resort one year after opening. “We didn’t want to create everything at the same time, because we wanted to see how it all worked,” says Aby Saltiel, co-owner of Kalesma Mykonos (kalesmamykonos.com). “Last summer, correctly, we rebuilt the whole resort, because we saw things in the first year that did not work.” So along with a reconfigured bar and restaurant for uninterrupted views east and west, and 13 new one-bedroom villas with full outdoor kitchens where private chefs can serve meals al fresco, Saltiel and his partners built a 1,290-square-foot spa and gym facility. “With the spa, we really wanted to offer something different and to elevate the property’s amenities even more,” he explains.
Kalesma is spread across five acres and set against a lush hillside that allows each of the 25 suites and two villas to offer unobstructed views of the Aegean, as well as personal heated pools. “The hotel was built with the whole philosophy of being in somebody’s home,” says Saltiel. “We are not hoteliers. We had an idea that if we created an extension of our homes, friends and guests will come.” And in that vein, Kalesma is the Greek word for “invite” or “calling.” The concept dovetails nicely with that of the spa, keeping everything simple and feeling more residential.
“I didn’t want to go by the book,” says Saltiel. “When you think about it, if you have an amazing room, why would you go to the spa to get a massage? You have to bother putting on your robe and going over there. We have a fantastic in-room massage service, and our suites are large enough to have it done inside or outside by the pool.” Guests will have the option to continue receiving bodywork in the privacy of their suites and villas, while the spa will feature two treatment rooms with a focus on facials, a Moroccan-style hammam, and a cryotherapy chamber. For products, Kalesma partnered with renowned German skincare specialist Dr. Barbara Sturm. “We had to do something different,” says Saltiel, “so we thought we’d try Barbara’s brand. I think it’s a very recognizable product for our clientele, but the menu of services we’re offering is different than other menus in, say, London because we are about the water and the sea and the sun.”
And as for the cryotherapy chamber, Saltiel says cryogenic therapy, where you expose your body to very cold temperatures for a short time, has become so popular he felt that they had to have one, “and it’s fun!” he says. “I had more of a problem with the hammam: I thought, who wants to go to a hammam in the summer? Well, let me tell you, I spoke to a lot of my colleagues who have spas on the island, and even though you would think no one would use it in this heat, it is very popular.”
The gym features the latest equipment from Technogym, and the two villas also have their own fitness rooms for private workouts. The design of the light-filled spa and gym reflects the water in the pool, yet the theme is a horse to represent Apollo’s mythological stable grounds upon which, they found, the hotel sits. “Sometimes,” says Saltiel, “it’s very good to not rush things, because you learn.”