Rooftop Restaurant, Lounge and Bar overlooking the Aegean at the Hotel Aristide in Hermoupolis (Ermoupoli) | Luxury Design Hotel Syros, Greece | The Aficionados

Hued Antiquity

Hotel Aristide in Hermoupolis (Ermoupoli) | Luxury Design Hotel Syros, Greece | The Aficionados

Hued Antiquity

Private Plunge Pool | Hotel Aristide in Hermoupolis (Ermoupoli) | Luxury Design Hotel Syros, Greece | The Aficionados

Hued Antiquity

Hotel Aristide in Hermoupolis (Ermoupoli) | Luxury Design Hotel Syros, Greece | The Aficionados

Intro

Aristide is a rare find in Greece, an eclectic design hotel in the handsome neoclassical Vaporia quarter of the maritime town Hermoupolis (Ermoupoli), on the Greek Cyclades Isle of Syros. An imposing house of the gentry, it is an architectural beacon of faded aristocracy perched along a boulevard of Venetian-styled mansion houses that skirt the Aegean, once the status residences of affluent merchants and traders. 

Behind the hotel's soft rose-coloured, shuttered facade, Aristide bares those aristo signifiers of prosperity: heavy wooden entrance doors, high vaulted ceilings, ornate frescoes, marble balconies, gleaming wooden floors, and tall mature trees shade the courtyard garden. Today, Aristide carries the gravitas of its illustrious history, rethought for the modern nomad – a luxuriously relaxed abode where art, architecture, designer objects and heritage collide in an elegant bohemia. Completely restored, the house has regained its noble allure, and, like in times past, Aristide is filled with a plethora of arts, antiques, contemporary furnishings and design accents; a curation of loved pieces wrapped in vivid pastel tones. Often home to visiting resident artists, the grand walls are decked with gallery-worthy pieces by Christy Lee Rogers, Riccardo Vecchio and photographs by Nicolas Le Beuan Bénic. 

Designers get a look-in too in this modern amalgam – spy Tom Dixon lighting, Classicon coffee tables, Sarfatti chandeliers and Kartell Louis chairs, showing the depth and breadth of contemporary references, quite the coup considering the seclusion of Syros, removed from the tourist trails of the Cyclades. The hotel's fresh approach to luxury hospitality is a testament to first-time hoteliers Oana Aristide and her sister Jasmin's vision in a restoration story that saw them fall in love with a dilapidated building that had once been used as the town's tax office. 

Topping this eclectic hotel is the holy grail for hotel-lovers - a rooftop bar and evening restaurant dotted with Honoré's classic Croisette armchairs in pastel hues and olive trees in huge terracotta pots. It's a front-row seat onto the panoramic Aegean vista and the ancient skyline of Hermoupolis, including the landmark blue domed churches – best taken with a cocktail (the hotel has a fantastic mixologist) at sunset, when the scene gets hotter as the day gets cooler. 

A neoclassical restoration dream, Hotel Aristide is a fabulous mansion house of glamourous suites and seductive elegance that has neatly borrowed from the decadence of times past, fused with a sizable nod to design and the arts.

A fabulous mansion house of glamourous suites and seductive elegance that has neatly borrowed from the decadence of times past, fused with a sizable nod to design and the arts

Suites

Suites | Hotel Aristide in Hermoupolis (Ermoupoli) | Luxury Design Hotel Syros, Greece | The Aficionados Suites |Hotel Aristide in Hermoupolis (Ermoupoli) | Luxury Design Hotel Syros, Greece | The Aficionados

With just nine suites, Hotel Aristide’s bedrooms are spacious and the epitome of modern style, each named after a different type of that quintessential Greek material: marble, with the corresponding room key coming with a small chunk of said marble.  For example, the vivid Kapandriti marble, used for the facade of the Bank of Greece is the name of the exquisite Kapandriti suite, paired with a private stone veranda and plunge pool, solid oak floor and original ceiling decorations. Pteleos, a rare peach-coloured marble is also a suite with sea views and a gorgeous terrace replete with plunge pool and outdoor terrace.

All of the suites come decorated in a colour scheme of muted greens, blues or pinks with statement furniture pieces and Sarfatti or Tom Dixon lighting. Spacious bathrooms, some beautifully tiled with original ceramics, have free-standing tubs or rain showers, accompanied by L:A Bruket products, Humblebrush bamboo toothbrushes, biodegradable slippers and hair straighteners.

Foodie

Courtyard Greek Gardens | Hotel Aristide in Hermoupolis (Ermoupoli) | Luxury Design Hotel Syros, Greece | The Aficionados

Eating and drinking at Aristide is an opportunity to try local and tasty treats, with a focus on seasonal and authentic Syros fare. With their own vegetable garden and orchard, the hotel can ensure a high quality of organic produce. Breakfast, in shade of the garden could be Tirititim eggs (Greek omelette) or Greek bottarga with lemon and butter or delicious fried San Michali saganaki (local cheese) with caper preserve. If you’re feeling decadent, which you may well be, given your surroundings, add champagne to the breakfast order, or a specially crafted coffee to fix the caffeine itch.

Come evenings, you’ll naturally gravitate towards the rooftop, where land falls away and the sky opens like a book above you. Here you can indulge in delicious concoctions from the in-house mixologists or sip local Assyrtiko wine. You will also want to sample tasty plates from head chef Petros Braikidis, always local, fresh and focusing on seasonal island ingredients such as fava beans, capers, Cycladic cheese, aubergines and whatever fish comes in from the boat that day.

Hotel Aristide in Hermoupolis (Ermoupoli) | Luxury Design Hotel Syros, Greece | The Aficionados Cocktail Bar | Hotel Aristide in Hermoupolis (Ermoupoli) | Luxury Design Hotel Syros, Greece | The Aficionados

Location

Hermoupolis (Ermoupoli) | Luxury Design Hotel Syros, Greece | The Aficionados

Standing proud along the coastal road in the plush hood of Vaporia you are never far from the lapping of crystal-clear waters of the Aegean. Built by a ship owner, the wealthy maritime traders liked their homes to be by the sea as if about to set sail themselves, and in fact Vaporia translates as ‘ship’. 

Aristides is a merchant’s townhouse and the modern traveller it gives a sense of being in the historical town rather than beachside – although fabulous sea views are just steps away,  the house is flanked by the terracotta rooftops and church spires that dominate the town landscape. From the Aristide you’re a short walk from the town of Hermoupolis (Ermoupoli) and a couple of natural pebble beaches, perfect for the morning dip. Stroll past the pastel neo-classical houses of Vaporia to the town’s hillside streets where you’ll wind your way through cobbled alleys, edged by ceramic shops and Loukoumi sellers (Syros’ fragrant take on Turkish delight) to reach the blue-domed Agios Nikolaos Cathedral with a view to Syros’ twin hills, Ano Syros. Nowhere is far from you hub in town, just minutes from the main port,  and within an easy drive to the sites and countless beaches that Syros has to offer, from the hum of party bays to remote, completely empty coves – the hotel organises car hire and boat transfers to the gorgeously remote bays.

Owner

The story behind the inception of Aristide reads almost like fiction, in fact there’s a filmic quality to the events leading up to the now – watch this space for a rebooted Mamma Mia about real people. Owned by sisters Oana and Jasmin, refugees who moved from communist Romania to Sweden, the Aristide duo were looking for a holiday home and loved the quiet, far-from-the-madding-crowds feel of Syros that happily supports itself without the need for impactful tourism. However, the real connection came when they looked around the house that would become Hotel Aristide - they fell love with the salt-eroded building, and in doing so, became accidental hoteliers.

However, as any dedicated restorer know, the years of bureaucracy, red tape and hard work are testing, which meant Jasmin working to the support the build as a doctor in the Swedish Artic while Oana, who quit her job as an economist in London, had to manage the first-timer challenges of renovating a hotel on a remote island in Greece. What they’ve achieved is quite breath-taking – a triumph of success over adversity.

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