We talk to Nasika Georgiadou, owner of Skinopi Lodge on the Greek island of Milos, who tells us why she fell in love with the island and how she created a nature sanctuary with a front row seat to majestic sunsets.
Tell us a bit about your background, and how you came across the island of Milos
I am a passionate traveller and hotel junkie, travelling as much as I possibly can around the world, staying in and visiting properties as much as museums and sights, and that was my inspiration and only experience when I started in this business. I trained and worked as an economist and spent my summer holidays with my boat around the Cyclades.
When I was still in my twenties, I bought a very old house in the village of Trypiti, which, much later, I renovated and turned into a guesthouse. But I was always searching for a property on the water with Milos's spectacular sunset. And I finally found Skinopi.
What’s unique about Milos and the location you chose for Skinopi Lodge?
The pristine landscape and its untouched beauty, the location right in front of the sea and its front row seat to majestic sunsets were the reason I fell in love with this rare property and spent over a decade acquiring and developing it.
Milos has the most amazing coastline and the most beautiful waters in the whole of Greece, so for a nature and sea lover like me it was an obvious choice.
Tell us about the concept behind Skinopi Lodge. What do you want guests to experience?
The concept was led by unique characteristics that were obvious to me from the start: creating a nature sanctuary for people who appreciate that luxury is smelling the herbs, observing the galaxy at night, listening to the sea, making time to connect with nature and the Self. That guided the brief given to the architects: build in a way that would minimise our footprint and blend seamlessly into the landscape. Create just a cover for human habitation that would be barely visible from the sea. Create an indoor-outdoor way of life, so typical of the Greek islands, with outdoor kitchens and outdoor showers. Utilise bioclimatic architecture and ages old local wisdom to make sure that minimum energy and water would be required.
We created a cluster of single-story bungalows, made of local stone, with wide openings that close with large wooden shutters, drawing inspiration from the typical fishermen dwellings (syrmata) of the village of Skinopi just below the Lodge. The orientation of the buildings secured absolute privacy for the guests and utilised to a maximum the northern breeze that has been used since antiquity to cool down spaces. Doors were split a third of the way up to provide a breeze and all villas had cross openings to make sure that air conditioning would be very rarely needed, in line with our concept for a natural environment. Lighting in the property was kept at the bare minimum to minimise light pollution and there are no TVs in the villas to minimise sound pollution.
How did you bring a sense of place to the interiors?
Interior design aimed at creating a space where nothing competes with the beauty of nature and allows it to take centre stage. Walls are white and bare, furniture is kept to a minimum of what is necessary and is only covered in natural materials, pure linen and cotton. A sense of place, the Cyclades, is paramount to the concept, so the palette is white and grey, the ceilings are local reed and oak beams from the northern monastic community of Athos, the shutters are wooden and there are no curtains. The guest is prompted to go back to a natural way of life, a Greek island way of life to be more precise, by awakening all senses to the natural landscape and the sea. The experience is raw but at the same time luxurious, where an effort is needed to drive the dirt road to the villas, to descend the stone steps to our private cove, to cook outdoors, while at the same time enjoying rain showers, exquisite materials and detailed design.
The aim of Skinopi Lodge is to create a community of like-minded travellers who care deeply for the environment and want to be part of a truly sustainable project where water and energy are conserved, solar power is harnessed, local materials are used as much as possible and single use plastic is banned. Taking part in our NGO's efforts to save the sea from pollution also plays a big part in this community.
What are your top tips for a first-time traveller to Milos?
Take at least one boat trip around the island and to the little islands of Kimolos and Polyegos adjacent to Milos. Rent a jeep and explore the island and its amazing beaches and landscapes.
Up next in our Island Life interview series — travel photographer Lavinia Cernau tells us why she can't resist the pull of Andros.
Shop new luggage for that long-awaited trip, with new colours for summer in suitcases, here.