“Marvel”; that is what Meraviglia means in Italian. This was the vision of the owner and creator, Aris Tzimas: “I wanted to create a special hospitality space that, upon arriving and seeing it, makes you feel spontaneous and sincere admiration, something like the genuine surprise that the apt Italian word meraviglia embodies,” he adds.
And he continues: “Meraviglia Slow Living is the collaborative effort of a diverse group of local artisans, craftspeople, workers and international designers. Our constructors and suppliers, although very different from each other, have all worked together under a single vision, committed to using local, organic and sustainable materials, with the common goal of creating a bioclimatic as well as welcoming space.”
Plans were laid in 2018 and construction was completed this year. 15,000 plants were planted on the 8 acres surrounding the complex and in the rooftop garden. The landscape architecture was overseen by Zoe Karakinari of Z-TOPOS – LANDSCAPE in collaboration with gardener George Matsiras.
“Slow Living is all about simplicity. It is about a calmer and more balanced approach to everyday life that gives us time to reassess what is really important in our lives. It is simply about reconnecting with ourselves, those around us and the world. By subtly offering our guests the luxury of refined simplicity, and, in essence, a simple, humble and more meaningful way of life, we encourage them to adopt a tranquil lifestyle, and enjoy a meaningful, memorable and rejuvenating experience here.”
“Constructing” Slow Living
Eden, located in the middle of nowhere but, at the same time, close to every notable site in western Greece, invites the visitor to a relaxed way of thinking. How long can you spend in your private pool gazing at the sea? Unlimited. Even if you’re a workaholic. Between the pool and the sea, there is an area planted with Mexican feather grass and rosemary. The blonde branches of the hardy Latin American plant sway in the mistral, signalling a smooth transition from the waves of the sea to the gentle motion of the infinity pool. The orchestration of the sounds was a priority for Aris Tzimas. The soundscape of the sea had to be heard unobstructed! Therefore they created an original construction design for swimming pools, in which the curvature of the overflow blocks the sound of the recirculating water.
Solid teak, suar and iroko wood dominates the pergolas and all the outdoor furniture, and also covers the roof and floor of the adjacent living room, allowing for all-day barefoot living. The floors in the bedroom and bathrooms are covered with handmade mosaic of absolute symmetry, while the ratio of colours is such as to add warmth to the dominant shades of grey, harmonizing it with the fertile red soil of the earth. As the philosophy of slow living demands, each architectural structure is lightweight and almost floats so that it stands out from the other surfaces.
At the same time, there are the “invisible” construction elements, which nevertheless contribute to the quality of your stay at Meraviglia Slow Living. The room spaces are arranged on two levels, a choice that is not accidental. Each bedroom is elevated, facing a window that functions as a theatrical scene, with nature and a lush inner courtyard with a private Jacuzzi taking central stage. These windows are further bordered by a huge frame covered with handmade mosaic. “Every detail counts. Avoiding any brash display, details make all the difference to the experience,” he says as we enter the inner courtyard, where a hidden entrance into the masonry opens! We ascend to Meraviglia’s planted roof, in a spot that, as he explains, none of the visitors can easily see, but is there to achieve a passive energy-saving technique. The rooms feature a mix of Scandinavian design, Greek handmade furniture and Italian artwork.
The concept of slow living was developed in collaboration with Vasilis Bartzokas and the Design Ambassador, following an invitation from the architect. “The branding and positioning of the hotel was based on design principles that are none other than total relaxation, disconnection and tranquillity, the enjoyment of nature at a slow pace, which is what the potential visitor of such a hotel desires”, observes Vasilis Bartzokas. The hotel’s logo, website, content and communication strategy reflect the concept, while the new services are also developed according to it. These include al fresco private dinners with ingredients from the hotel’s organic garden and floating breakfasts on the waters of each private pool. “The original brand image and the corresponding value proposition are crucial to the success of a project. The hotel’s identity is clear, based on the owner’s vision and the work of the architect. It is the right narrative that can convey the message to the right audience,” adds Vasilis Bartzokas.
Taking the occasion of Meraviglia
The days at Meraviglia go by … quickly. Our fresh, organic breakfast is delivered to your room on request. This is followed by a massage from the hotel’s menu. The rest of the day is divided between relaxing, swimming, reading, enjoying the view and drawing inspiration. In the evening, Alati restaurant serves fresh locally sourced shrimps in various delicious versions, along with fresh fish and excellent wine.
The city’s gastronomic wealth is intertwined with the cultural history and the unique wetland of Amvrakikos. Shrimps, bottarga (cured fish roe, coated in beeswax), olive oil, seam bream, local ouzo (anise-flavoured aperitif) and tsipouro (traditional, Greek, strong distilled spirit) are just some of the local products that can be enjoyed in the traditional taverns in the area.
“By visiting Meraviglia, I hope our guests will get to know Preveza, a unique place that will literally fascinate them!” His vision is in line with the dominant view of the people of Preveza, the low profile town that is located at the crossroads of upscale destinations in Western Greece, such as Meganisi and Paxos.
“Preveza is the city with the largest marina in Greece, capable of accommodating a large number of sailing boats, next to the international airport of Aktion. The brand new marina in the port is the city’s new jewel. Two kilometres from Meraviglia, in the area of Mytikas, the longest beach in Europe, Monolithi, with a length of 28 kilometres and a width of 80 metres, unfolds!”
The night ends with a drink at Seitan Pazar and a swim in the private pool under the full moon.