One&Only Aesthesis blends modernist Athens refinement and Greek island vibes

One&Only Aesthesis in the seaside neighbourhood of Glyfada brings the glamour of Athenian modernism to the 21st century with a sprinkle of seductive, island vibes

One&Only Aesthesis main building at the resort
(Image credit: One&Only Aesthesis)

Strolling the garden-filled paths of One&Only Aesthesis, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you are somewhere in the Cyclades. The peaceful, relatively minimalist environment would feel a fitting part of any island escape, consisting largely of blue skies, Mediterranean planting, a sense of quiet, and spaced-out, pared-down, low-slung structures that open up to their surroundings. 

Yet this is the global resort's Athens outpost, located just half an hour from the airport and a stone's throw from the capital's bustling centre – a city known for its vibrant streets and busy historic heart. It is also the company's first foray on Greek soil and the launch of a growing One&Only family there (a second location on Kea Island is about to open this spring) – and the hospitality brand brings with it its signature sense of quiet luxury and true retreat, mixed with a sense of place that draws on each destination's unique energy. 

One&Only Aesthesis main swimming pool of the resort

(Image credit: One&Only Aesthesis)

One&Only Aesthesis: an Athenian resort for escape in the capital

The recently opened hotel occupies an enviable site adjacent to Leoforos Poseidonos in what is known as the Athens Riviera – a stretch of beach and waterfront that has been the playground of some of the country's rich and famous since the mid-20th century. The beach club previously located here, titled 'Asteria', was well-known in the 1950s and throughout the next couple of decades for its clientele that made up Greece's who’s who of movie stars and artists – yet had fallen into disrepair in more recent years. Developers Grivalia Hospitality and Kerzner International partnered with One&Only to bring this fabled site back to life. 

One&Only Aesthesis outdoors terrace in bungalow

(Image credit: One&Only Aesthesis)

One&Only Aesthesis' architecture was led by a team of locally based talent, including AUDO, A6Architects, and 2012 Wallpaper* Architects Directory entry K-Studio, who are deft hands at blending modernist architecture notes with contemporary luxury in a variety of residential, commercial and hospitality schemes (including the Costa Navarino Residences in the Peloponnese). Here, the architects took their cues from the locale's midcentury legacy and the result feels pleasing – clean, low, white volumes, defined by cobogo walls and pronounced overhangs that create a feel not dissimilar to the desert architecture of Palm Springs

Dimitris Karampatakis, co-founder of K-Studio, said: 'We had to be very, very careful about using the exact same footprint for internal spaces [in the rooms and bungalows], but the freedom that we had with that in-between space, that Goldilocks moment between indoors and out, was what gave us the opportunity to stitch the architecture into the surroundings, and kind of elongate that moment of stitching.'

One&Only Aesthesis private room swimming pool

(Image credit: One&Only Aesthesis)

The result, mixed with interiors by specialist studio Muza Lab, branding by London design studio Afroditi, and gentle, native-to-the-region planting, encompasses a mix of 127 bungalows, residences and larger villas. 'We wanted to create a sense of soft luxury that specifically spoke to the Greek Riviera. It has that nostalgic touch, with the use of blue and white, the warmth of the marble and the olive wood, and the beautifully textured linens hand-designed in Greece,' says Inge Moore, founder of Muza Lab.

Balancing fine luxury with functionality and sustainable architecture, One&Only Aesthesis doesn't only talk the talk, but walks the walk too, as the property has gained the LEED and SITES certifications for its sensitive environmental approach. This is supported by the planting of some 200,000 Mediterranean and native species across the resort, strategic heating, cooling, lighting and taps systems, and using locally sourced materials. 

One&Only Aesthesis view from villa deck and water

(Image credit: One&Only Aesthesis)

Upon arrival, a main building that evokes 1960s Hollywood-meets-Athens glamour contains the reception area. Down a dramatic, sweeping staircase is the Alelia bar, and the Ora by Ettore Botrini restaurant, where the Michelin-starred Greek-Italian chef serves sumptuous, modern Mediterranean food – such as shellfish pasta and lobster dishes. 

Stepping out from here, a cascade of terraces offer varying degrees of privacy for lounging and sunbathing between three pools – two larger ones and one for children, as this is a resort that welcomes families too, with carefully planned childcare and entertainment provision for its younger guests. All this is to be enjoyed, of course, if you don't want to go to the resort's private beach, a few steps away. 

One&Only Aesthesis bar in main building

(Image credit: One&Only Aesthesis)

A second restaurant in the building next door, El Bar de Paco Morales, offers refined meals with an Andalucian twist, in Moorish and Mediterranean flavours and street-style bites. A third restaurant is currently in the pipeline, seeking to enrich further the campus culinary options.

One&Only Aesthesis also comprises Greece's first Guerlain spa. Beauty, grooming and wellness converge in the serene, minimalist structure that houses the spa and gym, featuring a swimming pool at its heart and open-air pergola-covered terraces for al fresco yoga and Pilates sessions. 

One&Only Aesthesis living space in large suite

(Image credit: One&Only Aesthesis)

Working with the French brand's world-famous products, specialists treat guests to anything from massages to facials – from an à la carte menu, or created bespoke according to individual needs. Highlights include experiences tapping on the rejuvenating powers of the Orchidée Impériale, a rare Black Orchid.

A private chapel with bespoke hagiographic art, and a tree-filled nature reserve that comes with its own set of ancient Greek ruins, complete the 21-hectare site – which is available to guests for connecting with nature through a variety of outdoor activities during their stay, including bicycle and running trails, but also tennis, Padel and more. 

One&Only Aesthesis restaurant

(Image credit: One&Only Aesthesis)

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).