When Heraklion, Crete born, Athens and Paris educated, architect Myron Toupoyannis, first set eyes on Kapsaliana in Rethymno, Crete in the ‘70’s, he had no idea that a couple of decades later, this desolate, almost forgotten village would become a pioneering, world class resort; advocating an environmentally sound, albeit luxurious and exciting lifestyle.
Equal to none, nowadays Kapsaliana, Village hotel stands out on a multiplicity of levels: A breathtaking natural location steeped in history and tradition; a paradigmatic work of architectural restoration; effortlessly chic accommodation; incredible food; unforgettable experiences; an inspiring ethos of sustainability and service that is uncannily intuitive and wholeheartedly hospitable.
The unique contemporary narrative of Kapsaliana suites in Crete, is intertwined with its equally special legacy and past. Let us not forget after all, that it has been a vital source of life for more than 200 years.
The story begins at the time of the Venetian Occupation. Kapsaliana in Rethymno, Crete was then part of the Arkadi Monastery estate, the island’s most emblematic cenobium; which would subsequently play a pivotal- heroic and dramatic- role during the War of Independence. Around 1600, a little chapel dedicated to Archangel Michael is constructed and a hamlet thus begins to develop. More than an eon later, in 1763, Filaretos, the Abbot of Arkadi Monastery decides to build an olive oil mill in the area: it’s soil and morphology make it ideal for this undertaking. The olive seed is at the time key to the daily life: it is a staple of nutricion, it is used in religious ceremonies and it functions as a source of light and heat.
More and more people come to work at the mill and built their houses around it. The settlement flourishes. At its peak Kapsaliana in Rethymno, Crete boasts 13 families and 50 inhabitants with the monk-steward of the Arkadi monastery in charge.
The settlement however gradually wanes after WW2, as the mill-a source of life for more than 200 years- closes down in 1955. When architect Myron Toupoyannis discovers this place in the 1970’s, only seven residents remain. He falls in love with the place; after all his professional interests lie with the restoration of similar traditional settlements; in fact his dissertation in the National Metsovian Technical University of Athens is a study about the development prospects of Kritsa, a humble, mountainous village in Crete. Toupoyannis after visiting many artfully restored villages in Italy and France, decides to buy a couple of crumbling residences in Rethymno Kapsaliana. His purpose is yet unclear; and it is merely pure and undiluted instinct that drives his decisions.
After vanquishing many obstacles-as well as significant time and money constraints-Toupoyannis’ vision eventually acquires a more specific shape and form. Works of restoration at Kapsaliana in Rethymno, Crete are painstaking and lengthy. Above all the architect’s first and foremost concern is to do justice to the land’s legacy and spirit; and to the wisdom of the local, vernacular architecture. In 2008 Kapsaliana Village hotel opens its gates and greets its first visitors. Reviews are unanimously dithyrambic, but the creator of Kapsaliana Village hotel, does no rest in his laurels. In fact, Kapsaliana Village hotel is a never-ending work in progress: A dynamic community that never stops evolving; and which strives to offer its guests unparalleled experiences that capture the essence of now.