An intriguing


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.

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The old

olive oil mill

Filaretos, the Abbot of the historical Arkadi Monastery, completed the construction of a very important oil mill at the Kapsaliana village in 1763. At that time, the olive tree was considered to be a sacred tree, thus the olives and the olive oil were the most important element in daily life.

The precious olive seed was the core component for nutrition, lighting, various therapies, heating and religion.

The ideal soil, safe location and easy waste management rendered the village of Kapsaliana the perfect location for installing the oil mill.

At the period of prosperity, roughly thirty women from the neighbouring villages, five millers and many others would get together at Kapsaliana village for the olive harvest. The entire process was controlled and supervised by the monk-steward of the monastery.

The oil mill was a “source of life” for more than 200 years and it was actually because of the oil mill that the settlement of Kapsaliana was built.

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& Present

From the past... Once the church and the olive oil mill were built, in 1600 and 1763 respectively, the area started being gradually populated. When the settlement reached its heyday, roughly 13 families and 50 people had their houses built in Kapsaliana.

The monastery’s olive oil mill closed down in 1955 and moved to another location. The settlement was abandoned but its historical course was not meant to stop at that point. The restoration process lasted 30 years and gave new life and air to this beautiful area. The Kapsaliana Village Hotel was created with full respect to the history and tradition, maintaining the authenticity of the landscape in a totally unique way.

… to the present. A central, open-air paved square full of flowers was created around the new stone buildings in order to connect them to the old complex with the church. The new buildings were built with the same materials as the old one, stone, wooden beams and carved stones on the doors. In these buildings, you will find now the reception, the restaurant, the kitchen, the offices and the utility rooms. Today, these paved paths, the walls, the flowered courtyards create a functional and stylish ensemble which draws inspiration from the tradition and the simplicity of the land and beauty of Cretan nature.

The people here use to lead a simple life respecting nature and its gifts, enjoying the colors and aromas of flowers and herbs, watching the stars while time flowed peacefully.

Today, the visitor of the Kapsaliana Village Hotel has the chance to enjoy these very same ‘gifts’ staying in the rooms, the suites and all premises of the hotel.

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