New experiences help rewire your brain, boosting your mood and wellbeing. Exploring a new place can do wonders for your mental and emotional health as well. Even though it may not be the perfect time to travel, it is the perfect time to plan your next trip for wellness and tranquillity; and Santorini’s natural volcanic backdrop is the perfect place to do it. I talk to Philip S. Michopoulos, the Owner of Kivotos Hotels & Villas Group, about a meditation getaway on Santorini, the unique hotel’s ebony colored structure and the perfect morning with a Champagne breakfast in bed.

Philip, can you tell us a bit about your background to introduce yourself?

I’m the oldest son of the Michopoulos family who are the owners of Kivotos Santorini Hotel as well as its sister property on Mykonos Island, the Kivotos Mykonos Hotel. I have an MBA from ESSEC Business School in collaboration with Cornell University. I have worked my way up to the top management team of Kivotos Hotels & Villas by passing through various hotel departments such as the front office, sales, marketing and reservations.

Guided by my father Spyros Michopoulos longstanding appreciation for architecture and fine & applied arts, Kivotos Hotels & Villas Group has been honing its hospitality expertise for over 25 years offering its guests uniquely luxurious moments and extraordinary memories in the most inspiring settings.

As a general rule, hospitality must run in your DNA. It does not have to do with how well you can run the hotel. It has to do with how hospitable you are, even when invite friends at home for example. If it is already in your blood, then you can build up on how good hotelier you can become.

For whom do you recommend a wellness getaway to Kivotos Santorini?

Located in the peaceful village of Imerovigli, perched high atop the island’s vertiginous cliffs, Kivotos Santorini’s conceptual boldness, unconventional design, private elegance, superb service, a gourmet restaurant famous for its haute cuisine and delicious Mediterranean specialties raises the bar for even the most eclectic vacationer. Honeymooners, explores and lovers of the good life will feel pampered thanks to an array of quality facilities and perks, inspired by the essence of genuine hospitality. Kivotos Santorini is also an ideal destination for a diverse clientele who wish to connect, grow, have fun, and make an impact.

What differentiates your hotel from others on Santorini?

The four suites and four villas of Kivotos Santorini stand out for their bold colour scheme, masterful configuration and aesthetic sophistication. Inspired by the island’s volcanic landscape, our hotel’s unconventional all-black colour scheme stands out against Santorini’s all-white vernacular. Conceived as a badge of differentiation, unconventionality and uniqueness, the choice of colour is also symbolic – black is the absorption of all colours and thus a proclamation of desire, and therefore encapsulates our hotel’s mission: to inspire guests to experience their holiday to the fullest, to let go of everything that holds them back, to listen to their heart’s desires, to feel rather than think, to unapologetically enjoy life.

Do you think travelling is a positive thing for mental health?

It’s no news that travel is good for your physical wellbeing, but a significant amount of scientific research suggests that exploring a new place can do wonders for the mental and emotional health as well. Apart from the obvious fact that you don’t have to go to work (and can legit eat pizza for breakfast), traveling gives you the opportunity to step away from the daily grind. The new events and experiences help rewire your brain, hence boosting your mood and self-confidence.

Do you think that your location, on the beautiful island of Santorini, is the perfect way to boost people’s mood during this unstable period? Why?

As the name suggests (Kivotos means Noah’s Ark in Greek), our hotel in Santorini is a magical hideaway, detached from the past and untethered to the future, that takes guests on a life-changing journey to rediscover themselves and what’s important in life. Kivotos Santorini is also bursting in colours. And the choice isn’t purely for aesthetic reasons. We realized the experience of being in a suite that’s all blue or all red is going to have a different effect on the guest mood. There are few colors in our suite’s palette: yellow to boost happiness, blue to inspire tranquility, red to ignite passion, and green to encourage rejuvenation.

What makes your suites unique?

All suites and villas of Kivotos Santorini are flooded with the finest touches, luxurious conveniences as well as first-class amenities, creating a charming and elegant atmosphere that exudes superior style and craftmanship. Hand-crafted lighting elements inspired by the island’s volcanic landscape in combination with a state-of-the art ambient lighting system allow guests to set the mood of their choice and a SONOS wireless sound system to streams our favorite music throughout the suite, further enhancing the immersive quality of our luxury accommodation.

Can you share about your architecture and design?

Kivotos Santorini exude the vastly appreciated artistic craftsmanship for which my family is known for. The hotel’s ebony colored structure- as if touched by Santorini’s alluring flare- is inspired by the island’s famous volcano and proudly stands out due to its superb construction. Ingenious planning and design allow one to wholly admire the breathtaking 180-degree view of the Caldera and its world-famous volcano that’s plunged into the deep blue Aegean Sea while our strategic location means you can drive right up to the hotel’s entrance unlike most properties which require climbing down several staircases.

Local materials and traditional craftsmanship imbue the hotel with vernacular authenticity while a minimalist design aesthetic conveys contemporary sophistication. From the unique balcony and window layouts to the custom-made furnishings and fabrics, every space has been meticulously designed down to the smallest detail.

Can you describe the perfect day for Kivotos Santorini’s guests?

In Kivotos Santorini you are invited to start your day with a Champagne breakfast in bed. With sublime views, laid back vibes and refreshing cocktails, you can lounge at your private terrace or by the pool and soak up the sun during the day while enjoying the breezy beats at our pool bar. As the day unfolds and you are sufficiently relaxed, it’s the perfect spot to make your plans for the night. You may choose to spend the evening at The Bar enjoying drinks and bites with good company or experience a candlelit dinner at your private terrace overlooking the stunning views of the Aegean Sea and the island’s world-famous sunset.

For those who visit Santorini for the first time, what local dishes do you recommend trying at your restaurant? Are your dishes good for health and wellness?

Our hotel restaurant “MAVRO” presents an à la carte menu featuring Greek and regional specialities which vary from season to season and made up of fresh seasonal ingredients. My favorite meal is the Grilled Calamari with fava bean puree and caramelized baby onions with local sweet wine “Vinsanto”.

Considering the current pandemic and quarantine measures, are you currently open for visitors? What measures do you consider in the hotel for the safety of your guests?

Our Hotel will open on April 2021 and we have launched an enhanced health and safety program. Today more than ever, we are passionate about delivering an exceptional experience and truly memorable moments throughout our guests stay, for an authentic Greek experience enjoyed in complete serenity and total peace of mind. Providing a safer environment for our guests and associates is a top priority. Achieving this is a shared responsibility.

In response to current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented a variety of new protocols and elevated practices, keeping with our high standards of cleanliness and luxury service.

Our hotel has developed an action plan and individual protocols for each section of the establishment to take measures, prevent and manage suspected Covid-19 cases, in order to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus to staff and guests. The action plan is conformed to the rules and hygiene standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) and recommendations of Greece’s public health organization – EODY which are available at our official website.

How can our readers contact you and follow-on social media?

Luckily, we have an extremely motivated and enthusiastic marketing and social media team. If guests require additional information about our hotels, they may contact us by email or by visiting our social media on Facebook or Instagram.