Even as Elias built the first 12-room incarnation of Santa Marina, he groomed his only daughter and heir, Christiana Papageorgiou, to eventually take over the resort (as well as his successful shipping business.) Though Christiana was educated in the UK, she spent every summer in Mykonos learning how to successfully run the family business.
In the late 80s and early 90s, Elias purchased all the land on the peninsula leading to a private beach (making Santa Marina one of the only resorts in Europe with a private beach today) and in 1994 built a variety of different accommodations within the resort, including suites, large apartments, rooms and villas.
After 20 years running the best resort in Mykonos, Elias passed away, and Christiana, now a young mother with children in Athens, inherited Santa Marina. However, far from a carbon copy of her father, Christiana decided to entirely renovate Santa Marina, distinguishing it from the typical blue-and-white Greek hotels that spotted the island. Determined to make Santa Marina unique, she hired interior designer and frequent guest of Santa Marina Silvina Macipe Krontira to completely redecorate and renovate the entire resort. “Even before I knew her well,” says Christiana, “I knew I wanted her in charge.”
Keeping the charm that made the resort a mainstay, yet constructing an entirely new and unique aesthetic, Christiana and Silvina completely renovated the beach and restaurant areas in 2013. Now, in 2014, the team has renovated the rooms and suites, all of which face the Santa Marina private beach. Using elegant tones and natural materials, the resort fuses graceful bespoke décor with every possible amenity desired by the most discriminating guests. “It’s not just about how it looks,” explains Christiana. “We care very much about the comfort of our guests. We concentrate on design, not just aesthetic. How a client feels when he walks into a room, by providing striking design, but also equally important is the usage of the room.”
Santa Marina, a member of the Luxury Starwood Collection since 1999, had a repeat guest ratio of 50% last year. Even sightseers who don’t stay at the resort moor their yachts in the sheltered Ornos Bay, often returning to visit Santa Marina’s destination restaurant, Bayview, which as of this year includes a new sushi bar.
Christiana’s dedication to creating one of the best resorts in Europe has paid off, and the hotel will remain the premier destination for chic yet effortless luxury in Mykonos for decades to come.