How an abandoned sanatorium in the forest was turned into a secluded hotel

Residents of large cities often need a break from the hustle and bustle. If you’ve also caught yourself thinking about it, this project will win your heart. In Greece, a team of architects from K-Studio and Monogon has transformed an abandoned historic sanatorium for tuberculosis patients into a luxury hotel located in the middle of a spruce forest.

We tell you how we gave a second life to the old building and created interiors that you want to admire.

About the sanatorium and rethinking the concept

Hotel Manna is located in Arcadia, southern Greece. The building was built in the 1920s: at that time, they wanted to provide tuberculosis patients with access to the healing power of nature. The location of the structure is really picturesque: it rises on Mount Mainalo, and there is a green spruce forest around it.

It was decided to preserve the concept of the wellness center: today Manna offers 32 rooms, a gym, an SPA center, and a restaurant where dishes are prepared from local products. The Athens-based K-Studio was responsible for the design: they wanted to enhance the sense of privacy and connection with nature.

Why did they decide to redo the abandoned sanatorium? The owner of Manna is a Greek entrepreneur. As a child, he spent summers in the area: he wanted to create a place of recreation that would be available all year round while preserving the history of the building. The goal set for the authors of the project is to rethink the concept of a reserve in the mountains in modern realities.

“When we first arrived, we saw something that took about a century to create. We didn’t want to be selective about such a legacy — it was important for us to cover the whole story,” the authors specify.

About the reconstruction

The renovation was carried out in cooperation with the Athens-based company Monogon: it included extensive construction work, including the reconstruction of the abandoned rear wing and the installation of a new roof. When the sanatorium was closed (and this happened in 1938 after the discovery of penicillin), the building was completely deserted in order to prevent its looting.

The stone window sills were dismantled and moved, and the roof was also removed — the material was used for a nearby hospital. Concrete was used to replace the old window sills, and a new wooden roof was installed on top of the brickwork.

About the layout

The layout was also rethought: a new entrance to the building was designed. Guests enter a series of elegant lounges where they can admire the whimsical columns and ornate ceilings. There is also a bar: the counter looks modern, and the carpentry is a delight.

The restaurant has a more relaxed atmosphere, all thanks to the open kitchen.

About interiors

Works of art are everywhere in the hotel: works by Greek artist Nikos Kanoglou, artist Joanna Bertenshaw, and ceramist Diana Alexander.

Bedrooms are located on the upper floors of the main building (including the new attic floor) and on all levels of the rebuilt north wing. The rooms in the attic are decorated in a modern style, with access to balconies offering incredible views of the forest.

The materials used were as natural as possible and close to the natural palette: for example, matte wood and textiles in natural tones. There is also an interesting feature – the rooms have carefully designed screens for privacy.

Terrazzo floors are inlaid with marble — the passage was used for zoning. The material echoes the stone from which the washbasins are made. And the numbers of each number are carved right into the surface of the floor in front of the entrance.

At each stage of construction, local craftsmen were involved: they were real professionals in the field of working with stone or making carpentry.

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