Traveller’s picks

by Eftihia Stefanidi

Feb 2019
When few years ago Eftihia, a London-based Creative Director, Producer & self-taught Photographer, came to Greece – her country of origin – to scout for property, she planted the seeds for new horizons. Eftihia is currently the creative behind two upcoming Athenian boutique hotels that are re-imagining hospitality. MONA and SHILA, developed by New York-based group AUM, are set to launch in 2019.

If you could close your eyes and be somewhere else, where would you want to be?

On a boat, floating through Venice. Wallowing around La Roma, Mexico City. On a rocking chair, sun busking in Viñales.

The restaurant where you feel at home.

O Atlantikos. A local gem, this totally unassuming fish tavern still lies hidden in the heart of Downtown Athens. Fisher’s, a time warp of Viennese grandiose, and the warmest service in London.

A hotel room that makes you nostalgic.

It’s not a hotel, but a tree house in Tulum. It was a period of solo traveling, and my wooden abode was a soothing antidote in comparison to the touristy hotels in the vicinity. Concurrently a somber and feral experience.

A travel you could do over and over again without getting bored.

India! The sheer vastness of visual stimulation, culinary marvellousness, and unparalleled cinematic madness, will always make me want to return, for another fix. 

A dish that recently surprised you.

The simple Mediterranean dishes ingeniously transformed into gourmet, at Port Sa’id in Tel Aviv. Fresh pasta with ginger at Il Casta, Hydra island. Everything I ate in Japan….

A holiday place from your childhood.

Villa Efelli, the family beach house by the Ionian Coast of Greece. When I was a child, my parents would relocate me and my sister there for entire summers. At the time, the house was being built and the area was extremely secluded. We lived with basic amenities (hardly any proper electricity), yet we played by the beach till dusk, and read until the oil lamps run out. I love returning every year and the area near Lygia village is a truly beautiful and historical part of Greece. 

If a kid asked you to take him/her on a trip, where would that be?

Sailing across the Aegean Sea! Being at sea is a journey that dictates collaborative spirit, analogue bonding, whilst it brings us close to natural and cosmic elements, without lacking the sense of adventure. I would love to inspire kids with this mode of travel, through the countless wondrous explorations it offers; from astronomy and meteorology, to the mere joys of playing pirates, off to conquer the next island!

If you could choose a dream place to celebrate what would that be?

Namibia’s The Nest, a private lodging of astonishing architecture (inspired by weavers’ nests), which I had the luck to experience at a friend’s wedding. It’s luxurious wilderness, free-style safari drives, and animals roaming free by the pool (what else to ask for a birthday?). In Europe: my friends place in Città de la Pieve, Umbria. They have renovated with incredible taste the most exquisite palazzo. It’s a dream house, soon to be turned into a boutique residence. 

A view you will never forget.

The dunes in Namibia. And every single bush and skyline vista, when I was traveling through such primal landscape. it really feels like the beginnings of earth. Runner up: the temple views in Hampi, India. Just another magic kingdom moment…

Your Meraviglia address that can’t be missing from our collection.

It has to be the two Athenian boutique projects MONA and SHILA, coming soon

A place you wish it was just round the corner.

Cape Town. I lived there for some moons and it would always feel like another home to me.

 

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