By Frixos Drakontidis
At “SantAnna”, the beach bar with the largest seawater swimming pool in Europe, its owners hope to provide unparallel services for its VIP customers. And they are definitely on their way with their underwater suites for wealthy customers looking for some quality.
Fittingly we follow Anna, a beautiful blonde from Lithuania, holding a glass of pricey champagne. We find ourselves on a small “island”, in the middle of a huge swimming pool, more than 2,000 sq.m large. Around 1 million litres of water is needed to fill the gigantic pool! She signals us to follow her.
We are suddenly underwater, sitting before a bunch of other impressive girls in very revealing swimsuits giving us hypnotic, promising looks. Following a staircase that leads to the bottom of the pool, we are in the suite with its comfortable mattress, the simple décor and the window showing the turquoise waters and the body shapes of unsuspecting figures swimming.
Two meters below the pool water, the only sound that can be heard is that of popping corks of expensive French champagne bottles.
“Here you can listen to your own music,” says the executive chef and co-owner of “SantAnna” Christos Athanasiadis, who together with Dimitris Christoforidis are the initiators of this original concept
Dimitris left for America at the age of 17 to return almost thirty years after studying economics in Los Angeles and after passing from the services industry to marketing and then to managing major restaurants.
Today, along with his partner and chef Christos Athanasiadis, they own three restaurants “Nice ‘n’ Easy” in Kolonaki, Kifissia and Mykonos, where the gourmet restaurant “Nesaea”, “Exquisite Catering” and the all-day beach restaurant “SantAnna”.
The creation of underwater suites at the bottom of the pool of “SantAnna” was an idea floated by architect Spyros Tsagaratos, who was called upon to realize the dream of the owners of the company to create private areas for everyday use, aimed at tourists of high income, primarily Arabs and Russians. Who else could afford suites going for around 15,000 euros for a few hours?
“We have already made 10 reservations for the summer and we are still at the beginning,” Mr Athanasiadis tells “THEMA”, waiting for the end of Ramadan in a few days from today to have a clearer picture.
At a price of 15,000 euros, the customer can have anything he or she desires. A private chef, private spa services, sparkling wine and other expensive beverages, as well as a private boat in case they want to island hop to the island of Delos to enjoy the sunset. The only thing he can not do is spend the night in the suite, as once the music is off, the client is forced to leave the room and return the next day if he so desires.
“SantAnna” is a great investment in a special place, almost on the beach of Parga. Featuring acres of restaurants, cafés, and exclusive services, this business differs from the rest on the island, mainly due to the large swimming pool that dominates the center.
The pool was featured in Time magazine and in the British Independent.
Mykonos is the island of extravagance and the “more expensive the better” rule is pervasive. Therefore, the beach bar-restaurant on the island, the construction cost of which exceeded 6 million euros is no exception to this rule.
In the central area of “SantAnna” there is a restaurant with innovative Greek-Mediterranean cuisine and a sushi & raw bar, specially designed decks that host famous DJs from all over the world, while a modern spa & beauty salon is currently under construction in the basement.
The “SantAnna” restaurants have been designed in an architectural style to follow the cyclical form of the Cycladic islands and overlook the Aegean Sea.
Chef Christos Athanasiadis has come up with a menu of seasonal dishes inspired by his farm-to-table philosophy of the “Nice ‘n’ easy” group. This year there will also be a Greek tavern on the beach with local cuisine and Greek products.