«Desiterra Resort» in Santorini. A diamond in Cyclades. Photo via desiterra.gr
The origins of Desiterra Resort in Santorini sound like a fairy tale, admittedly. It goes something like this: Once upon a time, Dimitris wanted to show Vivian the island that had enchanted him, which was none other than Santorini. So, he took her on a journey to the island.
On that trip, Dimitris decided to ask Vivian to marry him. She said yes. So, the next time they visited the island of their love months later, they explored every corner of it. They probably became even more familiar with it than some locals. Together, they formed a dream: to build their own hotel there. That dream became a goal and today, the goal is a reality: the Desiterra Resort.
Five years ago, they built Desiterra (Desire + Terra), in the “Land of Desire,” with the expectation that every tourist who visits their resort will feel what they felt when they first came to Santorini. They want their guests to experience beautiful sunrises and discover their own innermost desires and wishes and make them a reality.
This hotel was built with a lot of love and passion by two people who loved the island from the very first time they visited it. Their primary goal is to create a hotel that meets the needs of every visitor but respects the island’s unique Cycladic architecture. Their vision for Desiterra, says Dimitris Tryfonopoulos, is to offer the highest quality services at competitive prices in an atmosphere that allows every visitor to experience the island at its best and most authentic—to see, to smell, to enjoy, to taste, to experience Santorini at its best and return to their homeland with rich memories of the hospitality they felt while they were there.
A graduate of economics and postgraduate studies in business administration (MBA) from American University, his career began a month after that first visit in the summer of 1991. Then he visited the island again in 1998, with his wife, then his partner, so he could show her the island that had so enchanted him. She accepted and since then Santorini is now part of her soul as well.
Of course, the creation of a hotel was not just an emotional decision for them, but also an objective choice for them, one made with technical precision and analysis. Santorini, apart from being one of the most beautiful islands in Greece, has also been, as a destination, a leader in Greek and world tourism for decades! It is now considered one of the most famous and one of the most beautiful islands in the world, not just Greece. For Demetri, Santorini is firmly in the top ten of the best, most beautiful and most quality tourist destinations on the planet.
To pick the spot for their dream took hard work and a lot of planning. He adds: “We kept returning the island, exploring it from one end to the other. There is no part of the island that we have not been to. When we had to choose the place where we would create our own hotel, we even flew a helicopter over the island and carefully chose a place we had visited earlier and had had a memorable swim on a unique beach, a well-hidden treasure, situated just a 4 to 5 minute drive from Fira and the main square of the capital of Santorini. Locals had long known about this magical spot, but it has only recently been discovered by tourists. This magical spot is located in Kontochori, just two kilometers southeast of the island’s capital, Fira, near “Exo Gialos” in the area called “Kanakari,” the locale of a unique stone tomato-canning plant, which is no longer operational. It is near the central point of the island’s shore that we all know, that is, exactly near the spot where passengers disembark from cruise ships and take the funicular or donkeys to climb up the cliff of the “Caldera.”
Santorini, of course, is world famous for its beautiful sunsets, but Demetris notes, that it should become even more famous, perhaps, for its magical sunrise! Visitors enchanted by this unique daily spectacle rush to immortalize it at every opportunity they have.
So, that is where Demetri and Vivian bought a big enough piece of land, about thirty acres, to build a traditional Santorini village! Desiterra consists of stone-built, bio-climatic houses that fully respect the incomparable local architecture of the Cyclades. It is a place that embodies a marriage of white and volcanic stone, red and black. An authentic Aegean area. These are unique villas, from 50 to 150 square meters, all with private pools and stunning sea views, surrounded by beautiful gardens with local varieties of plants and the unique beauty of Santorini vineyards. The villas meet the goals of the creators of the Desiterra Resort: to allow each visitor to feel as if he or she is an authentic resident of Santorini, not a tourist, with his or her own cottage on the island.
Each guest has his or her own bio-climatic villa, built only with natural materials—stone, wood, iron, and glass. And each villa has its own view, its own pool, its own courtyard full of flowers and local plants, creating a high sense of privacy in the space to give each guest the feeling that he is at home and allows him or her to relax from the very first day they arrive and spend a wonderful, unforgettable, authentic Greek holiday at Desiterra.
At the same time, the resort offers guests a large central 35-meter swimming pool of 35 meters with an excellent immersed pool bar with stools that allow guests to enjoy their drinks, wine or coffee while they are in the water, overlooking the sea and the island’s volcanic mountains, “drafo,” as the locals call it, a mountain range uniquely carved by the wind and the rain for thousands of years.
Desiterra also features a well-kept restaurant, overlooking the pool and the sea, for its visitors to enjoy unparalleled Santorini flavors, Greek dishes prepared by a skilled chef and paired with unique local wines. A gym, mini-market, and a wonderful reception area with open indoor and outdoor lounges are also part of the resort. The space is welcoming for all people, without deviation, including families with children.
With the ordeal that we have all experienced and continue to experience worldwide due to the pandemic, Desiterra is an ideal refuge: it’s safe and quiet, a place to completely relax, after so many months of isolation and quarantine, a place that offers relief from the anxiety over our health and the health of those we love. It’s an emotional “bridge” to return to the coveted regularity and normality we all desire!
For those of us that live in big cities, daily life can be difficult and challenging, even more so during a pandemic. We need to really escape during the holidays—and Desiterra gives every guest the chance to do so in a place where they will enjoy unforgettable Greek hospitality and the insurmountable feeling of liberation. Here, a guest will feel really free, free from the burdens and boredom of everyday life. Here, a guest will enjoy privacy and tranquility, allowing him or her to be able to mentally and physically relax
And Tryfonopoulos adds: “The most difficult to achieve dreams will come true as long as you make those dreams your goals, and we have had this goal for many years. It was difficult for us for two reasons, one, we are not from Santorini so we didn’t have the land and two, we didn’t buy a ready-made hotel.” These two lovers of Santorini had to find the land, buy it, and build everything from scratch.
“No obstacle could stop us from fulfilling that dream,” he says. “And we are very proud to have achieved our goal and to have such excellent ratings from our visitors every year, which is the ultimate reward for both me and my family and the entire Desiterra staff.”
Desiterra’s owners are also proud of the support they receive from their partners, the Desiterra working group. Demetri himself has 28-years of experience in the private sector, as head of major companies and organizations, and as such has the significant management know-how to select the right partners and employees to achieve the goals of the companies he represented. All of this has been important in shaping Desiterra.
“ I made the most of all this experience at Desiterra, as I firmly believe that a company is built primarily on the recruitment process, the selection of the right associates and highly demanding employees, and the creation of a close-knit team with common goals, vision and values,” he says.
So, the entire staff of Desiterra Santorini, Demetri says, want to create a unique, exciting, and unforgettable experience for every visitor of the resort, an experience that will be different from the first moment someone arrives at the hotel and continues throughout their stay in each guest’s private and beautiful stone-built villa, with its sunny courtyard, flower garden and a spotless private pool with beautiful sea views!
In case you’re wondering, where did the name of the resort come from? “After discussing many names and ideas, we chose “Desiterra” because it combines two words—desire and terra, Latin for land, so the name literally means, “Land of Desire.” And that is what the resort tries to create for each of its guest. Its name then becomes its motto: here is the place where your desires can blossom and come to fruition, here is where your desires, whatever they may be, will become a reality.
Desiterra’s dream holidays start early in the spring, just before the Easter, continue with the most beautiful and exciting summer in the world, and end in the enchanting, Cycladic autumn.
Desiterra, where your desires blossom!