3XN - Hotel Niko, from a old, mid-century hotel into a destination fit for the future
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Hotel Niko, from a old, mid-century hotel into a destination fit for the future


Renovation  /  Completed

Nestled into the quiet Mirabello Bay, the seaside town of Agios Nikolaos has been a destination for tourists for decades, gaining popularity in the middle of the 20th century. Today, many of the early hotels are starting to show signs of age. Hotel Niko transforms one of the old, mid-century hotels into a destination fit for the future. More than a simple retrofit, Hotel Niko completely remodels and transforms the outdated and uninspiring hotel into a new 5-star coastal resort, and by retaining the existing structure saved hundreds of tons of embodied carbon.

The hotel is intended to complement and enhance its surroundings. The design is inspired by the Cretan landscape and rooted in local craft and vernacular architecture. The façade’s subtly fluted form is inspired by the gentle waves of Mirabello Bay and provides a striking new image for the hotel. The plaster finish is typical of local buildings and, applied to the contemporary form, helps root the building in its site. The new hotel has sparked a renewed interest in this part of Agios Nikolaos acting as a catalyst for local business. As a result, the local municipality has committed to make improvements to the public waterfront and local businesses have begun to make their own improvements to their premises.

The established options for redeveloping outdated hotels are to demolish and rebuild to an optimised specification, or to retrofit, prolonging the life of the building but likely falling short of the site’s potential and client’s aspirations. Hotel Niko’s unique approach combines the best of both these options. By using the existing structure, while uncovering new spaces, Hotel Niko increases the floor area and provides a much wider range of amenities available to guests. This together with the transformed interiors, façade and building fabric effectively creates a brand-new hotel out of the old one, demonstrating that demolition needn’t be the favoured option for creating world-class hotels. It represents a more sustainable future for hotel development.

Inspired by the Cretan landscape, local craft, and connections to nature, the architectural qualities of Hotel Niko tie the concept together at all scales, from the urban scale down to the details of the finishes. The new architectural expression is instantly visible externally where the beautiful new façade ties the building into its context and enhances the streetscape and waterfront by offering a contemporary vision of a Cretan waterfront hotel. Whether enjoying a dip in a private plunge pool surrounded by greenery or relaxing on the new rooftop terrace enjoying the views over Mirabello Bay, nature and the sea views permeate every guest experience.

By maximising the use of space in the hotel, increasing the floor area and uncovering unused spaces, the transformed hotel offers a much wider range of experiences, allowing guests to curate their day according to their mood. Private terraces surrounded by lush planting offer a quiet refuge, the large main terrace provides a more social experience and an infinity pool, and the intimate roof terrace with comfortable booths offers a luxury experience with the convenience of a serviced bar and a pool with panoramic views over Mirabello Bay. The range of options also avoids crowding of any one space such, for example, the dozens of new private plunge pools mean that guests can enjoy the experience of a cooling dip with sea views without the need to go to the main pool.



 Agios Nikolaos, Crete
 7900 mq
 3XN - Design Architect
 Diarchon - Executive Architect
 Rasmus Hjortshøj


Across diverse typologies and scales, 3XN's work is driven by the conviction that architecture should give something back--to people, to communities, and to our planet. Since 1986, we have specialized in transformational projects: projects that give obsolete structures new form and character, that transform dormant neighbourhoods into thriving cultural hubs, or that unite disparate organizations into collaborative communities. A commitment to the highest standards of sustainability and design excellence unites the studio’s portfolio. Form and performance are not at odds, but rather continuously enhance and shape one another.

With offices in Copenhagen (HQ), Stockholm, Sydney, New York, and London, we are a firm of close to 200 professionals spanning a wide range of nationalities, genders, backgrounds, and specialties. The diverse perspective of our global practice gives greater depth to our holistic methodology which prioritizes aesthetics, behaviour, curiosity, and circularity.


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