Mykonos has long been a hot vacation spot amongst the rich and famous and it’s easy to see why. The Greek island is, after all, known for its incredible beaches, crystal clear surrounding waters and lively party atmosphere. It’s a place where long days of shopping in designer boutiques or sunbathing by the hotel pool turn into long nights of fine dining and letting your hair down in one of the island’s many iconic nightclubs – a summer destination of the very highest standard.
In one corner of the island, however, sits a resort that feels like a world of its very own – Scorpios.
Far more than just a restaurant and bar, Scorpios is described as a holistic beachside experience. Artists, healers, musicians, dancers and DJs all gather year-round to delight the guests at Scorpios, a venue that aims to bring together the social, spiritual and artistic life of the island community – and appears to succeed in every way.
The visionaries behind this incredible destination are Mario Hertel and Thomas Heyne, who opened Scorpios in 2015 and have seen the venue go from strength to strength ever since.
The journey to bring Scorpios began for the two in 2004. Mario Hertel, an experienced nightclub operator in his former home city of Berlin, had made his way to Mykonos for the summer, hungry for a change in his pace of life. The following months were spent travelling the island on a 50-meter long military boat – full of DJs, dancers, bartenders and promoters – throwing private parties for the island’s faithful visitors. Mario quickly fell in love with his surroundings.
Reluctant to leave, he was offered the perfect opportunity when he was offered the chance to turn around a struggling nightclub in the area. He took on the challenge, of course, but decided to enlist a friend to help him with his new venture – Thomas Heyne appeared to be the perfect man for the job.
Together, they turned the nightclub’s fortunes around entirely, transforming it into the now world-famous Paradise Club, a venue that has dominated the nightlife in Mykonos ever since. It was immediately clear that this business partnership was one that could go on to be very successful!
Ten years later, however, and with Paradise Club quickly climbing the ranks of ‘world’s best nightclubs’ lists everywhere, Mario and Thomas began to feel that it was time to handover Paradise Club to someone new. Their taste had changed – with Thomas describing how the pair ‘couldn’t stand’ EDM anymore – and their desired lifestyle had transformed with it. It was time to switch directions once again.
They discussed ideas and visions for the future and eventually decided exactly what they wanted to create – a holistic concept that was focused entirely on cultivating the most memorable experience for each and every guest. As fate would have it, they were soon offered the chance to take on the island’s San Giorgio (now known as Soho Roc House) hotel – neither of them had any idea how to run a hotel, but it certainly wasn’t going to stop them from trying!
It was a risk that paid off, too. Within months, Thomas and Mario had transformed San Giorgios into a romantic, bohemian haven, the perfect place for those visiting Mykonos to relax and unwind. The mission at the core of San Giorgio was, in Thomas’ words, to create an atmosphere that made you feel as though you were visiting your best friend’s house.
Just a stone’s throw away from the hotel, the pair had already spotted their next project – a bay, offering stunning views of the Mykonos coastline, that housed a restaurant.
Having noticed the spot for the first time shortly after moving to Mykonos, both Thomas and Mario immediately saw the potential in the hidden jewel of the area, describing its ‘spiritual atmosphere’. It felt hidden away, private, almost magical. They felt that they simply needed to have it, a feeling that had only grown in the years since and had overwhelmed them since opening the hotel.
For seven years, they had been ‘begging’ the owner to let them take care of it – and just a year after taking over San Giorgio, he finally agreed.
Ecstatic that their plans could finally go ahead, Thomas and Mario put the wheels in motion for their long-time dream to become a beautiful reality: a Greek agora (a traditional Greek gathering place) where art came together with food, music, healing and design. A place for rituals and relaxation, a paradise of its very own.
With this aim in mind, nature played a huge part in the design of the space. Thomas and Mario decided that their plan would be to build into and around nature, not on top of it – they wanted their brand new haven to feel as if it could have been a staple on the island for hundreds of years.
With the design of the resort and its core principals decided, all that remained was to settle on the name. Scorpios made sense to Thomas and Mario, paying homage to the family resort Skorpios, once owned by Jackie Kennedy, who popularised Mykonos as a favourite destination of the rich and famous.
It was a slow start for the pair after opening, with the early days of Scorpios, unfortunately, coinciding with the beginning of the Greek economic crisis – not only that, but they admit that many didn’t quite ‘get’ the idea behind Scorpios at first. The unorthodox music, ritualistic atmosphere and focus on art and healing were certainly not to everyone’s tastes.
The stress took its toll on Mario and Thomas, who found themselves scraping money together and making difficult decisions about which part of the restaurant to fund and which they would have to for-go until the money started to come in. They had always known that their idea was new and came with risk, but they were surprised by just how difficult it had been to get started.
Still, Mario and Thomas were committed to their vision and weren’t willing to compromise on everything that they had wanted Scorpios to be. They continued on, focusing on delivering the best quality experience that they possibly could to each and every guest – before long, it worked.
Not only does has Scorpios delighted those who happened to be staying on Mykonos and had decided to visit, but its influence has grown to the point that Scorpios is now the very purpose of some guests’ visits. Mario and Thomas have even noticed guests travelling from LA and London to stay on the island overnight, simply for the chance to visit Scorpios for themselves.
These days, Scorpios had earned its place as one of Mykonos’ most iconic island spots, where guests leave the real world behind and enter a paradise – a place where everything else stops and the rest is your moment.
Mario Hertel and Thomas Heyne wanted to create a holistic beach experience. Looking back on the legacy of Scorpios now, it’s clear that they created so much more.
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