Hotel with a Story

Naxos Experiences – ELaiolithos is sure to leave you with a story to tell, and a deeper understanding and knowledge of Naxos island….

….an ongoing love affair with the region….

The founder, creator, and owner of ELaiolithos Luxury Villa Suites in Naxos, Greece, is a living proof that travel has the power to change lives, and helps you grow. Born and raised in Naxos’ island mountainous region, Helen Marakis was exposed from her early childhood to pristine nature, local village life, farm-to-table food, hiking, and supporting the local community. As a child, her hobbies involved playing outside in nature, climbing up steps and onto rooftops, going to the fields with her father, and completing all jobs related to the sustainable food production, observing the baby birds and climbing up to their nests; but the most significant of all was the gathering of olives, in which she was the fastest kid in the whole village. She used to gather olives from the ground so fast that people used to call her to help them and paid her 50 drachmas for every bucket she collected.

Helen Marakis – a lifelong advocate of sustainable living

All of Naxos’s experiences occurred until the age of 18 when she moved to the United States, specifically New York, for her studies. After graduating, she started her own family, established a business, and devoted her free time to trips with her children to upstate New York, immersing themselves in nature. Eco-friendly living has always been a fundamental aspect of their lifestyle.

She always felt nostalgia, that warm, fuzzy emotion you experience when thinking of fond memories from the past, regardless of personal milestones and achievements. Nostalgia is bittersweet—mostly happy and comforting, but with a hint of sadness. This feeling motivated her to return to her native island and village, giving rise to the creation of ELaiolithos Luxury Green Villa Suites.

It was only much later, after 30 years, that an idea and a dream blossomed within her to build a different kind of sanctuary on Naxos Island—an eco-friendly place, a home away from home where guests could immerse themselves in the extraordinary feeling emanating from this place and simply dream, just as we all experienced in our childhood.

Focusing on Authenticity: The past experiences on Naxos, her deep connection with nature, her father’s village, Heimarros, boasting a unique lunar landscape, and her mother’s village, Moni (where ELaiolithos is located), fascinated her from a young age. Growing up in this environment, with Naxos experiences ingrained since birth, she found herself captivated by the expansive views from this vantage point. This enchantment became the driving force behind the creation of a sustainable villa complex with suite units, ensuring every guest has the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the unparalleled beauty of Naxos’ nature.

Helen expresses, “ELaiolithos integrates everything in my life, and I extend an invitation to the world to visit and experience Naxos. I felt the beauty of this place needed to be shared, allowing people to come here and enjoy the same views, landscapes AND FOOD that I was fortunate to encounter. I aspire to offer and share my genuine philoxenia, rooted in my love and passion for Greece’s Naxos mountainous region.”

Her sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle gave birth to an eco-conscious accommodation on Naxos Island, Greece – the ELaiolithos Luxury Villa Suites. In this serene haven, visitors encounter the authentic Naxos, a departure from the well-trodden tourist paths, allowing them to embrace the local way of life. ELaiolithos reveres the wisdom of nature, the enchanting surroundings, and the divine aura, aligning seamlessly with the desires of those who seek a sustainable luxury accommodation in Naxos to retreat, all while respecting and preserving the natural environment. The name “ELaiolithos” was inspired by a cherished pastime – olive collecting; ELaiolithos, the millstone used for grinding olives.

ELaiolithos is a compound word formed by joining the two words
“Elaion” and “ Lithos”
and reveals also
EL Eleni/Ellas/Ellin/Light – AIO/ELAIO Eternal/Olive – LITHOS Stone
The Eternal Stone of Eleni, inside the Olive Groves

ELAIOLITHOS meaning in Greek
ELAIOLITHOS meaning in Greek

Construction was completed within 3 years, ELaiolithos opened its doors to the world in late 2017, and Helen shifted her career from a decorator in New York to full time hotelier in Naxos. She is the founder, creator, designer, and inspiration force behind this whole sustainable project.

“A goal of an eco-friendly accommodation was not just met; ELaiolithos surpassed it. It came out exactly as I had imagined it – an accommodation with a sensuous aura, attentive and authentic just as the surrounding area. ELaiolithos was built with love for humanity, respect for Naxos, respect for the environment, and passion for life. Opening up an area as a travel destination is a huge responsibility and risk, and needs every possible effort to preserve the original character of the area. That requires authenticity and transparency, but it comes very easily because it matches perfectly with my personality.” ~  Helen says

ELaiolithos provides extraordinary Naxos experiences, granting convenient access to numerous picturesque and historic stone villages in Naxos, Greece. Revel in the breathtaking vistas of the Drymalia valley, the majestic Mount Zeus with its eight pyramid-shaped mountain peaks, and the panoramic backdrop of Ios and Sikinos islands in the Aegean Sea. Visitors inevitably fall for the charm of this secluded, lush green, and fertile region—home to thousands of ancient olive trees. Immerse yourself in village life, seemingly frozen in time, explore centuries-old monuments nearby, and savor fresh culinary delights crafted from farming traditions that have endured through the ages.


What resonates with you the most about ELaiolithos and the mountainous region of Naxos?

I hold a deep affection for the mountains; they’re honest, pure, simple, and divine. The serenity and tranquility of the region captivates me, providing a space where one can either choose to do nothing or engage in everything, relishing the delightful sense of freedom. Here, life unfolds before you, and I find joy in contemplating its beauty. It’s a place where you can truly hear, feel, smell, and understand—a sustainable living that naturally evolves. Heartiness emanates from within.

My ultimate goal is to provide guests with not just accommodation, but a memorable experience filled with warmth, comfort, and genuine hospitality. From the cozy ambiance of our rooms to the personalized attention you receive, every aspect of your stay is designed to exceed your expectations and leave you with cherished memories to take home.

Our perspective on the world? It’s all about spreading happiness and healthiness at ELaiolithos.

Our vision at ELaiolithos is to foster happiness and well-being by guiding our guests on a journey to rediscover the transformative power of nature. Here, amidst the breathtaking beauty of our surroundings, nature’s presence holds the potential to deeply influence the human psyche. ELaiolithos stands as a humble endeavor to reignite the forgotten connection between the human soul and Mother Nature. Immerse yourself in the authentic essence of Naxos at ELaiolithos and experience the rejuvenating embrace of the natural world.

Credits: I dedicate ELaiolithos to my three wonderful children, whom I love deeply. I express my heartfelt gratitude to them for their patience and understanding during this significant and challenging project that demanded my full attention and time, inevitably reducing the moments I shared with them. Now, ELaiolithos enables them to forge a close connection with Naxos, encouraging a deep exploration of their mother’s roots and fostering cherished family moments with relatives during their visits.

Thanks to all my friends for sharing my happiness when starting the project of ELaiolithos and following with encouragement when it seemed too difficult to be completed.

Speaking of encouragement, I must mention my dear brother Mihali for his continuing contribution throughout the process of this project. Special thanks to him. Without his work, patience, expertise, honesty and decency, this project would not have completed. He is a great person and I can only be grateful to be his sister.

Last, I send special thanks to all the teams they have worked on the site and they were hard working, honest and prompt and completed their job with excellence. They know who they are.

I thank you all for your part in my journey……..

Building ELaiolithos was another Naxos experience for me….

Wishing to all of you,

A Heart filled with Love, and as the king of Olympian gods, Zeus, said:

“A true hero is not measured by the size of his strength, but

By the strength of his Heart”

at 500 meters in English

A touch of  Naxos Folklore & History…
on the premises….

ELaiolithos is the first, the one and only luxury green accommodation of its kind in central Naxos. It’s one-of-a-kind, contemporary, with character, a warm heart and authentic Naxian soul.

There is so much to see and do in and around the premises. One of the many surprises that awaits for you in the entrance of ELaiolithos is the display of the original antique olive oil press, dating back to 1540 -1969 according to the hearsay of the locals (from the adjacent Moni village). It is a unique attraction; that was carried with great difficulty onto our premises, along with different objects of that period.

Everything has been re-assembled as found in its original environment; the olive press, the huge stones and the elaborate rotating mechanism, the millstone – it’s all there and catch the visitor’s eye!

Olives were placed on this large stone slab of 3.5 tons weight, where pressure was applied with a round stone (the millstone) 1.5 ton weight. This procedure produced a paste which was then taken to the olive press. The first type of press consisted of one or two millstones, rotated with the help of a thick, wooden beam. This was the “Trapetum” (from the Greek verb “trepo” – to turn).This type of mill of mills was used also in Byzantine times. After the 18th century, olive presses in Europe were driven by machines, but up until the 1970s, animal-driven presses were still in use in Greece.

The olive press along with all its accessories was offered to Helen Marakis by Eleni and Dimitrios Nanouri from Moni village. This rare folklore treasure represents many centuries of local life. ELaiolithos displays it in its entrance and offers the opportunity to its guests to come in contact with this local cultural inheritance. This exhibit constitutes an authentic and real evidence of the traditional way of making olive oil.

ELaiolithos is the Greek word for the mashing antique olive oil millstone in the ancient times (or elaiopetra or melopetra). ELaiolithos (Frantoio) is the large cylindrical rolling stone that crushed the olives to produce the pulp and ELaiolithos’ role was to turn and roll on the large stone. The stone was held upright by an axis, which was connected to a long handle. The handle was pushed by humans or animals. The mashing stone rolled along a cavity on the circumference of the base crushing the olives. The crushed olives would then be collected into a basket-then further processed by the oil press.

ELaiolithos is an accommodation in harmony with its surrounded environment by aged olive trees and strong rocks. It has been designed with attention to detail and offers a pleasant and relaxing flow of indoor and outdoor living with privacy and tranquility.

Let yourself be spoiled, and above all Enjoy!