Skorpios, once Aristotle Onassis‘ private island in the Ionian Sea, and now owned by Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, is turning into an ultra-luxury VIP resort.
The once near-mythical paradise and playground of the world’s elite from the 1960s to the 1980s is poised to enter a new era.
Recently Mycenae, S.A., the company that has assumed the development of the island, asked the Greek government for an extension in building permits.
According to reports, Rybolovlev’s so-called VIP Exclusive Club in Scorpios will feature a massive 60-bedroom resort, a helipad, a spa and superyacht marina, stables, a soccer field and even an amphitheater.
Designs by Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta – the same company that designed the new Library of Alexandria in Egypt, Europe’s first underwater restaurant and the headquarters of Le Monde newspaper in Paris – show the state-of-the-art resort among the trees on the picturesque Ionian island.
The project was described as a “James Bond-style” resort by The Art Newspaper – with reports that Rybolovlev could move his art collection there.
The resort, which will be divided into nine building blocks, will be available to rent to VIP guests on a weekly basis for between €950,000 and €1.8 million, with no more than 50 guests allowed on the island at any time.
Even though the Ionian Sea island now belongs to Rybolovlev, Greeks still call Skorpios “the island of Onassis.”
Rybolovlev is also well-known for his portfolio of expensive properties, including two chalets in Gstaad, Switzerland, for which he paid a reported $130 million apiece, and a Palm Beach mansion formerly owned by Donald Trump, which he snapped up for $95 million.
History of Skorpios, the “Onassis island”
The irregularly-shaped island is next to Lefkada in the Ionian Sea. It spans 83.2 hectares (205 acres) and has two main axes of about 1,500 meters and 1,000 meters.
Skorpios, which was bought by the Greek shipping magnate in 1963, is believed to have cost him the equivalent of about $11,000 in today’s money.
It is heavily forested from south to north and features over 200 varieties of trees imported to the once nearly-barren island by Aristotle Onassis himself. It has sandy beaches, most notably East Beach, which was created by the magnate.
In order to achieve that, sand was brought from Salamis Island for that express purpose. Onassis also built harbor facilities in the bay on the north side for his massive yacht.
Numerous high-profile guests stayed on the island during the time of Onassis. State leaders, politicians, actors, and artists enjoyed the host’s hospitality and the natural beauty of Skorpios.
Skorpios was also the place of Onassis’ wedding to former United States First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy on October 20, 1968.
In 1971, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was famously photographed nude by a paparazzo while lying on a Skorpios beach.
Upon Onassis’s death, the island passed on to his daughter, Christina, and then in turn to her daughter, Athina Onassis Roussel, the only surviving heir.
Skorpios was a labor of love for the Greek tycoon. It was also a love nest for him and the two great loves of his life: Maria Callas and Jacqueline Kennedy.
Onassis, along with his son, Alexander, and his daughter, Christina, are all buried on Skorpios.