There are more than 200 inhabited islands of Greece scattered around the Ionian and Aegean Seas, several of which from Spetses to Santorini, Milos to Mykonos, Patmos to Paros have long been legendary hotspots for the well-heeled traveler. Soon enough, another will join the list: Skorpios.
In 1963, shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis purchased the island for the relatively modest sum of 3.5 million drachmas, the equivalent of about $14,000 today. Located off the western coast of mainland Greece as part of the Ionian islands, the 205-acre Skorpios was essentially barren. In order to turn it into a private refuge and playground worthy of the billionaire, Onassis imported 200 different types of trees, brought over sand from the island of Salamina, and bought a mountain on another island for the water supply. He also built a family compound of three residences, a helipad, and a small marina, in addition to harbor facilities to accommodate his beloved yacht, ‘the Christina’. Jackie and Aristotle Onassis after their wedding on Skorpios, October 1968.
Skorpios hosted numerous high profile parties, most famously Onassis and Jackie Kennedy’s micro-wedding in 1968. The couple exchanged their vows in a small Greek Orthodox ceremony in front of 40 guests (the bride wore Valentino and her sister Lee Radziwill served as matron of honor) before boarding ‘the Christina’ for the reception. After Onassis’s death in 1975, Skorpios was passed down to his daughter Christina; when she died in 1988, the island went to his granddaughter and only surviving descendant Athina.
Athina may have inherited her grandfather’s temperament, but less so his penchant for revelry. In 2013, she sold Skorpios to the billionaire Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev for $153 million. His name might be familiar to those who keep up with the scandals of the 0.001 percent. In 2015, as reported by T&C, Rybolovlev was at the center of the Bouvier Affair, in which he accused Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier of defrauding him of more than $1 billion. For six years before that, he had been mired in one of the most sensational and expensive divorce battles in history, where he nearly had to pay his ex-wife half of his $9 billion fortune but eventually had it negotiated down to $600 million. He was also the owner of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, the painting that sold for a record $450 million at Christie’s in 2017.
While Rybolovlev’s daughter Ekaterina got married on Skorpios in 2015, he had always planned to turn the island into a luxury resort. In December, Greece officially approved the project, which is expected to be completed by 2024. With an estimated cost of $200 million, the ambitious renovation plan includes a 5-star hotel, villas, a farm and vineyard, a spa, a sports complex, an artificial lake, a larger harbor to accommodate more yachts, an amphitheater, and a helipad. Plus, it was reported last month that Rybolovlev also plans to add facilities of”Davos-like standards,” in order for Skorpios to host conferences with UHNWIs.
So, how much will it cost to stay on Ari’s island? Weekly rentals will start at $1.2 million.