Greek island Skorpios set to become new playground for rich and famous

Move over Mustique! How the £100million Greek island Skorpios once owned by Aristotle Onassis and the location of his wedding to Jackie Kennedy is set to become a new luxury playground for the mega-rich

  • Skorpios, located in the Ionian Sea off the west coast of Greece, was once home of the late shipping magnate
  • Sold by Onassis’ granddaughter Athina Onassis Roussel to Russian billionaire’s daughter for £100m in 2013
  • Dmitry Rybolovlev’s daughter Ekaterina has plan to make it luxury resort for ‘ultra high-net-worth individuals’

The private Greek island where Jackie Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis is set to become a luxury resort for the rich and famous, rivaling the likes of Mustique in the Caribbean.

Skorpios, located in the Ionian Sea off the west coast of Greece near Lefkada, was once the home of the late shipping magnate, who bought it for 3.5 million drachmas – roughly £10,000 today – in 1963.

It was sold in the summer of 2013 by Onassis’ granddaughter and sole heir, Athina Onassis Roussel, to Ekaterina Rybolovleva, the 24-year-old daughter of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, for a price tag believed to be around £100 million.

Since then the 205-acre island has been abuzz with activity, according to the locals – with Rybolovlev busy putting her plan to transform Skorpios into an exclusive luxury resort for ‘ultra high-net-worth individuals’. 

Members of the international jet set will be able to rent olive tree-clad Skorpios, located in the Ionian Sea off the west coast of Greece near Lefkada, for a minimum rate of £866,117 (€1million) a week, for up to 50 people at a time, according to reports 

The private Greek island pis where Jackie Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis, and is set to become a luxury resort for the rich and famous, rivaling the likes of Mustique in the Caribbean. Pictured on their wedding day in 1968


Aristotle Onassis bought Skorpios for 3.5 million drachmas – roughly £10,000 today – in 1963. Pictured right with wife Jackie in 1968. Left: Jackie on holiday in Skorpios in 1974

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The ambitious project, entitled VIP Exclusive Club and carrying an estimated cost of 165million euros, was approved by the Greek government in December and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023, ready to welcome its first guests in the summer of 2024.

Members of the international jet set will be able to rent olive tree-clad Skorpios for a minimum rate of £866,117 (€1million) a week, for up to 50 people at a time, according to reports. 

Part of its renovation plans is a new ‘master suite’ where the Rybolovlev family will stay when they are in residence, along with a five star hotel, around 10 large and medium-sized villas, a vineyard, spa, sports complex, artificial lake, five-a-side football pitch, a farm – and of course, a helipad. 

Rybolovlev has not yet decided whether to convert the lavish pink villa that Onassis built for Jackie O entirely into a museum or keep it as a residence. It was renovated several years ago, having existed as a building before Onassis’ time, when it was used as a stable.

Rybolovlev has not yet decided whether to convert the lavish pink villa that Onassis built for Jackie O entirely into a museum or keep it as a residence

Onassis also shipped in sand from neighbouring Salamis Island to create an artificial beach called East Beach, while Jackie O had a small Cyclades-style cottage built in a quiet cove (pictured)

There are also plans to construct a multi-functional centre with the aim of playing attracting closed VIP conferences and offering ‘Davos-like’ services – the Swiss town which hosts the four-day global economic forum. 

An amphitheater will also be constructed for private concerts and performances to be held, and the marina ‘Christina’ (named after the late daughter of the tycoon and the mother of Athina Roussel) will be upgraded so that it can accommodate a large mega-yacht. 

Designed by Norwegian firm Snøhetta – the architecture firm behind the new embodiment of the Library of Alexandria in Egypt and the first underwater restaurant in Europe – the plans will also transform Skorpios into a ‘smart’ island courtesy of a new fibre optic network being installed.

‘The basic idea is to create a green island with the greatest possible use of its existing landscape, structure and incomparable beauty,’ Rybolovlev said last year. 

Members of the international jet set will be able to rent olive tree-clad Skorpios for a minimum rate of €1 million a week, for up to 50 people at a time, according to reports

Part of its renovation plans is a new ‘master suite’ where the Rybolovlev family will stay when they are in residence, along with a five star hotel, around 10 large and medium-sized villas, a vineyard, spa, sports complex, artificial lake, five-a-side football pitch, a farm – and of course, a helipad

The redevelopment of Skorpios will be split into nine sections, with the residences believed to be built into the landscape so that they harmonise with their surroundings and offer privacy and scenic views of neighbouring islands

Designed by Norwegian firm Snøhetta – the architecture firm behind the new embodiment of the Library of Alexandria in Egypt and the first underwater restaurant in Europe – the plans will also transform Skorpios into a ‘smart’ island courtesy of a new fibre optic network being installed

‘Our family’s goal is to create the first luxury accommodation complex in Greece, located on a private island. It will be unique in the Mediterranean. At the same time, all works are being done very carefully and in complete harmony with the environment.’ 

The redevelopment of Skorpios will be split into nine sections, with the residences believed to be built into the landscape so that they harmonise with their surroundings and offer privacy and scenic views of neighbouring islands, reports greece-is.com.

Still widely known among the Greek people as ‘the island of Onassis’, the once nearly-barren sanctuary is heavily forested with over 200 varieties of trees – imported by Aristotle – and features the odd luxury detail, including tennis courts and a boat quay.

Onassis also shipped in sand from neighbouring Salamis Island to create an artificial beach called East Beach, while Jackie O had a small Cyclades-style cottage built in a quiet cove. 

There are also plans to construct a multi-functional centre with the aim of playing attracting closed VIP conferences and offering ‘Davos-like’ services – the Swiss town which hosts the four-day global economic forum

‘The basic idea is to create a green island with the greatest possible use of its existing landscape, structure and incomparable beauty,’ Rybolovlev said of the renovation plans last year

Numerous high profile guests stayed on Skorpios while Onassis lived there, including state leaders, actors and artists. It was here where Jackie was snapped naked by an Italian paparazzi photographer while lying on the beach in 1971.

The couple were married for six years before Aristotle passed away in 1975 aged 69, at which point Jackie returned to New York.  

Skorpios was passed down to the Greek shipping tycoon’s daughter Christina, who died of a heart attack aged 37 in 1988. It then went to her daughter Athina. Aristotle was buried on Skorpios, as is his daughter and son Alexander, who died in a plane crash in 1973.

Rybolovleva bought Skorpios along with the adjacent islet of Sparti through her trust. 

Jacqueline Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis on their wedding day on Skorpios on October 20, 1968. The couple were married for six years before Aristotle passed away in 1975 aged 69, at which point Jackie returned to New York


Skorpios was sold in the summer of 2013 by Onassis’ granddaughter and sole heir Athina Onassis Roussel (pictured left on holiday there as a child and right in 2019) to Ekaterina Rybolovleva

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