Mr. Koussathanas, how challenging is it for someone to invest and materialise projects such as “Kalesma Mykonos” in the midst of a pandemic?
Such a project under the circumstances has a lot of challenges. It is not only the process of building a hotel; the difficulties the operation procedures are many, because we must apply the Covid protocols. 20% of the work is to execute the protocols and the rest is to design and monitor the operation of the hotel facilities. Bear in mind that the hotel was ready last summer, and it could have started its operation then, however we decided to postpone it for 10 months, considering all potential consequences that this had in various sectors. We are extremely lucky to be in Mykonos and since this destination is called “the island of the winds”, there is by nature a Covid-free atmosphere here. The most important thing for us is that we succeeded in creating a small Mykonian village, which offers our guests the privacy they need.
What are the particular characteristics that make “Kalesma Mykonos” stand out and offer a staggering answer to those who rush to say “just another hotel in Mykonos”?
I can’t say if our hotel stands out from the rest, but we tried to gather special materials (different types of marble, wood, etc.), in order to revive the traditional Mykonian hospitality with a modern and all-time approach. Therefore, the materials, the way we planted and the plants we selected, constitute the ultimate differentiation. Our goal is to initiate our guests to the authentic Mykonian hospitality.
For years, you have been successfully doing business in Athens. What similarities or differences has the Athenian clientele compared to the visitors of Mykonos?
We have to acknowledge that the Athenians “created” the destination of Mykonos in the 90’s. Greeks began to set up the lifestyle of the island and since then, foreign visitors embraced this particular lifestyle that continues until today. The concept of Mykonos has gone beyond the Greek borders. The characteristic that makes Mykonos so special, compared to Athens, is that those doing business on the island managed to easily adapt to any change and created new trends. For example, Nammos, as a way of entertainment, has been exported to Dubai and has become a success story; this is happening for the first time and can become a case study for the rest of the Greek islands.
The visitors of Mykonos are looking for “this extra something” not only in the facilities and hospitality services, but also in gastronomy, which has earned its own special place on the world map of tourism during the past few years. How has “Pere Ubu Mykonos” embraced this international trend in order to highlight the unique aspects of Greek cuisine?
“Pere Ubu Mykonos”, a casual restaurant with magnificent Greek specialties, attributes great importance to its ingredients provided by the beautiful Cycladic islands. This is the main reason behind the success of the restaurant at Kalesma Mykonos. The second reason is the hotel’s executive chef Kostas Tsiggas, with whom I have been working for the past 10 years and who has a huge experience in setting up Greek restaurants in Greece and abroad. Nowadays, those visiting Mykonos have travelled extensively and look for a holistic experience. When they visit a hotel, they want everything to be meticulous in the slightest detail. Apart from the guest room and the hotel facilities, the visitor wants a real taste of Greek gastronomy to complete the Greek experience. Our aim is to make our guest feel flattered for having visited our island.
What “recipe” did you follow at “Kalesma Mykonos” to pair natural materials with sophisticated luxury and communicate the notion of Greek hospitality to your guests?
When guests arrive at our hotel, we want them to feel that something different is happening here. There is a clean-cut luxury that is present in all aspects of the property. The materials may be expensive, but nothing is “shiny”, and everything abides by the “rules” of Mykonos; its plain simplicity that is also apparent in our team’s conduct. The idea is for our guests to feel that we have “opened our house” and we welcome them as our very special guests. Kalesma Mykonos feels like a large courtyard where we meet with friends, eat, drink and have a wonderful time!
Maybe it is because of the worldwide need for renewal, or perhaps it is due to the pandemic, but we notice a change in the traditional profile of visitors in Greece. Are we ready to handle a new generation of visitors with different characteristics and requirements?
We live in the best plot of land in the world. The concept “Greece” is a beautiful, endless story. We are constantly improving our infrastructure and there is a serious effort to modernise the country. However, we need to become faster in matters of flexibility and political decision-making. If we accelerate our decision-making process and use our quick reflexes, then I believe that we will manage to cope. We have to “restart” and combine the requirements of the new generation of visitors with the uniqueness that our country offers.
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