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Dozens of hotels close for lack of fire safety form July 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hotels Greece, Tourism.
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Tourism authorities are closing down 41 hotel units across Greece for lack of fire safety certificates.

Tourism Development Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia published the list of the hotels penalized yesterday and said the decision was essential to safeguard the prestige of the Greek tourism sector.

The hotels to be closed down are located on Crete, the Ionian Islands and the Cyclades. They are mostly small or medium-sized units and have a period of 20 days to comply with the decision.

“In the first circular we sent to those who had not complied with fire safety regulations, we saw no response at all. There was some movement after the second one, but when the checks intensified and hoteliers saw that we were serious, they started to respond rapidly,” said Palli-Petralia.

She stressed that the strict checks will continue throughout the tourism season and added that a radical revision of the entire monitoring framework of the tourism market has begun and will intensify, from the central administration to all tourism authorities. The Ministry’s aim is to ensure the online interconnection of all agencies with the central administration so as to provide live information on the checks made.

In total some 5,180 checks have been made on hotels across Greece, while the second wave of inspections will also include rented rooms. Palli-Petralia confirmed the positive developments in tourism this season, citing the example of Rhodes, where in the first fortnight of June there was a 10 percent rise in arrivals, while foreign currency inflows have also registered growth. She finally suggested that the first problems to be reported to the new complaints section of the Ministry concerned Internet bookings.

The Avalon Boutique Hotel, Rhodes July 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hotels Greece.
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The Avalon Boutique Hotel on the island of Rhodes has opened close to the Grand Masters Palace in Rhodes Town.

The hotel includes six individual suites, each with a Jacuzzi, stereo system, air conditioning and plasma television.

Prices start from £400 for seven nights based on two people sharing half board accommodation.

For more information and reservations visit > http://www.rhodesguide.com

Hotels in Greece get green tips June 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hotels Greece.
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Over 10,000 hotels in holiday destinations such as Kos, Kefalonia, and other are set to provide greener services with the help of a charity.

The Travel Foundation will provide hotels in Greece with information on sustainability, helping them provide a more environmentally friendly service. In a bid to help preserve the astounding natural beauty that many holiday destination spots rely on to attract tourists, hotel owners will be provided with advice about how to save energy, source supplies locally and waste management.

Proprietors will receive information packs translated into Greek including top ten tips and a DVD showing them how to make their service more sustainable. Hotel staff and customers will also be able to see posters informing them of how to minimise their own impact on the environment.

Holidaymakers catching cheap flights to Kos or other Greek destinations, will be able to sleep more soundly in the knowledge that the hotel they are swimming and sleeping in is doing it’s bit for the planet.

Visiting Greece? Check these hotel offers June 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands Aegean, Hotels Greece.
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MYSTIQUE > Santorini island

Lounging on a balcony at Mystique, in the village of Oia, might be the most romantic way to watch the sun set yet devised. It slinks behind Santorini’s volcanic caldera with sylphlike grace. The island is lush with gorgeous honeymoon hotels, but Mystique, opened last month, threatens to beat them all. Its 18 villas are carved into the cliff face, each overlooking the caldera, and every one flat-screened and hi-fi’d. There’s locally quarried limestone on the floor, original art on the walls, cushions clad in antique textiles. Shame that the name conjures up visions of a tight-trousered 1970s lounge band.

Details > tel 00 30 22860 71114, www.mystique.gr; doubles from £280. Excel Airways,  www.xl.com flies from Gatwick, Manchester and Newcastle.

MYKONOS GRACE > Mykonos island

Mykonos is authentically A-list these days, so chic that star restaurateur Nobuyuki Matsuhisa sets up a summer outpost of Nobu there. The island has plenty of fashionable five-stars, but the new-look Mykonos Grace is effortlessly glamorous, and half the price of many of its rivals. The hotel reopened last month after a full-on facelift. The rooms now have a delectable airiness, with lots of trendy Venetian plaster, Starck-esque fittings and spacious terraces, some with hot tubs. The popular Agios Stefanos beach is on the doorstep; thumping nightclubs are a five-minute cab ride away.

Details > tel 00 30 22890 26690, www.mykonosgrace.com; doubles from £100. Olympic Holidays, www.olympicdirect.com has flights from Gatwick and Manchester.

New spa ready at Astir Palace Hotel complex May 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hotels Greece.
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The first stage of the prestigeous Astir Palace Hotel’s investment program at the Athens seaside resort of Vouliagmeni has been completed, with the construction of a state-of-the-art spa occupying 1,000 square meters at the Arion Resort and Spa, The Luxury Collection.

The budget for the spa renovation totaled 3 million euros and forms part of the 50-million-euro investment program to be realized by early 2009. The new spa is arranged on two levels, featuring a heated pool complete with full massage and jacuzzi facilities, saunas, steam rooms etc.

Astir CEO Anthimos Thomopoulos stated yesterday that the positive impact of the company’s cooperation with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., will become apparent from this season. The aim is to double the turnover of Astir, in what is the third year of cooperation with Starwood, he said. He clarified that there is no interest in operating a casino at the hotel complex, but the hotel does want to include in its facilities the Vouliagmeni marina, currently managed by the state Tourism Development Company.

His deputy, Chronis Griveas, said the next stage of the investment program includes the renovation of the bungalows and the modernization of the Aphrodite Hotel unit that will operate next year under the name “W Athens.”

Related Links > http://www.astir-palace.com

You will always wish to return back to Cephallonia May 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands Ionian, Hotels Greece.
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From the sun terrace, the Ionian sea, blurred only by a slight heat haze, seemed to stretch on to infinity. The silence was broken only by the lapping of water on the rocks below, and the occasional clink of a wine glass.

If peace and elegance are what you are looking for, the Emelisse Art Hotel, in Fiskardo, Kefalonia (Cephalonia), surely has it in spades. The hotel is just one of many handpicked places to stay, checked and graded to ensure exceptionally high standards of comfort and service. And now, taking the personal touch even further, the Emelisse, a designer boutique hotel, provides you with round-the-clock concierge service to make travellers feel even more pampered.

To sample the concept we visited two distinctively different but equally luxurious properties on Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian islands.

The first, Villa Costa, in Skala, benefits from the personal stamp of its owner Marios Kourkoumelis. From the individually designed rooms, meticulously kept gardens and fine cuisine, nothing is left to chance. With just seven rooms, all on the theme of Greek goddesses, the Villa stands, with its own pool, whirlpool and sundecks, just yards from the beach on the southern tip of the island.

Skala is very popular with the British. It has a Roman villa with mosaics, open to the public, and a thriving nightlife with bars, tavernas and restaurants aplenty. Villa Costa, exclusive and immaculately presented, offers a unique atmosphere, like being in your own private villa, but with top class hotel facilities on hand. Marios’ eye for detail is evident everywhere, from the fine furnishings, to the monogrammed slippers and bathrobes.

Visitors can chose the exact room they want to stay in. We stayed in Hermione’s room, which certainly lived up to its “luxurious and romantic” description with soft tones, cool furnishings and a large patio overlooking the gardens and the sea. The restaurant offers a wide range of dishes from Greek to international. Dining al fresco with the sun setting at a candlelit table for two proved impossibly romantic.

Villa Costa’s visitors’ book bears testimony to its popularity with entry after entry insisting that the writer will return. And they do, despite being just a few years old, the property already enjoys a very high proportion of return bookings.

From Skala it was a fascinating drive over the island’s central mountains, past herds of wild goats and hilltop tavernas, to the vertiginous west coast and the second property, the Emelisse Art Hotel, at Fiskardo, on the northern tip of Kefalonia. Run by the Tsimaras family, the Emelisse is a larger but no less welcoming hotel with 63 rooms, ranging from doubles to suites and apartments, arranged in small separate buildings, many with balconies.

Set on a headland, with stunning sea views, it features two outdoor swimming pools with sundecks, a buffet restaurant offering local dishes and an international restaurant looking across to the nearby island of Ithaca. Again it has a unique atmosphere. After parking in a secure car park, you are taken to your accommodation in an electric golf cart. Rooms are very contemporary, with stylish but comfortable minimalist furnishings.

Service is warm and friendly but very discreet. Whether it is by the pool, in the hotel lounge or by the bar, Emelisse Art has a feel of sumptuous serenity to it. At night the hotel grounds are illuminated with dozens of candle-lit lanterns enhancing the peaceful and tranquil ambience. A sandy beach is only a short walk away, with the clear blue waters very popular with snorkelers.

The hotel operates a frequent free minibus service for those wanting to look around Fiskardo, especially handy in the evening if you want to enjoy a glass of wine or two with dinner in town. Fiskardo itself is the only town to have escaped damage in the great 1953 earthquake which caused extensive damage to the rest of the island. It features one of the most picturesque working harbours on the island, with a flotilla of yachts, and tavernas clustered around the waterfront. It has recently become a highly fashionable holiday spot, attracting its fair share of the jet set along with more traditional visitors.

Fiskardo is also well placed to visit Assos, possibly the prettiest of all the villages on the island, and the internationally renowned Myrtos beach with its impossibly blue waters and steep road descent. Both Skala and Fiskardo offer a range of boat trips, such as a day on a chartered catamaran or a marine adventure, stopping to explore a sunken shipwreck.

The concierge service means you are greeted at the airport, given advice and assistance throughout your stay and met again on return, with guidance on returning the car and getting the right flight home. Just a phone call away, 24-hours a day, your concierge, using his or her local knowledge, can also help recommend places to eat and places to visit.

This was one of the most relaxing holidays we had ever been on. The attention to detail, level of service and quality of accommodation was of a very high standard. In the end it was that and those “little touches” that captured our hearts and made us sure that we too would wish to return to this jewel of an island in the Ionian sea.

Related Links >
http://www.arthotel.gr/emelisse/

http://www.villacosta.gr

Aldemar Knossos Royal Village > a 5 star resort in Crete May 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hotels Greece.
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This family owned 5-star resort hotel is a half hour transfer from Heraklion airport and has 364 rooms and 40 deluxe villas by the sea.

The low rise buildings that make up the complex are surrounded by landscaped gardens and 13 pools. Facilities are plentiful including a 43 metre water slide, beach volley, tennis courts, games room, giant sized chess board and more.

Five Star Aldemar Knossos Royal Village, Hersonissos, Crete. The on site restaurants are great and guests can also try out the restaurants at the sister property the Aldemar Royal Mare Village. For more information > www.aldemarhotels.com 

Near-by attractions include > The island of Spinalonga > A short and scenic boat ride away from Elounda harbour, lies Spinalonga island, a former leper colony which attracts thousands of visitors every year. The island is renowned as being the last active leper colony from 1903 – 1957 and despite it now being derelict it has retained a certain air of sadness and doom. The day trip also takes you to a beautiful bay where the boat docks for a couple of hours, offering the perfect opportunity to sun bathe and have a swim before indulging in a delicious Greek lunch prepared by the boat crew.

Palace of Knossos, Hersonissos > They say you haven’t seen Crete until you have visited one of its most fascinating sites, The Palace of Knossos. This extraordinary ancient city dating back 4000 years to the Minoan period is steeped in Greek mythology and offers visitors an insight into Minoan culture and history.

Food > The island of Crete is renowned for its high quality food and the majority of the tavernas serve excellent Cretan cuisine.

Loukoulos Restaurant, Korais Street, Heraklion, Crete > Set in a renovated house this is one of the classiest restaurants in the area and is famous for its beautiful interior and good quality food.