Greece was a hot topic this year at Virtuoso Travel Week and we spend some time gathering the latest updates and insights from our top travel partners for Greece luxury travel. Here’s what we have our eye on:
By far the biggest news a Virtuoso Week is the opening of the 5th property at Canaves Oia called Epitome, pictured above. I met with Markos Chaidemeos, the managing director, and he is very excited to finally have a family-friendly option within his portfolio. This hotel is not on the cliffside like the others; instead, it is located on the northern part of Oia (still within walking distance of town) where there’s a little more space to spread out and far fewer safety concerns for the kids. Epitome features suites and villas, all with private pools. The 2-bedroom pool villas are the winners here – finally, a true Santorini luxury experience is available for families!
We know our clients are so loyal to the Four Seasons brand and we’ve been anticipating the re-opening of the re-imagined Astire Palace for over a year already. There have been some delays and the new projected opening for the Four Seasons Astir Palace is early 2019. We’re watching this one closely! When it opens, we know this will quickly become a best-seller. The convenient location outside of Athens will make this a no-brainer for the start of any Greece luxury travel itinerary – the resort will be the perfect spot to recover from jet-lag. We’re most excited about the opportunity to add golf to a Greece itinerary and the resorts private marina will make sailing excursions a breeze. The new suites with private pools are a nice bonus, too!
Our good friends over at Janine Cifelli Representation have put us on to a new member of their portfolio, Katikies Resorts & Club. This collection of hotels includes the newly opened Katikies Mykonos along with Katikies Santorini, Kirini Santorini, Chromata Santorini, Sun Rocks, and Kirini Mykonos. The largest hotel in the portfolio is 35-rooms so you can count on a true, boutique experience here. The newest addition, Katikies Mykonos, is a great option if you’re looking for exclusivity and seclusion without giving up on style or amazing seaside views! These hotels are not part of the Virtuoso network, but we work closely with JCR to be sure our clients get the best value and VIP consideration.
If you’re looking for the party in Mykonos, head to the Belvedere Hotel where you can easily stumble home after a few too many shots of Ouzo. The Belvedere also features a Nobu on site. For a family-friendly option on Mykonos, look to the Myconian Villa Collection!
Corfu Joins the Luxury Market:
We’re Predicting that Corfu will be the buzz-worthy destination of 2019 and there are several new hotel developments to help push travelers’ interests. The one prominently on our radar is Angsana Corfu, projected for Q1 2019 opening. This family-friendly resort will be nestled into the hillside with 199 rooms and 50 private pool villas and will feature a private beach club, spa, kids club, multiple dining venues, and a rooftop lounge.
Also on the radar in Corfu is the adults-only Domes Miramare, a Luxury Collection Resort, which opens August 2018.
Get Off the Beaten Path:
Mykonos and Santorini are popular for a reason! They offer amazing experiences and some of the best luxury hotel options anywhere in Greece, but that also comes with a price in both rates and crowds. So, we recommend including a lesser known region of Greece in your itinerary to make sure you get the best balance. Last year, we told you about Crete. This year Naxos has been our go-to island for a little something different; it is an especially good fit for foodies. The Naxian Collection and Naxian on the Beach are our hotel picks here with high reviews from our travelers.
For families, we recommend Paros and Antiparos, which has a nice villa collection, or Halkidiki where you’ll find the new member to Virtuoso, Sani Asterias at Sani Resort. Calm, shallow ocean waters and fun, kid-friendly activities like the resort’s unique soccer camp in partnership with players from the Chelsea football club make this resort a perfect fit for families. Nearby UNESCO heritage sites, and new parks and museums in Thessaloniki will make this area a unique cultural destination, as well.
Folegandros is great for anyone looking for something charming, traditional, and authentic; stay at Anemi . For a good dose of drama, look to Milos with its French influences and dramatic coastlines; book a private yacht for a true luxury experience.
The number of travelers visiting Greece has doubled over the past few years and there is no denying that Greece is a hot destination and we felt a few growing pains in the form of planning delays and inconsistent service during our clients’ trips this year. In 2018, we’ve supported over 20 departures to the destination and we expect this number to continue growing. Our preferred on-site for local support and trip logistics is Eclectic Greece and they are investing in stronger relationships with local transportation companies and expert guides to help us make sure you get a unique, personalized experience with the smoothest itinerary operation possible.
For 2019, you can expect a stronger (and stricter) portfolio of services on offer and availability will continue to be a challenge. We estimate that our top hotel picks will be sold out for Summer 2019 by February. So, if a trip to Greece is on your radar, start your planning early!