The good news arrived in the capital in the midst of a sweltering Athenian autumn, a time when the last throes of the summer were making the city’s inhabitants wish they could escape to that world famous gem of the Cyclades, Santorini.
The readers of the US Condé Nast Traveller (www.cntraveller.com), the largest travel magazine in the world, have spoken. They filled and emptied their suitcases, gathered experiences, slept, eaten, been entertained and decided that Europe’s premier resort and the 34th best in the world is the Canaves Oia Santorini.
The good news didn’t end there. In total, five Greek resorts appeared among the winners on the “Top 30 Resorts in Europe: Reader’s Choice Awards 2015” list. Two more resorts in Santorini, Perivolas and Mystique, bagged third and 13th place respectively.
In 24th position stands the Blue Palace Resort & Spa Elounda in Crete and the list rounded off with another Greek entry, the Myconos Grand Hotel & Resort at 30.
“Santorini and Mykonos are the hottest destinations of Greece, exemplified perfectly by the visitor numbers in the last two years.” says Markos Haidemenos, who at 27 years old is the youngest owner of Canaves Oia Santorini.
“The extensive – and not necessarily positive – publicity that Greece has had over the years seems to have worked in our country’s favor as a destination,” he says, noting himself that in recent years he has seen more American, Canadian and European visitors to the island thanks in part to an enhanced presence of airlines in Santorini Airport as well as increased direct services connecting Athens with New York, Philadelphia, Toronto and other distant markets during the summer season.
“ Canaves Oia Santorini is a complex that includes the 18-suite Canaves Hotel, Canaves Suites with 26 suites and the Canaves Villa, with three bedrooms and as many bathrooms, which can accommodate up to eight people and gives the autonomy of a luxurious villa with all the benefits and amenities of a five star hotel.”
“Canaves’ first place is undoubtedly a great success which is largely down to the hotel staff since they are the ones who have the greatest contact with our customers,” continues Mr Haidemenos, who recently took the helm of the family business after completing his studies in tourism. “I’m very lucky because this is a job that I love. This is a great opportunity for all of us,” he says enthusiastically, while explaining that he makes sure that he as general manager of the hotel remains available to guests at all times.
“This is our competitive advantage,” he says. “Our customers come to a luxurious resort with a family feel. I personally get to know them at breakfast, chatting with them and providing information. The experience here is completely personal from the first moment until the last.”
Canaves Oia Santorini is a complex that includes the 18-suite Canaves Hotel, Canaves Suites with 26 suites and the Canaves Villa, with three bedrooms and as many bathrooms, which can accommodate up to eight people and gives the autonomy of a luxurious villa with all the benefits and amenities of a five star hotel.
The entire complex was completely renovated in recent years and now includes a spa where you can enjoy treatments while taking in a breathtaking view. Most recently, construction has begun on a larger spa center (200m) and a brand new hotel complex, also in Oia, with 30 suites.
Canaves Oia Santorini is now expanding beyond just the provision of hotel services. The company that started in 1985 when Yiannis Haidemenos, Markos’ father, transformed four family wine caves (known as canaves) into luxury suites, also collaborates with Sunset Oia, a company offering catamaran cruises (sunset-oia.com). This year they launched Armeni Tavern, their own seafood taverna located on the tiny beach just below the resort and accessible either by foot or by sea.
Canaves Oia Santorini aims to offer the complete Santorini experience, and this was definitely noticed by the discerning readers of Condé Nast Traveller. The magazine’s online edition, which announced the awards a few days ago, stated that Canaves Oia Santorini is “undoubtedly the ultimate representation of what we think of when we think about Santorini, from the proximity to beaches, from the white curved exteriors overlooking the bluest blue sea and the stark beauty of the Caldera.”
Originally published in Kathimerini newspaper
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