Greece: Land of gods and luxury travel

By Sandy Tsantaki

Since 2011 I have collected a series of international press clippings whose titles (things like “Greece is the word” or “In the lands of the gods,” both from the Financial Times’ highbrow How to Spend It supplement) and references to Corfu, Spetses, Paxi, Monemvasia and Myconos point to the fact that Greece still figures high on the list of desirable destinations for in-the-know travelers. Five-star Greece, it seems, is still a major player in the global tourism market.

In her capacity as Martha Stewart’s successor in the lifestyle department, on her digital media and e-commerce platform,, Gwyneth Paltrow writes in a July 12 entry titled “Low-key Greek island hop,” “The Greek islands have always been a popular destination, for great reason: sun, beaches, vistas, seafood and reasonable rates.” The Oscar-winning actress goes on to highlight lesser-known islands such as Milos -- “known for its beaches” -- while making accommodation recommendations such as the Melian Boutique Hotel. Next ferry stop is Sifnos, says Paltrow, applauding the Cycladic island’s cuisine and its Elies Resort, before moving on to nearby Serifos, where she suggests a stay at the Studios Amfitriti. “When you arrive in the port town of Livadi, drag your bags to one of the nearby ouzeries in the sand for mezedes (small plates) and ouzo,” she says. “This unpretentious and laid-back Serifos vibe attracts artists, musicians and poets to keep summer homes on the beautiful island with some of the best architecture in the Cyclades.”

In her Travelista column published in How to Spend It, Sophy Roberts writes about the Ionian island of Corfu and the Kipseli House, a summer residence which can host up to 10 people ( Dubbed “the ultimate glamorous family house,” the villa is available at 14,000 pounds per week and is a new arrival in summer 2012. Another luxury destination is Amanzoe. Developed by Aman Resorts, the Peloponnesian complex features 38 suites and a spa.

Also in How to Spend It is James Henderson’s “Kayaking in the Aegean.” The writer, who traveled to Greece as a guest of Trekking Hellas, tells of his experiences on Kos, Kalymnos and Leros.

In the FT magazine’s “Greece is the word,” luxury is combined with wild natural beauty in a story tracing the origins of the Kyrimai Hotel. Developed by two siblings in the area of Gerolimenas, in Mani, the feature also highlights the establishment’s collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Yannis Baxevanis. Also profiled in the same article is boutique hotel Kinsterna in Monemvasia and Costa Navarino, a luxury report complex spreading across 10,000 square meters in Messinia.

Meanwhile, in an article titled “In the lands of the gods,” Catherine Moye writes about how falling prices are now presenting would-be buyers with some heaven-sent opportunities.

"In few parts of the world are people so fiercely sentimental about their land and homes as they are in Greece -- especially island property. And who can blame them?” asks Moye. “This land of more than 1,400 islands is rightly revered as the home of heroes and gods."


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