Grecotel laying foundations for Australian growth

Three flagship properties represented locally by La Collection

Sofia Grigoratou, Grecotel Hotels & Resorts and Craig Farrell, La Collection

EXCLUSIVE: The local representation deal between La Collection and Greece’s largest hotel brand, Grecotel, is the start of a “fabulous opportunity” to expand the hotelier’s position in the Australian market, says Sofia Grigoratou, Director of Sales for the company. Visiting Sydney and Melbourne from her Athens headquarters, Grigoratou sat exclusively with LATTE this week to discuss the new partnership at length.

As LATTE revealed in December, Grecotel’s three flagship properties are now represented in Australia and New Zealand by La Collection. Those properties include The Dolli in downtown Athens, Cape Sounio in the Athens Riviera and Corfu Imperial in Corfu.

Grecotel’s stable of properties extends well beyond these three locations under the agreement, with 40 hotels and resorts spread across 10 key regions of Greece, including Mykonos, Crete, and Peloponnese.

The Dolli, Athens

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Well-entrenched in Greece, and widely known and highly regarded across Europe, Grecotel has been in operation for 48 years (Grigoratou herself, just shy of 20 years with the brand). The family-owned and run hospitality company is also making in-roads in the United States where it’s been active since 2016, recently appointing its first-in-market representative.

That success in the US is hoped to be emulated in Australia and New Zealand.

Second-generation Greek/Australians are already familiar with the brand and mainly it’s Peloponnese and Greek island presence, says Grigoratou. “Pure Australians” are more familiar with Grecotel’s options in the likes of Mykonos and Crete.

Grecotel certainly isn’t new to the Australian market, Craig Farrell, Director of La Collection tells LATTE. Many of the brand’s hotels and resorts have been available through Greek specialists and wholesalers for many years. The arrangement with La Collection will further elevate the brand’s awareness with luxury travel advisors in ANZ, promoted through Farrell and co-director, Léa Segueir’s extensive partner channels.

The Dolli, Athens

“We see this partnership with La Collection as a great platform to start growing here, more tactically, with our first priority to familiarise this market with The Dolli, Cape Sounio and Corfu Imperial,” Grigoratou said.

The three properties are all recently renovated or refreshed, with the Dolli the newest only opening in January 2023.

“Having perfect hardware in combination with hotels that share a storied history, and consistent selling points – service, client-oriented approach, vast experience – we believe this next step in Australia will be very successful,” Grigorato said.

In a snapshot, The Dolli is located in the heart of Athens’ CBD, set within a 1925 neo-classical building – formerly a luxury fabric store and characteristic of the era – that Grecotel acquired in 2015. The original facade remains the same, but an extensive internal facelift focused on high ceilings, imposing windows, designed to make guests feel like they are entering a luxury apartment, not a hotel. There’s no reception, with arriving guests checked-in within The Dolli’s Living Room. The property has a full collection of art pieces spread throughout (including work by Picasso and Lalanne), but not on display like an art gallery, but in “daily life” form.

Acropolis View room from The Dolli, Athens

The Dolli has 46 rooms, suites and apartments, all with custom furniture designed for the specific room, with an infinity pool (with 360 degree views) and a lounge on the 5th floor. One side of the hotel faces ‘old Athens’, including the Acropolis, while the opposite side faces ‘new Athens’.

Whereas, Cape Sounio is on the waterfront, known as the Athens Riviera, 50 minutes from the city centre (or 40 minutes from Athens International Airport). Set within an archaeological site on a picturesque beachfront location amid a pristine natural reserve, Cape Sounio is ideal for the returning visitor to Athens wanting to avoid the city centre. Grigoratou describes the destination as perfect for those travellers looking for a coastal extension to a city stay.

Villa, Cape Sounio

With 139 bungalows, suites and villas, Cape Sounio is finishing off a full renovation and will reopen to the public on 1 May. The property is positioned opposite the Temple of Poseidon, offers a number of private beaches, shared and private pools, six restaurants and bars, hiking opportunities or relaxing and indulgent spas overlooking the sea and pristine pine forests.

Farrell suggests Cape Sounio is a “great way to get a taste of the Athenian lifestyle, perhaps as a pre- or post-extension of island hopping through the Greek Isles.”

Corfu Imperial is found within the Ionian Sea, not the popular Cyclades part of the Aegean Sea, Grigoratou explains. The destinations are vastly different, from their landscape to influences. The island has four Grecotel properties, three on the Kommeno Peninsula and are scattered with olive trees, marble & palms, beach coves, fine dining and a promenade that connects the hotels and a combined 16 restaurants.

Perched on the edge of the peninsula, the landmark Corfu Imperial comprises 300 bungalows, suite and villas, four private beach coves, shared pools and six restaurants operated by the hotel.

For guests looking for the ultimate in privacy, Corfu Imperial delivers.

“These three properties are a great introduction. Each is iconic and the type of hotel the Australian client would choose on their travels,” Grigorato concludes.

Grigorato meeting with Travel Associates members in Melbourne

She and Farrell are meeting key luxury travel partners in Sydney and Melbourne this week, before returning to Greece this weekend. Grigorato adds that building relationships, in person, is also critical.

Grigoratou is already plotting a return Down Under later in 2024.

More on the Grecotel Hotels & Resorts stable at grecotel.com/

Hayley Bayford, Journeys by Design, Michelle House and Andy Buerckner, Platinum Travel, with Sofia Grigoratou, Grecotel Hotels & Resorts.
Sally Cornell, Jigsaw Travel; Sarah Dimopoulos, Forth & Wonder and Aaron Collins, CTM.
Sally Bird, Executive Edge; Kathryn Read, Jigsaw Travel; Maddy Lehrer, Tribe Travel; Linda Cohen, Y Travel and Sally Cornell, Jigsaw Travel.
Aaron Collins, CTM; Andy Buerckner, Platinum Travel and Craig Farrell, La Collection.
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