In his many travels, Vassilis Vellanis stayed at a plethora of hotels. But for the most part, each was totally impersonal. Some were even downright unacceptable. Friends and business acquaintances -for the past 50 years his family has run an Greek industrial group with plants and offices in western and eastern Europe- told him similar stories about Greek hotels. Each story added pieces to a dream for a perfect hotel.
And being a man of action, the thirty-some Mr. Vellanis decided to create his dream with what he considers to be the epitome in hotel lodging, the Athenian Callirhroe Exclusive Hotel. His basic idea for the new unit is to create a unique one that centers its existence on a warm and comfortable atmosphere that’s entwined with a service not seen up until now in a Greek hotel.
First, he purchased the ex-Christina hotel and hired a professional architectural group to design his dream hotel. That meant the complete gutting of the Christina to the point of being nothing more than a shell. While this was going on, his own team designed each and every stick of furnishing, and even employee dress uniforms.
“Like the furnishings, clothing worn here will be unique and display a very high fashion,” says Mr. Vellanis. “Men and women here will look like there are ready to head out for an evening of dining and dancing.”
Furnishings are designed to stand out and make a statement of class and comfort. “We treat this exclusive hotel as our home and everything is designed under that premise. We want this ’boutique hotel’ to feel like home to anyone that comes here,” he says.
And like all of the best homes, each room has everything required, and even more, including valet service, bar, a laptop and the Internet, satellite and pay television, a fitness club and 24-hour room service.
But as exclusive as it is, can this unit make money? The youthful Mr. Vellanis explains that he is not an hotelier but a businessman – he has a master’s degree in business from a London university. Most of our clientele, he says, will come from the business field and from government offices, including embassy personnel, as well as from up-market tour operators abroad.
And besides local guests, the 84-room (complete with executive floor, non-smoking rooms and 11 suites) Athenian Callirhoe Exclusive counts on some local business for its three conference rooms (15 to 100 delegates) and its two restaurants.
Culinary art is promised from both the restaurant on the main floor, which will have a separate entrance from the street, and from the elegant roof garden unit, which boasts a breathtaking view of Athens.
The Athenian Callirhoe Exclusive Hotel opens on June 1 of this year. Completion of reconstruction is slated for early May, but Mr. Vellanis says he wants a “crash test” before his customers arrive. In the meantime, employees, headed by experienced hotelier, Manolis Trasanis, will have traveled to London for training in up-market service to hotel clients.
Every customer that selects our exclusive hotel is like a lost brother home for a visit, says Mr. Vellanis, and must be treated as such. “Our people will create a personality file for each customer so that we will know his preferences and before he even sets foot in our door we will treat him better than any other hotel ever has,” he says.