By now everyone in hospitality knows, the coronavirus pandemic has changed everything. Guest expectations have shifted toward privacy and security, and away from all-inclusive and party destinations. On the island of Spetses, the Poseidonion Grand Hotel has moved to meet these expectations. Reading the famous hotel’s news, reminded me of how the latest trend will reshape Greece hospitality, and our home island of Crete.
The landmark hospitality property has recently introduced The Pine Estate, a new venture to meet the expectations of guests. Located in Agia Marina, near the island’s Paradise beach, The Pine Estate is natural habitat surrounded by unique natural beauty, forests of palms, cypresses, and olive trees, with a stunning panoramic view of the islets of Spetsopoula, Trikeri, Agios Ioannis, and Hydra island.
Once a hunting lodge, the estate now features a main residence that includes five rooms with private bathrooms that can accommodate up to 12 persons. The rooms are directly connected with the surrounding area, the garden, and the infinity pool. This unique property also has its own private beach, and facilities conducive to guests controlling every aspect of their stay.
This new offering by a famous Greek hotel is a signpost for what is to come. A recent American Express Travel: Global Travel Trends Report revealed that most people are keen to receive the COVID-19 vaccines and that safety and privacy are priorities for them. In fact, privacy is the most sought after facet of hospitality according to any number of surveys and reports. This is natural, and part of an already prevalent trend before the pandemic.
Other trends that show the paradigm shift include a rise in exclusive use safaris, usage of destination information websites rising, OTA and other trusted source bookings are on the rise, and a huge rise in the demand by travelers for more flexibility. In addition, and in keeping with Greece’s recent invitation to remote workers, extended stays are already in huge demand. This National Geographic UK report confirms that self-catered “bubble” vacations will be a continuing trend as well.
Here on Crete, new luxury accommodations at the seaside like SeaScape Luxury Residences (above) in picturesque Agia Pelagia, afford guests a “controllable” holiday experience. This type of luxury apartment accommodations reflects on the Greek traditional beachside apartments, family-owned residences where people always came to get away from it all.
The idea for the estate reminds me of similar accommodations here on Crete. Agritourism stays like that at Thalori Retreat, the Koutsounari Traditional Cottages overlooking the Libyan Sea of Crete’s south coast, Dalabelos in Rethymno Prefecture, Delina Mountain Resort (above) near Anogia, Enagron, and especially at Aravanes (featured image) in the Amari Valley are perfect getaways.
Finally, what were the “best” stays on Crete and at other Greece destinations has changed. What was considered alternative tourism now seems to be more mainstream. There has been returning to nature for some years now, but from 2021 onward this trend will explode. This is particularly true for places like Crete, where the island has a vast natural landscape blessed by thousands of years of history and tradition. Nature tourism, agrotourism, wellness tourism, and sports tourism will be the bonanza the Crete people have been waiting for.