SPYROS KOKOTOS: NATURE. LOVE IT AND RESPECT IT

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The Family of Spyros and Eliana Kokotos have been in the hotel business all their lives. Spyros Kokotos, an architect, has been specialised in hotels since working during his studies at the National Technical University of Athens, while Eliana Kokotos was literally born in the hotels that her father, Elias Sotirchos, managed and owned. The two founders of the Elounda tradition met in Crete during the late 1960s, a time when tourism in Crete was in its nascence, and bought land in Elounda with the intent of developing the best holiday destination in the whole country of Greece. The latest project of Spyros and Eliana Kokotos, which has already been a grand success among its most loyal clientele, in the Elounda Peninsula Diamond Residences complex. A whole seafront wing of the resort has been set aside for the development of privately-owned holiday homes, built to the highest standards and offering its services throughout the year to owners who enjoy the unique privilege of owning property right on a private beach, while the resort takes care of every single aspect of care and maintenance for a wholly hassle-free ownership experience. The Elounda Peninsula Diamond Residences are another excellent example of the creativity and entrepreneurship of the Kokotos family, the people who have created the leading hospitality destination in Greece: Elounda.

Why did you become an architect? Architecture was and still is a conscious choice, a one-way street I’d say, at a time when young people experience career guidance issues. I had a natural inclination towards the arts in general and secondly, a knowledge of the demands of architecture.

Do you believe in inspiration? Inspiration is a fundamental component of architecture, which must always be accompanied by hard work.

What were your primary concerns when you began building hotels in Elounda? My primary objective for projects in Elounda was to adapt to the environment and to satisfy the criteria of both clients and guests. After almost 50 years, Elounda is the place where I personally identify most with a particular lifestyle.

You play a double role: entrepreneur and architect. Has the businessman ever been in conflict with the architect? I can’t say that I recall the entrepreneur imposing conditions on the architect on any projects where I played both parts. The architect undoubtedly considers himself responsible for his projects and there have been critical junctures in my entrepreneurial career when the architect retired, with obvious financial costs, when the businessman imposed his view.

What is the business philosophy of ELOUNDA S.A.? Have you brought your plans to fruition or did the project itself change the master plan? The company’s primary philosophy is to ensure guest satisfaction without making functional, aesthetic, or economic concessions. We have never had a “master plan” at Elounda, as there was never a specific playing field or budget. Each investment was based on earlier ones and I always had architectural ideas at the back of my mind.

How do you handle the new challenges of our time? When compared to the 70s and 80s, the present is a time of intense competition, when every new idea is copied by international competition at the speed of light.

How should Greece make strategic improvements to move forward as a competitive luxury destination? Our country should systematically and thoroughly focus on expensive tourism, which must be dictated by the scope of the land and the assimilation of the Greeks without obvious deterioration of the overall picture, the sensitivity of the landscape, and of course, to provide an appropriate level of service.

How did golf become a part of your life? The idea of operating golf courses on Crete in the early 90s came from a French businessman and British architect who came to me for help.

Does the current legal framework facilitate such investments? After 25 years of continual effort, I believe that the current legal framework is finally facilitating the development of golf in Greece, but other countries have left us in the dust. I firmly believe that there is still potential to develop golf in the southern regions of our country, development that will extend the tourist season from 7 to 12 months, profitable both for businesses and Greece itself.

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