CULTURE

Luxury resort hotel on Rhodes

At a time when vacationing is becoming tied to an increasing need for privacy and relaxation, finding the perfect retreat can be an invaluable discovery. Lindian Village, which opened this summer season for the first time in its renovated and expanded premises, offers just that kind of hard-to-find luxurious seclusion on one of Greece’s most cosmopolitan islands, Rhodes. Located on a part of the island’s southern coast that is still unspoiled by excessive construction, close to the village of Lardos and a 15-minute drive away from the tourist landmark town of Lindos, Lindian Village is a haven of small houses offering a Zen-like experience and arranged in such a way as to resemble a Greek village. Marisa Sviriades, proprietor of the hotel along with her two brothers, envisioned a resort that would be the kind of place she would choose for her own holidays. Considering that Sviriades comes from one of the most important hotelier families in Greece (owners of the Electra hotels, the first chain of hotels her parents pioneered back in the late 1960s), her criteria is of the highest standing. The combination of her experience in the business and her high degree of involvement in the construction of this particular resort is probably what partly accounts both for the attention to detail and the warm, personal touch that one feels at Lindian Village. Soothing surroundings greet the visitor upon his arrival. The reception area is spacious and airy with bold, light-colored furniture and impressive chandeliers that enhance the feeling of crystal-clear transparency. Angelos Aggelopoulos is the hotel’s interior designer and his style of «contemporary baroque» in some parts of the hotel and «contemporary starkness» in others impart the hotel with a distinctive personality. The winding pebbled pathway that leads visitors from the reception area to their rooms follows the flow of a stream with a variety of flora on its banks. Soothing the senses not only by its sound, the streaming water also provides coolness in the hot summer months. At night, the water along with the carefully chosen, moon-like lighting of the hotel have an even more magical, soothing effect on the senses. In the evening hours, one can soak up the atmosphere at the hotel’s café which is located at Lindian Village’s «square.» This round, open area is the hotel’s center point, the heart of a circle from which the pathways leading to the rooms unwind. Lindian Village is a successful, subtle and unpretentious blend of contemporary, Eastern Zen-like (one of the hotel’s five restaurants is Thai) and local traditional aesthetics. A mix of different styles and cultures is really what Rhodes is all about, and architects Evi Stefanou and Savvas Ioakeimidis have used that typical aspect of the island in the hotel’s design. Modeled on traditional Lindian architecture, each unit (which houses four different suites) is built around an internal courtyard with a pebblestone entrance decorated with different traditional motifs. One of Sviriades’s priorities was to offer her clients high-standard, personalized service and facilities. Made available to the visitor is a broad array of options for spending one’s time. There is an open-air gym, Turkish bath, floodlit tennis court, an unusually designed pool with a bar and, of course, a private beach with crystal-clear waters and large four-poster-type beds for total relaxation. Gourmet choices are spread among a seafood restaurant overlooking the sea, a Thai-Southeast Asian restaurant and a Greek restaurant. Nothing stands out, blending instead with the surroundings. Besides this broad choice, it is highly probable that one might find the comfort of the hotel’s unusually spacious room and private pool so relaxing as to actually spend most of one’s time indoors. Many clients seem to do so, which is probably why the sense of privacy in the hotel is even greater. Lindian Village includes 100 double rooms, 35 suites with private pools (the pool is large and the courtyard even larger) and 30 junior suites with a jacuzzi. Prices are not inexpensive but for a high-class resort, this is to be expected. Sviriades is right to point out that vacationing in Greece should not be expected to be a low-cost affair. Her argument sounds right. Greece is not a cheap third-rate destination – although it is often treated that way – but one of the most relished spots on the European Mediterranean; moreover, hoteliers face high maintenance costs and expensive labor. However, the lack of infrastructure and a concerted state tourist policy in Greece have undermined the country’s potential as a high-end tourist destination; as have hoteliers themselves by submitting to package tourism and tour operators and compromising their services. However, this seems to be changing with the second generation of hoteliers like Sviriades. Lindian Village – her most recent endeavor – is an example of excellent accommodation in Greece. Upon his departure, one gentleman who had vacationed at Lindian Village told Sviriades he had had such a good time that he would not tell anybody of Lindian Village. That gentleman had discovered his haven and wanted to keep it a secret. This is probably one of the best rewards for her work.