Elounda SA buys top Athens restaurant

Elounda SA, a Cretan hotel company, will extend its activity into Athens, while spending a considerable sum on refurbishing its resorts in eastern Crete. Elounda has taken a 51-percent share in Boschetto, one of Athens’s top-rated restaurants, and is in the process of refurbishing it. The restaurant will reopen in the fall. The company is also spending 33 million euros in upgrading its resorts. Company owner Spyros Kokotos told Kathimerini that the investment program, which will be completed in spring 2005, includes the upgrading of Porto Elounda Mare rooms and the building of a spa, a conference center and new sports facilities. The spa, with a total area of 2,500 square meters, will be furnished by a specialist US company, Hirsch and Bedner. Then, Elounda SA will turn over the spa’s management to one of the largest companies in the world specializing in the sector, Kokotos said. The conference center, covering an area of 1,500 square meters, will be erected next to the spa and its installations will be used by up to 300 conference participants. Next to both buildings, Elounda SA will build 12 suites and 18 luxury rooms, connected to Porto Elounda Mare. The hotel, which also boasts a golf course spread over 4.5 hectares, will stay open throughout the year for the seventh season in a row. Kokotos specially mentions the fact that the hotel allows local youngsters to learn how to play golf for free, thus helping spread the sport. The hotel will also add three new tennis courts to its sports facilities. After the refurbishments, Porto Elounda Mare and Peninsula hotels will have a combined capacity of 630 beds, to which must be added the 200 beds in Elounda Mare. The complex has eight restaurants specializing in French, Italian and Cretan cuisine. The French restaurant in the peninsula hotel is supervised by chef Jacques Le Divellec, whose own restaurant in Paris has been awarded two stars by Michelin guides. Le Divellec, a seafood specialist, believes Greece can do much to promote its regional cooking abroad and to attract high-income tourists.