The Legacy Keeper

Interview by Elsa Soimoiri

One of the owners of the Myconian Collection Hotels & Resorts group, invites guests to new green sophisticated experience of Mykonos Island.

What are your expectations this season?

Greece is set to have a bumper tourism season in 2022, with better-than-expected outcomes across the board. The country is expecting a huge number of visitors and the offering is better than ever. At Myconian Collection, we already welcome guests from around the world at our 11 outstanding luxury properties, including the brand-new O by Myconian Collection and Panoptis Escape. Located in four of the island’s most coveted destinations— Mykonos Town, Elia Beach, Ornos Beach and Platis Gialos—our properties combine breathtaking locations with exquisite interiors to provide the perfect backdrop for discerning travellers to enjoy unbeatable summer holidays.

After these past two years, we all deserve a bit of sunshine in our lives—literally and figuratively—and that’s at the heart of what Myconian Collection aims to offer each and every one of our guests: An opportunity to relax and recharge, to celebrate their authentic self, and to experience joy and togetherness in the best company, in the best possible setting and with a world of bespoke luxury at their fingertips. Our team has worked hard to ensure that the experience is nothing less than extraordinary, and guests can expect to enjoy a full range of bespoke activities, authentic encounters with local culture, gourmet dining and chic bars, spa and pampering opportunities, glamorous events, and the stellar service that Myconian Collection is known for. In a nutshell, we are committed to delivering the kind of attention to detail that elevates a fantastic holiday into a heavenly experience… memories to be cherished forever.

What is the greatest asset about working in the travel industry?

It’s the people that make it all worthwhile. The people we work with and the people we welcome as guests. The opportunity to create meaningful experiences at every step, from offering guests a once-in-a-lifetime luxury hospitality experience to providing opportunities for our team to grow and to excel and, of course, to supporting local businesses and the local community so that Mykonos can continue to be the unique, authentic, wonderful place that it is.

As Mykonos natives, we love everything about this island, and we’re driven by a genuine passion to show the world just how exceptional Mykonos is. That’s what inspired Myconian Collection. From the opening of our first small hotel in 1979 to the thriving enterprise we are today, Myconian Collection has always been a family-owned and family-managed business, built on the back of hard work and grounded in a tradition of genuine Greek island hospitality. Our father dug the foundations for our first four hotels with a wheel-loader he picked up second-hand, and our mother was in charge of breakfasts and housekeeping. We’ve certainly grown a bit since then, but the whole family still works hard every day to make sure that this isn’t just a successful business, but a legacy to pass on to the next generation.

The whole Daktylides family still works hard every day to make sure that this isn’t just a successful business, but a legacy to pass on the next generation.

Where do you dedicate your free time?

When it comes to free time, I put my money where my mouth is. I try to spend as much quality time as possible with my family and with my friends and the community of people I grew up with here on Mykonos. And I take every opportunity to enjoy this magnificent island we call home. Mykonos might be small, but there’s always something new to discover, see and do. That is partly thanks to the incredible people of this island, those who were born here as well as those who chose to make it their home, who contribute to Mykonos’s vibrant cultural life, with art, happenings and, of course, an amazing food scene! But it’s also thanks to the island itself, to the enchanting way its nature and landscapes change with every season. This connection we have to the land, to each other and to the community here is precious, and we strive to pass a little bit of that feeling on to our guests, through the personalized hospitality and authentic experiences that we offer.

You place a lot of importance on the term “sustainability. What does this concept in hospitality investments mean to you?

In our family, we all have at least one thing in common: our love for Mykonos; its light and its truth, its sea and tradition, its history and its unique spirit. Mykonos inspires us and we continue to take care of it as much as we can, with everything from donations like this one to beach cleaning and more. To us, Mykonos is more than a place. We believe that much of our success is because of this very real, very genuine connection to this land. It’s a source of endless inspiration which, even after all this time, still brings new experiences, ideas and opportunities. This is why every passing year we discover new ways of communicating our love to it. Recently, this has included the complete construction from scratch of a fully functional Gymnasio secondary school in Ano Mera – complete with classrooms, workshops, sports courts, yard, staff accommodation, and recreation and multi-purpose spaces. Specifically, the new Gymnasio high school serves students between the ages 12 and 15 – the first leg of secondary education in Greece – from its location in Ano Mera, the second biggest settlement on Mykonos Island. The ambitious project by our family set the goal of providing a fully functional, disability-friendly building consisting of 13 spacious and bright classrooms making use of cutting-edge smart tech, each of which can accommodate up to 20 students. In total, the new facilities already serve 200 students and dozens of teachers.

To us, Mykonos is more than a place. We believe that much of our success is because of this very real, very genuine connection to this land.

Eco-friendly and designed with the particular demands of the community of Mykonos firmly in mind, the new school is fully in line with sustainability considerations and innovative energy-saving technologies, as well as fully integrated with the traditional architecture of Mykonos. It adopts several technological breakthroughs and features tech and information science workshops, natural sciences laboratories, basketball courts, as well as a large, multipurpose space for assembly and events, among others. Moreover, the facilities include accommodation for teaching staff, with 18 homes built to this end alongside the school – a useful, practical feature providing peace of mind and convenience for educators.

If you could invite three famous guests (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would you choose?

Melina Mercouri, of course! Melina was one of a kind, a woman of extraordinary passion and spirit, who embodied in so many ways the spirit of Hellenism and became a sort of ambassador of Greek culture to the world. Also, Tom Hanks, who has long proclaimed his love for Greece, and the renowned Greek composer Manos Hatzidakis, whose songs have been the soundtrack to the lives and summers of people around the world.

Which book and/or TV show attracted your full attention?

Trends and seasonal hits aside, I keep coming back to a Greek author and writer, one who often exalted Mykonos and who has long been my all-time favourite: Nikos Kazantzakis. Of all his works, the novel Zorba the Greek is the one I keep re-reading most, and no matter how many times I’ve read it, I never tire of the writing or the lessons the story holds. Kazantzakis is truly an extraordinary writer. His work is timeless.

What is your main goal in 2022?

After everything we have all been through over the past two years, it is time to let go and relax, to embrace the joy of travelling and of sharing moments and experiences. 2022 must be a year of reconnecting with ourselves and finding happiness in togetherness. This is going to be a year of trying new things, visiting new places, and discovering new ways to live life to the fullest. And that’s also our goal at Myconian Collection.

This year we’re debuting two new properties: the beachfront O by Myconian Collection, which brings sublime luxury and cosmopolitan chic to Ornos Beach, and the ultra-luxury Panoptis Escape, which draws inspiration from Zeus himself to offer an exclusive holiday experience from its hilltop perch above Elia Beach. So, with 11 fabulous Myconian properties in total, we’re looking forward to welcoming guests to a world of barefoot luxury, authentic Greek hospitality, unforgettable experiences and legendary personalized service on iconic, inimitable, sun-kissed Mykonos.

And, what’s next for the Myconian Collection Hotels & Resorts?

In addition to our two new entries, there is even more in the works. 2023 will see the launch of our most upscale, top-tier property yet at the striking Agios Vasilis, very near to Mykonos Town – yet far enough to deliver privacy and exclusive luxury made for discerning VVIPs. Stay tuned!

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