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Independent Minds: Panayiotis Dactilidis, Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort

Set on Agios Ioannis beach facing the sacred island of Delos, there is something almost celestial about the dazzlingly whitewashed Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort. Designed to melt into its sun-soaked island surroundings, this Cycladic sanctuary radiates a sense of serenity from its ancient Greek inspired wellness temple to the spectacular stone amphitheatre for yoga with a view. Here, owner Panayiotis Dactilidis reveals what makes his Mykonos retreat so addictive to returning guests…

Panayiotis Dactilidis, owner of Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort

What does being ‘Independently Minded’ as an hotel owner mean to you?

Customers are tired of a commodity-like experience. They do not want the same bed, or the same furniture found in chain hotels – guests want something unique. Being an independent hotel allows us to have greater flexibility in many aspects, but mostly when it comes to guest services which have to be unique in order for us to differentiate ourselves from competition. Can a chain hotel offer complimentary late check-out until 9pm? When availability allows us, we offer it with great pleasure! We strongly believe that personality and passion should not only be reflected by owners and managers, but from all hotel staff. Our guests interact daily with our staff and they must reflect our passion and personality.

What was the inspiration behind the hotel, and where do you continue to find sources of inspiration?

Our resort is a family affair, and is one of the three hotels that we own and manage on Mykonos island – each is very different from the other in different locations and ambience – but all of them are proud members of SLH. Mykonos Grand is a world class resort with ample space and facilities that offer Mykonian experiences in a peaceful setting, low-rise clusters of buildings designed to melt into the natural landscape of Mykonos, ending on the beach of Agios Ioannis.

Our greatest inspiration has always been sourced from our actual guests – experienced travellers that appreciate personalised service. Apart from that, we are constantly educating ourselves and our staff on the art of hospitality.

How do you think your hotel stands apart from other boutique hotels?

When we ask our guests why they choose our hotel time and time again, they will not be able to give you one reason – they will give you many reasons and not be able to prioritise them, because it is the combination of experiences that creates something special. This is the nicest part of our competitive advantage because if our guests cannot describe why they are attached to our hotel, it means they are addicted. This is the reason we are glad to welcome back 35% repeat guests every year.

How would you describe your own perfect luxury experience?

True luxury is something to sense, to taste, to touch, to feel, to regret leaving, to look forward to a return, a dream and a memory; to create a vision in which guests will look forward to returning. This is what we consider luxury to be about.

Do you see any new trends emerging for 2021 in luxury hotels?

No longer do our guests return from holiday and show off their Instagram photos of the beach. They now return to talk perhaps about the unusual wine they sampled in our cellar during their wine tasting, some fantastic recipes they prepared during their cooking lesson with our chefs, or relaxing on a floating bed after their spa treatment while watching the sunset behind the sacred island of Delos. Travel is becoming increasingly experiential, which plays to our strengths at Mykonos Grand.

The Althea Spa Retreat at Mykonos Grand, named after the Greek goddess of healing