Industry Update
Opinion Article 3 March 2017

Meeting Guest Experience Standards - An Interview with Manos Borboudakis of Santo Maris Oia

By Mihaela Lica Butler , Reporter for Hospitality Net

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Lica Butler

Besides obvious industry standards, guest experience can never be standardized. It's always a matter of one-on-one interaction, people greeting people, or else, we'd need to redefine "hospitality" as a whole. In 2017, more than ever so, the guest experience is about standing out through particularities rather than standards. This is why Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa on Santorini is redefining its own norms, pushing boundaries in an attempt to remain relevant while different on an island where expectations fall under the "posh and demanding" umbrella.

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Location, location!

Luckily, Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa was built in a sought-after place, where guests can observe the famous Santorini sunsets from a privileged location, close to the Sunset Serenade point, yet secluded and blissfully private. It's the location, as the resort's General Manager Manos Borboudakis tells us that sets Santo Maris apart:

"The location gives us the advantage of having a direct view of the famous sunset of Oia, which is the number one reason for people to visit the island and to pick our village as their favorite destination.
We are not located on the caldera cliffs, but on the north part of the village and that gives us the privilege of privacy and peace, away from the crowds. At the same time, we have a private path leading to the center of the village, and the walk there takes only 5 minutes."

Future possibilities

Santorini is one of those rare European destinations that offers year-round value and Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa is contemplating a future when the resort can take advantage of the endless possibilities offered by such perspectives. But it will take a perspective shift, as Borboudakis told hospitalitynet:

"Santorini offers year-round value for the capital of Fira at the moment. Our resort and spa has the facilities and the possibility to remain open all year around, but the village of Oia has not developed this idea yet. Nevertheless, we are planning to remain open year-round in the very near future."

Food, glorious food

I've always admired Greece and the Greek islands for food so good that it is worth travelling for on its own. So I could not help but ask the obvious question: how much focus do you put on the culinary aspect at Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa? The General Manager replied:

"Our flagship restaurant has a privileged position in the resort. It is located right below the sunset, opening to the Aegean Sea and the endless skies. Our guests can enjoy their dinner every night in a romantic and private ambiance, watching the fantastic Oia sunsets in the distance. Then, our gastronomy aspect follows the famous Cretan and Cycladic diets, based on extra virgin Olive Oil and the bounty of the lands.

Most of our menus reflect the Cretan diet, which is the diet scientifically proven to offer genuine health benefits. We are also a certified Greek breakfast venue, offering true local menus."

The Spa experience

Most people traveling to Santorini envision a spa and wellness aspect to the experience, so I asked the General Manager of the resort how big a role does the spa play in supporting guest expectations?

"Our spa center is a 300 m² area following the Aegeo Spa concept. We have 4 massage rooms, one heated indoor pool, a sauna, a steam bath, and a cryotherapy area. Last but not least, we have a Spa Villa designed for couples, with a relaxing atmosphere, where guests enjoy treatments that refresh and rejuvenate. There are also numerous choices of therapies, starting from classic massages to special therapies and treatments."

Weddings and honeymoons

Since Santorini is famous for weddings and honeymooners, I inquired about options for people who choose the island for the most special moments in their lives. Here, Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa is quite competitive.

"Due to the privacy of the hotel we are an ideal getaway for honeymooners and couples who want to "escape" the crowds and the noise. We have a very experienced Guest Service Team that takes care of all the couples and their needs before they arrive at the resort. We deliver tailor-made experience packages to couples that will decide to spend their honeymoon on the island of Santorini. The Guest Service Team staff will discuss with the guests prior arrival and have most of their choices met without delay. Of course we can also cater small wedding requests as well as a wealth of other demands."

With so much promise, Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa can be a destination of choice for many. There's also enough to build expectation in the future. In the meanwhile, come summer 2017, this is the ideal resort for couples seeking a romantic spot under the famous Santorini sunsets.

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Mihaela Lica Butler

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