On the occasion of the brand-new Colors that opened in the centre of Athens a few months ago, we traveled to Thessaloniki to find out how this made-in-Greece colorful urban hotel chain opened!
Focusing on innovation, business talent and love for travelling, the people of Colors Hotels prove that a vision with vibrant touches of novelty can do miracles on the hospitality sector.
Strength in numbers…
It was 2011 when they landed at Thessaloniki airport, with their baggage full of exciting travel experiences, and starving to think of a game-changing concept for the hotel industry that would bring an innovative hospitality model, similar to those offered abroad. We are talking about Fotis Drakopoulos, his sister Christina and his partner Myrto Gleoudi. Driven by their love for traveling and the dipole that dominated until 2010 –expensive 5-star hotels on the one hand and cheap, poor quality accommodation options lacking aesthetics on the other hand, they decided to bridge this gap by introducing a totally unknown –until that time- hotel category, urban hotels.
Fifty shades of …4-star innovation and comforts
Fotis employed his business acumen, his studies on the hotel sector and his significant experience in the biggest hotels in Greece, Europe and the USA. Christina used the stamps at the passport from her trips in the 5 continents, her stay in outstanding hotels and the experience she had from her own business, while Myrto took advantage of her studies and masters on business administration and later on business psychology. Thus, a historical building on Valaoritou Street, with an iconic architecture, direct access to the sites of the city, the means of transport and the entertainment venues attracts their interest and becomes the ideal space for them to embody their groundbreaking vision, with Fotis at the wheel. That was a hotel brand that would respond precisely to the needs of modern travelers offering them the possibility to personalize their stay. “We do not offer things you won’t need (and, as a result, you do not have to pay for them). However, we constantly listen to our guests, so that we can offer them all they need during their stay, along with additional pleasant surprises. That was the root of our success, our honest intention to guarantee an unforgettable experience to every visitor, provided with love”, says Myrto. So, in 2011, Colors Thessaloniki Living welcome its first guests in 15 rooms and a lounge, in a setting focusing on 4* comforts, functional and modern design and, as its name suggests, a bunch of colors promising its guests tranquility, revitilisation and a feeling of safety. In 2013, follows Colors Central Ladadika, featuring 12 rooms and in 2016, Colors Urban Hotel, with 40 rooms (soon to become 50) on the bustling Tsimiski, the famous The Garden Bar and the wellness space “Massage Me”.
“Colors” in Athens!
In 2021, triggered by their trips to the capital, their instinct and belief that “Athens is a real deal and a granted step for every businessman in Greece” and faith in the value-for-money philosophy, the team opens the first little brother of Colors in Athens. Colors Urban Hotel Athens (within short distance from Syntagma and Omonia) already counts loyal guests and exceptional reviews for its 36 comfortable rooms and its lounge. In fact, the Greek capital will soon welcome a cooling setting with a tropical-vibe garden, with “The Garden Bar” stealing the stage (also open to non guests) offering fine wine with premium complements! What is the difference its inspirers have noted regarding the guests of Athens compared to those of Thessaloniki? “The main difference in the travel industry between the two cities is the fact that Athens has an intense tourist activity all year round, so the majority of our guests here are foreigners, whereas in Thessaloniki there is a different philosophy, as the city attracts many tourists during the summer and many Greek business travelers in the winter”.
Looking to the future
Fotis, Christina and Myrto do not rest on their laurels. On the contrary, and against the backdrop of a vibrantly developing hotel landscape, the online reviews that are the main criterion for the accommodation choice, the technology that overturns the situation offering incredible possibilities (from the use of VR at customer service and the improvement of guest experience to the expansion of the hotel services also with digital services) and social media establishing instagrammable hotels and spots, their next plans are already in the making. More specifically, “a new accommodation type that will focus more on the accommodation experience as an opportunity for evolution in time and space!”
“This new concept was inspired from the powerful experiences we have lived over the last two years as a society and planet on the whole, of course! This is something we are working on intensively and I hope that soon we can share it with you”, says Myrto Gleoudi to ATHENS URBAN HOTELS. But how do they envision the future of urban hotels? They think that hotels (at least as far as city hotels are concerned) have lost the glamorous aspect they had until the middle of the previous century. This fact, combined with the need for affordable and quality stay is expected to boost the appearance of pod/capsule hotels.
A little before we say goodbye, we sip our espresso for the last time for now and share with them our hope and wish that there will always be space for the development of medium-sized business initiatives, and not the exclusive domination of multinational, large and impersonal hotel chains…