Panos Almyrantis, President of the “Greek Hotel of the Year Awards 2022” jury, points out that Athens emerges as a top international destination, while he distinguishes insight, technology, eco-friendly awareness and respect to tradition as the cornerstone of the hotel scene, against the background of a world evolving at high speed.
Mr Almyrantis, this year you are the jury President for the “Greek Hotel of the Year Awards”. What has been your vision for this year’s event?
The Vision of each and every judge throughout this year’s assessment has been to contribute to sustainable excellence and to create value to the participating hotels. The meetings of the committee were marked by a plethora of new ideas, respecting the values of hospitality, whilst adding new award categories adapted to today’s needs.
What was the biggest challenge and also the greatest difficulty you dealt with during the assessment process?This year we focused on the evaluation process and saw an opportunity to launch mystery calls in selected categories of awards by an independent association with experience in the global hotel market. We felt after the global disruption that this was an emerging need and the correct time frame that can work as an example for improved assessment in the future.
According to your opinion, which category is the most demanding and, at the same time, difficult for the jury to judge?
Tremendous developments in the environment, technology, media, society, and of course the disruption caused by the pandemic, highlighted an increased need for communication and empathy. Although this is subjective based on everyone’s experiences, the team shared the vision of accentuating skills, innovation, empathy, flawless service and successful interaction between guests and personnel.
To what extent do you think that the jury’s judgment can be affected by their personal taste and preferences? Are there specific objective requirements?
The nominations are evaluated by a jury specializing in development, design and hotels operation, luxury travel specialists, architects and journalists from Greece and abroad. The process secures that judges fill out specific forms based on selected categories that require a research on their behalf. Naturally as the committee is composed of experts their experience and expertise are fundamental.
We walk around Athens, a city that constantly surprises us with the appearance of new hotels and its innovations (as regards architecture, eco-friendly philosophy, new concepts, etc.) these hotels introduce. What do you think about this new reality?
Athens is becoming one of the top tourist destinations in the world with a seemingly unlimited number of things to do, places to stay, and sights to see. From ultra-stylish restaurants to chic bars, historic monuments to brand-new boutiques and iconic architectural spots to a unique hotel portfolio.
Do you think that this tailwind could possibly lead to the establishment of a new award category in the Greek Hotel of the Year Awards 2023 event?
Architecture, both new and old, defines city skylines and has a lasting impact on our perceived memory of a place. And while historic architecture has its own charm, it’s no secret that, at its best, modern architecture has the ability to be inspiring. I see every opportunity to such a dedicated award.
Many hybrid accommodation types tend to open in Athens: suite hotels, apartment hotels, residences, and even Airbnb choices with hotel amenities. Would you say that this is a sign of the times? How far are we from the classic sense of a hotel?
A hotel is a managed property, providing guests with a place to stay where features and services provided can vary quite drastically from one to another. With the world moving faster than ever, as shifting social attitudes, new technologies, and economic and demographic changes all drive seismic shifts in the ways we live, do business and work, we need to embrace change whilst respecting tradition.
From a stopover before visiting the Greek islands, Athens has become an ideal city break over the last years. What is your view on this recent change?
With so many sights and attractions, monuments, museums, neighborhoods, colorful markets and bazaars with a vintage feeling, Athens has everything to be the ideal hop on and off destination on the way to an island holiday let alone a city break.
As a General Manager of Grand Hyatt Athens and the President European Hotel Managers Association (EHMA), could you name an innovative feature your hotel would ideally have?
The ideal hotel should be designed with plenty of natural and biophilic elements to improve health, and an overall feeling of well-being. There has been a keen focus on the important connection between people and nature because it affects everyones health and productivity.
How do you envisage the hotels of the future?
The Greek Hotel of the Year Awards highlight hotels that stand out for their uniqueness, architectural style, team spirit and refined services. I feel that the future of the awards is included in its Vision: “Committed to revealing the finer hotel elements”.
Who is Who
Panos Almyrantis is the General Manager at Grand Hyatt Athens and President of the European Hotel Managers Association (EHMA), with an academic background, studies in the USA and remarkable experience. He has left his imprint on the hotel sector both in Greece and abroad.