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Pandemic? No Stopping Greece's Super-Luxury Hotel, Resort Growth

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(Photo by Eurokinissi/Klodian Lato)

While most people struggle to put together some days off for summer holidays, the super-rich love Greece so much that ultra-luxury properties, including hotels and resorts, can't keep up with the demand.

Property market officials and hospitality consultants said they expect a bump in investors in the sector in the second half of 2021, said Kathimerini in a review of the industry and tourism.

That's when health officials hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will start to recede, even as its current resurgence has cut into tourism hopes, especially on islands where tourism workers aren't vaccinated.

An analysis by Xenium Advisors, which specializes in hospitality consultancy, foresaw a jump in investments in the sector that caters to the wealthy, noting that Hotel Investment Partners (HIP), a member of the Blackstone investment group and one of the biggest hotel unit owners in southern Europe, taking over the Elounda Blu hotel from Ledra Hotels & Villas. 

Elounda Blue is a four-star unit with a capacity of 183 rooms in eastern Crete, with Spain’s HIP saying it will put another 6 million euros ($7.12 million) into making it more luxurious and become a 5-star resort, the most sought after by those with unlimited money to spend.

HIP acquired five units from the Louis Group in November 2019 that, along with the Elounda Blu deal with upgrades, means it will have invested some 250 million euros ($296.47 million) in the country, and more investors will too.

The US realty group Hines won the rights to acquire the Out of the Blue Capsis Elite Resort in Crete for 125 million euros ($148.23 million,) the paper's report added as another example.

While the Xenium analysts said tourism won't return to the record 2019 levels before 2023 it said that investors taking a long view see big returns on the back end for jumping into the market when it is down.

The biggest demand for properties is along seaside areas that are public beaches but will be closed off except to users of the facilities, with investors eager to scoop up 4-star hotels in those areas to make them 5-star resorts.

Hotel investment isn't limited to the seaside, as the urban collection Brown Hotels is renovating an abandoned hotel in Athens' Omonia Square, that was a seedy hangout for drug users, criminals and immigrants but is being transformed after a fountain was installed in the center.

Brown Acropol will be a 165 room-and-suite hotel surrounded by run down cement structures covered with graffiti, showing the interest in getting tourists into the downtown area of the capital as well as the seashore.

The building has seen several hotel investors try and fail to make a go of it, mostly because of the area's reputation that Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis is trying to change with upgrades.