London, November 2017 Suite Home Escape Book presentation speech :
‘Dearest friends, thank you very much for being here today.
Before I touch on how this book will help a very important segment of society, I would first like to talk about how travel can be inspirational and enlightening.
In parallel, escaping our daily lives and traveling to amazing places always touches something within us. Beyond leisure and relaxation, it can lead to new ideas and to life-changing decisions. I find that travel gives us all a global view on our lives: it frees us from the fussy details of everyday and lets us experience the bigger picture.
Yet there’s much more to travel than personal gain. I’ve always embraced the idea that luxury hospitality can be an important channel for giving back to the community people and environment.
In this vein, the objective of Suite Home Escape is to take us to wondrous places and to transform every visit into a journey of both personal growth and social responsibility. The book features hotels that distinguish themselves not only by documenting beautiful and very special destinations, but also by highlighting their authenticity, sustainability and cultural heritage.
From tree houses in Africa and waterside properties in Asia to the boutique hotels of Europe, every hotel in this eclectic collection has inspired me in one way or another. After every trip, I used to write down everything new that I had seen, heard, learned or thought.
Each description is accompanied by short phrases, which I have called “room for thought” and which invite the visitor to escape – if only mentally – from the routine of everyday life. It helps every discerning traveler to become a true citizen of the world and to develop his or her own philosophy that continues to grow even after their return, in particular by giving each person more room to think.
The word room in English doesn’t only imply a physical space but also an opportunity to escape from the ordinary and the usual. We give ourselves room to relax, strategize, philosophize or cultivate new habits.
In this sense a hotel room can be both a space to enjoy but also a new starting point as a space to grow, whether emotionally, mentally or spiritually. With more room to think we can strengthen personal goals, cultivate relationships, spur creativity and build experiences. My “rooms for thought” are all about that.
For years, the rooms of my family’s hotel in Athens, the St. George Lycabettus, have very much been a source of inspiration for me. As hospitality evolved and CSR became an indispensable part of the industry, the property has literally and figuratively given me room to think about how the travel industry can and must give back to society.
We took pride in converting this long-standing Athenian landmark into an artistic, cultural, gastronomic and luxury-led property that also espouses a philosophy of sustainability and environmental awareness. Today, and in honor of our hotel’s 40th anniversary, we’re donating all the proceeds of Suite Home Escape to Elpida Youth, one of Greece’s most notable charities that supports children with cancer.
I chose Elpida Youth to be part of our Corporate Social Responsibility because it excels in providing emotional support and psychological wellbeing to help children and their families better manage the disease and its treatment. Elpida Youth’s activities in Greece include therapeutic summer camps for the children and operation of the Elpida Guesthouse whose purpose is to help and host children with cancer and their families. By the way, over the last 20 years, Elpida has strongly contributed to developing cancer treatments, achieving a success rate of 80%!
These initiatives are indeed excellent examples of standing behind vulnerable groups in Greece.
As you all know Greece is currently going through many challenges, yet its economic crisis is proving to be an opportunity that is opening new doors. The tourism sector and its ongoing support for society is a vehicle that can lead us out of the crisis. This requires a vision, long-term plan, hard work, consistency and ethics. Above all it requires synergies.
Social support and volunteering have both proven to be noteworthy antidotes to the crisis. I have seen my fellow Greeks work fervently and effectively in supporting the less fortunate.
I hope that Suite Home Escape will do small its part in offering support to those who need it during these times. I hope you travel to many of the wonderful places in Suite Home Escape and that they will enlighten you as they did me.’
With gratitude, T.