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Now open: Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens

Heralding in a new era in a storied history and an exciting new chapter for a global brand, Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens is now open. Inspired by the historic glamour of the original Astir Palace Hotel, the fully updated 300-room hotel nestled amid 74 acres (30 hectares) of lush seaside landscape on the…

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Now open: Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens

Heralding in a new era in a storied history and an exciting new chapter for a global brand, Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens is now open. Inspired by the historic glamour of the original Astir Palace Hotel, the fully updated 300-room hotel nestled amid 74 acres (30 hectares) of lush seaside landscape on the shores of the Athenian Riviera is also the first Four Seasons in Greece.
“It’s a landmark day in so many ways as we welcome our first guests to the new Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens,” enthuses General Manager Sam Ioannidis, a 27-year Four Seasons veteran who leads a team of 700 handpicked and highly trained staff. “So many of our people are locals or native-born Greeks returning to their homeland from around the world, or people who have deep roots in this culture and finally have the opportunity to live and work here. This heritage makes us even more excited to share it all with our guests – whether it’s your first time in Greece or you’ve been here many times before, we promise that we’ll give you an experience that only Four Seasons can deliver.”
Located on a peninsula just 30 minutes from the city centre and a half hour from Athens International Airport, Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel is the ideal choice for travellers who want to experience the best of ancient and modern Greece, weekenders from Athens or the region, families looking for a holiday that can be both fun-filled and educational, and couples who are beginning or renewing their lives together in one of the world’s most romantic destinations.
This Year in Athens“Everyone is aware of the wealth of ancient history to be found in Greece, but savvy travellers know there are also many other reasons to fall in love with Athens now,” says Chef Concierge George Vournazos. “In addition to helping guests plan the best ways to make the most of their time at the Acropolis and other major museums, the summer calendar is filled with performing arts, from the Release Athens music festival throughout June to orchestral, opera and dance events at the Athens Concert Hall and Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center.”
For art lovers, the Benaki Museum is currently featuring works by artists who were influenced by Yiannis Moralis, one of Greece’s greatest 20th century icons.  “Guests can also enjoy our in-house collection of close to 2,000 works by mostly contemporary Greek artists, and we are very pleased to collaborate with the Benaki Museum in hosting an on-site museum shop within the Hotel.”
Be among the first to stay at the new Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens and re-experience Athens in an entirely new way: The Grand Opening Offer featuring 20 percent savings on the room rate plus daily breakfast is extended through the end of 2019, and travellers are also invited to take advantage of the Stay Longer – Sixth Night Free package offering a complimentary night with each five nights paid. 
Best of Both Worlds: A Plethora of Seaside Fun Just Minutes from the City CentreThree private beaches strung together by a thousand foot (300 metre) boardwalk, three pools (free-form family pool, sleek infinity pool and indoor lap pool), five tennis courts, myriad watersports from windsurfing to sea kayaking plus a sunset sail every evening, an onsite basketball court and a golf club just steps away, extensive trails for jogging and walking, a fully-supervised complimentary Kids for All Seasons program housed in its own facility, boat access and even a helipad … in the words of Hotel Manager Panagiotis Sopiadis, “need we say more?” 
“If you’ve ever had to make the tough decision between staying in Athens or going to an island resort, Four Seasons Astir Palace has it covered in one seaside destination.”
Dining at Four Seasons: An International Tour Begins with Contemporary Greek CuisineHelmed by Executive Chef Bertrand Valegeas who brings more than a quarter century’s experience in kitchens all over the world, the Hotel’s culinary offering is as diverse as Greek culture. Director of Food and Beverage Sotiris Ananiadis explains:
“Within the Hotel we are offering eight unique concepts, with easy access to other marquee restaurants on the Astir Peninsula including Nobu’s Matsuhisa Athens. Here at Four Seasons Astir Palace, guests can tuck into the trattoria-style Italian specialties at Mercato; share beloved Greek favourites at the beachside Taverna 37; chill poolside with tapas and cocktails at our Latin American grill Helios; or – and this is my personal recommendation – enjoy a more sophisticated dining experience at Pelagos, where we are featuring the day’s best Aegean fish and seafood prepared to order.”
Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens also offers the lobby gathering place Astron Lounge and Terrace for light fare, afternoon tea and cocktails; the elegant Avra Lounge and Terrace; and the Hotel’s homage to the Astir Palace’s golden age at Aristotle’s cigar and cognac lounge. Four Seasons also offers chairside food and beverage service at its outdoor pools and beaches.
Please note that outdoor dining experiences Taverna 37 and Helios will open at a later date.
Holistically Inspired: The Spa at Four SeasonsTaking to heart the sage words of Hippocrates – “Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always” – The Spa at Four Seasons offers a comprehensive menu of treatments and services attuned to modern life. 
“The Fountain House is our hydrotherapy zone inspired by ancient Greek traditions updated in state-of-the-art facilities that include an aroma steam grotto, hammam, vitality pool and chill showers,” says Spa Director Elodie Lefebvre. “Experienced spa goers will delight in our innovative, results oriented treatments, while those in serious need of relaxation and pampering will be very well taken care of.”
Signature treatments created especially for the new spa include the two-hour Iremia Stillness Recovery Ritual (“a blissful, nurturing treatment for physically or emotionally exhausted souls,” recommends Lefebvre); the 90-minuteEpanorthosi Green Caviar Repair that addresses issues of ageing and environmental damage to the skin; and the Frodida Body Ritual (60, 90 or 120 minutes), which is carefully tailored to individual wants and needs by the Spa’s caring therapists.
Your Greek Home Away from HomeHoused in two distinct buildings and a collection of private bungalows, accommodations options at Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel range from light-filled rooms and suites to ultra-exclusive garden cottages.
At Arion with its modernist architecture and retro-chic design, guests will find a laid back vibe expressed in breezy rooms and suites. Four of the Hotel’s restaurants and lounges are also here, along with the Spa and indoor pool.
At Nafsika, azure sea views dominate every room and suite – including some with private pool. The social hub Avra Lounge and Terrace is here along with two other restaurants, the fitness centre and several luxury boutiques.
For guests seeking more space and privacy, and perhaps a little nostalgia, Four Seasons offers The Bungalows, originally built in the early 1960s, and now reborn with a fresh look and up-to-date amenities for today’s travellers.
Meetings, Events and Special Occasions at Four SeasonsWith a broad selection of indoor and outdoor function spaces accommodating guest lists from 70 to 700, Four Seasons continues the Astir Palace tradition of hosting productive business meetings and memorable social occasions with the added attraction of seaside accommodations for participants and guests, not to mention myriad opportunities for fun for everyone. The expert team at Four Seasons assists planners and wedding couples from the earliest creative ideas to flawless, worry free execution.

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Intrepid launches new retreats for parents and children as family travel booms

NEW YORK – Despite uncertainty in travel due to COVID-19 border closures and regulations, global tour operator Intrepid Travel has seen unprecedented demand for its family tours over the last several months, prompting the company to create new Retreat-style tours geared towards the demographic, with safety and quality as top priorities. Intrepid has found that a…

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Intrepid launches new retreats for parents and children as family travel booms

NEW YORK – Despite uncertainty in travel due to COVID-19 border closures and regulations, global tour operator Intrepid Travel has seen unprecedented demand for its family tours over the last several months, prompting the company to create new Retreat-style tours geared towards the demographic, with safety and quality as top priorities. Intrepid has found that a quarter of the top 25 itineraries booked by its customers globally over the past three months have been family-themed tours, compared to just 12% during the same period last year, indicating a desire for families to go abroad in 2021 after months spent distancing.Currently, the top family trips booked globally are all based in Africa and Asia, including the South Africa Family Safari with Teenagers and a family tour of Vietnam, while North American families are also interested in adventures in the Middle East, particularly Jordan and Egypt.“After months spent indoors away from friends and classmates, we’ve seen families are eager to get out and explore the world once it is safe to do so, and have a desire to reconnect with both nature and like-minded people,” said Dyan Mckie, Intrepid’s family product manager.The four new Family Retreats, based in Morocco, Turkey and England, will have groups immerse themselves in one location in handpicked accommodation with nearby experiences. This new tour style celebrates ‘slow travel’ and allows adventurers to engage with the surrounding communities away from the crowds and in a more controlled setting. Each itinerary has been designed to benefit local communities affected by the pandemic, while also providing enriching activities for children and parents who have spent the majority of 2020 indoors due to the pandemic. For example, in Turkey, families will visit a sea turtle rescue center – supported in part by donations from Intrepid travelers – to learn about conservation efforts and rehabilitation. In Morocco, they’ll break bread with a local Imazighen family in their village, getting an insight into daily life in the High Atlas region.The new Family Retreats include:Turkey Family Retreat: FethiyeThis tour has families reconnecting with the natural beauty of the world with a retreat that celebrates nature, wildlife and local cuisine. In addition to visiting a  a turtle rehabilitation center, they’ll also enjoy the clear, blue waters of the Mediterranean and enjoy an easy hike through the stunning mountainous terrain between Kayakoy to Oludeniz Beach. Travelers will also learn some new family favorites in a traditional meze cooking class with locally foraged produce. Morocco Family Retreat: Ouirgane The calm and comforts of Amazigh (Berber) hospitality await on this retreat to Ouirgage, on the edges of Mt. Toubkal National Park. Travelers will leave the modern world of Marrakech behind and journey to a home away from home to enjoy time to reconnect with their family. Families will hike the hills through small villages and farms, hang out with the locals, try their hand at making some iconic local dishes and enjoy a pool overlooking the mountains.England Family Retreat: CornwallTravelers will explore England’s southwest coast, soaking up the views of sun, sand and sea from their family-run accommodation and during walks through the history and nature of this proper ‘ansom section of Cornish countryside. Also included is a private yoga and wellness session and a visit to a small, family-run bakery that makes Cornish pasties the traditional way.England Family Retreat: Peak DistrictFamilies will enjoy Britain’s first national park and explore its forested valleys and small stone villages threaded by walking trails during this new retreat. Based out of the quintessential country town of Castleton, travelers will walk their way to the scenic villages of Bamford and Bakewell, along the banks of the River Derwent, passing farms, woods, cottages and more, while stopping along the way to grab a tea in a shop that supports, and is run by, the local community.Due to the continued demand, Intrepid also has plans to launch several family-focused tours within the U.S. and Canada later this year for those who can’t or won’t feel comfortable going abroad yet.Each tour will operate under Intrepid’s new Safe Travels health protocols, developed in partnership with the WTTC. All travelers will complete a health screening at the start of the trip and be required to wear masks in certain settings, in line with local laws and regulations. Groups are accompanied by a local leader who has received specific COVID-19 training, which covers hygiene, sanitation, physical distancing, PPE as well as supplier monitoring. In preparation for travel to resume, Intrepid recently introduced a new Flexible Bookings policy to make travelers feel at ease when booking their holidays, which permits changes to travel plans 21 days before a scheduled departure, allowing for new travel dates or an entirely different trip with no change fees.

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Airline CEOs to address major industry event

Chief executives from some of the world’s leading airlines will be in attendance at Routes Reconnected to discuss the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business models and how they intend to rebuild passenger demand.In open and frank discussions, industry heavyweights including Board director & Chief Executive Officer Air France-KLM Group Ben Smith,…

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Airline CEOs to address major industry event

Chief executives from some of the world’s leading airlines will be in attendance at Routes Reconnected to discuss the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business models and how they intend to rebuild passenger demand.In open and frank discussions, industry heavyweights including Board director & Chief Executive Officer Air France-KLM Group Ben Smith, Wizz Air CEO József Váradi, KLM President and CEO Pieter Elbers, Avianca CEO Anko van der Werff, airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss, Air Astana CEO Peter Foster, and Stefan Pichler President & Chief Executive Officer Royal Jordanian will address the week-long hybrid event, taking place from 30 November – 4 December 2020.As the leading group in terms of intercontinental traffic on departure from Europe, the Air France-KLM Group is a major global air transport player. Having steered the SkyTeam alliance members through the worst of the crisis, Ben Smith and Pieter Elbers are focused on rebuilding the airline’s balanced global network and reasserting its place in the market.With plans to double passenger numbers to 80 million by 2025, Wizz Air has continued to expand rapidly despite the disruption that coronavirus has brought. Under József Váradi’s leadership, the Hungarian low-cost carrier has announced more than 200 new routes over the last six months, opened a string of new bases, and launched a start-up in Abu Dhabi.Latvia’s airBaltic connects the Baltic region with over 60 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and the CIS. Martin Gauss expects measures taken by the airline, including the reduction of capacity and costs, will mean the carrier is in an excellent position to fully redeploy its A220-300 fleet as the market recovers.Despite effective debt reprofiling in 2019 and the successful execution of its “Avianca 2021” plan through Mid-March, Colombia’s Avianca was forced to file for voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 in May due to the impact of the pandemic. Anko van der Werff will outline the carrier’s turnaround plan and recovery strategy during the conference.Royal Jordanian has been an essential part of the country’s economy, contributing 3% of the national GDP. With extensive experience in leadership roles across the aviation and tourism sectors, Stefan Pichler is well placed to outline the financial considerations and actions that airlines must take to rebuild from the crisis.Steven Small, Brand Director at Routes, said: “By uniting leaders from across the sphere of aviation, we can help to shape the collective industry action that must be taken to stimulate the recovery.“Over 30 hours of live and on-demand content at Routes Reconnected will provide unmatched insight, inform future business strategies and the recovery plans of the global route development community.”Routes Reconnected will bring together the world’s aviation community to tackle the impact of COVID-19 and develop strategies that will support the industry’s recovery. This five-day event will consist of three virtual days of meetings, on-demand content and virtual networking opportunities, as well as two full days of in-person meetings at the Hilton, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.The airline CEOs join a strong line-up of big-name industry speakers. Association leaders including ACI World’s Director General, Luis Felipe de Oliveira; IATA’s Regional VP, Americas, Peter Cerda; and WTTC’s SVP, Membership & Commercial, Maribel Rodriguez will outline how aviation stakeholders can work collaboratively to develop networks that create long-term economic benefit and positive local impacts.More than 115 airlines and 275 airports and destinations are expected to attend Routes Reconnected, both physically and virtually, to engage in conversations that will go on to rebuild the world’s air services.The hybrid event will support the airlines, airports and destinations in navigating and adapting to the new market patterns, regulations and business practices that are emerging in the post-pandemic era.

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Crete favorite by Dutch for summer 2021

This summer vacation has been different from other years and for many people also different from what they had in mind. Greece may have been the desired destination this year, but due to circumstances trips were canceled or postponed. Several hotels remained closed this summer and not all flights from The Netherlands to Greek airports…

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Crete favorite by Dutch for summer 2021

This summer vacation has been different from other years and for many people also different from what they had in mind. Greece may have been the desired destination this year, but due to circumstances trips were canceled or postponed. Several hotels remained closed this summer and not all flights from The Netherlands to Greek airports were scheduled as normal.Despite of this The Dutch are already making holiday plans for the summer of 2021. With or without a Corona-voucher, many online searches for holidays are done already and holidays are also booked for next year to Greece.Crete, Kos and Zakynthos favorite summer vacation 2021In the past two months, visitors of Griekenland.net have voted for their favorite Greek destination in 2021. Crete received 13% of the total 1,566 votes and is the favorite Greek island for summer holidays next year. From the Netherlands there are direct flights to Chania (West Crete) and Heraklion (Central and East Crete) from April until October.Statistics of this poll show that Crete is no longer the undisputed favorite for the Dutch. The differences between destinations are becoming smaller and other Greek destinations are gaining popularity.  The top 10 of Greek holiday destinations in The Netherlands for next summer looks like this according to the poll-results.1. Kreta (13%),2. Kos (10%),3. Zakynthos (9%),4. Samos (9%),5. Rhodes (8%),6. Corfu (8%),7. Kefalonia (7%),8. Lesbos (7%),9. Karpathos (6%) and10. Peloponnese (6%).

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