A few weeks ago, the majestic Grand Hotel Poseidonion***** on the island of Spetses opened its doors again for the summer season. I had the opportunity to talk with Maria Strati, the charismatic general manager of one of Greece`s most spectacular hotels (read more on my blogpost about the Grand Hotel Poseidonion). Meet a very extraordinary woman that impressed me a lot during my stay last October:
Photo: I really enjoyed my chats with Maria
KHL: What were your career steps before becoming the manager of the Poseidonion?
MS: I come from a family of hoteliers so I was raised within the hospitality environment. I regard everything that I have experienced ever since as important, deeply believing that it always has something to give you. Cavalieri Hilton in Rome, where I stayed for five years, was the basis of my hotel training. Then, the next stop was the King George Palace in Athens, where I remained for another five years. In my opinion, it was the best city hotel in Greece at that time with the most important, world-class guests. My experience there brought me to the center of tourism and social events in Greece and remains up to this day as extremely important and useful for my future development. After that I undertook a project for Luxury Hotel Partners, the management company of Small Luxury Hotels, where I travelled to different countries of the world and came into contact with the top boutique hotels in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, meeting remarkable personalities from the hotel industry. Then, my stay in Eze in the South of France, gave me the opportunity to taste the cosmopolitan air of the region and to help my very good friend and owner of Eze Hermitage to deliver new ideas for her hotel. My position as the General Manager of Aqua Blu Boutique Hotel & Spa in Kos for 3 consecutive seasons was a very important period as I took over the management of the hotel in the first year of its operation. It is really touching to undertake something from zero and to watch its successful evolution over the years.
Photo: Elegance, class and professionalism - that`s Maria!
At Poseidonion, where I took on this position in March 2015, I realized that my career path had led me here as it was filled with the experience needed to manage such an important and challenging hotel.
KHL: What is essential for you to be successful as a manager of a luxury hotel? What are the key points?
MS: Working in the world of hospitality is amazing, however it is very demanding and managers must find their own strengths in order to bring balance and success in their careers. I strongly believe that patience and consistency are of immense importance in this job. I believe that the key points for me begin from doing everything with passion, having a vision, working hard, always being a fair player and encouraging teamwork.
The most important thing for me is the last point. My philosophy lies in teamwork. Good managers are judged not only according by their personal success but also by the level of their team’s success. The stronger the team players, the better the manager performs and is able to take care of the details that make all the difference, especially in a boutique hotel. Recruiting is crucial, but training is even more important. According to my philosophy and when I am looking for new people to work with, I look for professionals who have a vision, who share my ideas about what hospitality is all about, and who want to be part of a team that will constantly evolve in order to offer an exclusive and personalised service that will exceed the guests’ expectations, bringing it to the next level.
Photo: I am sure Maria would also be very successful in the fashion business!
KHL: Is it more difficult for a woman to succeed in this business?
MS: Women are basically perfectionists, characterized by persistence and patience and having a strong sense of responsibility. The increasing share of women in leadership positions shows that they can withstand hard work and they are determined in order to achieve their vision. In regard to the hotel industry, the feeling of hosting, welcoming, and taking care of someone is inherent in all women by nature, so they are acting instinctively as they would do towards their own guests at home. In reality, men most often hold managerial positions in hotels, however this has nothing to do with the ease and difficulty. It is not the sex that matters but the personality which confronts the difficulties of this work. The only sure thing is that such a position requires a strong stomach and a solid personality. I believe there are many capable women out there who can withstand difficulties!
KHL: What are your secret tips for Spetses/Greece? If not Greece, where do you like to go?
MS: Spetses is a truly gifted destination. Being here for 3 years already now, there are some special moments in my everyday life that make me feel relaxed. I love swimming at Ayia Paraskevi Beach as well as at Xilokeriza beach, giving me the serenity I need when I can spare a little free time during the day. Zogeria, on the other hand, is a perfect alternative for a swim with lunch at the traditional tavern. The bike ride from Poseidonion Grand Hotel to the magical old port of Spetses is an experience no one should miss! I also enjoy afternoon walks from my house in Kounoupitsa to Vrellos beach and back, especially during sunset when the colours are truly amazing!
My secret tip for Greece is definitely Ios island in the Cyclades, my personal heaven on earth.In general, I love to travel all over the world and discover new destinations and experiences.Shortly before the end of the season, I always plan my visit to a place I haven’t been before.
Photo: Maria Strati has given many interviews - here is one of them
Photo: Maria showing me around during my visit - what an awesome hotel!
For more info about the hotel, have a look at