Isidora Chandeli is the General Manager of Verina Hotels and Villas on Sifnos, Greece. A place that is House of Coco approved and somewhere that you have to visit if luxury is your thing.
Isidora spend some time chatting to #TeamCoco about the business, plans for the future and so much more…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
The story of Verina dates back to 2004. The vision was to provide a boutique hotel experience on an island whose style and personality calls for a more personal and understated approach.
What’s your background?
I have studied art and design and started my career as an interior designer. One project turned me into hotelier. I still wear the hat of an interior designer when it comes to taking care of the Verina Hotels and Villas’ style and aesthetics.
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
There is a small core group of people with well defined roles. Each one has a different background and experience, which has proven very useful and enriching in the process. There are the owner with a very clear vision for this business and a marketing coach who sets the pace for the promotional activities. A team of three people takes care of our digital presence and promotion. An operations manager oversees along with me anything that has to do with the hotels operation. And finally we have one person that heads the reception operation and is instrumental on site and two chefs that run the kitchens across all properties.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
I would organise work the way I do now. Today I feel I am on top of most of the things related to business. But to reach this point, one needs to make mistakes to accumulate experience. Overall, though I feel that we have managed well ourselves and the business, because the vision for what we wanted to accomplish was very clear.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
Dealing with the beast of bureaucracy! When you ran or start a business in Greece, you often have to handle unreasonable situations before you have your job done. That can be very frustrating and demoralising.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
I am a party animal! People who meet me at work would never imagine it. Even during summertime, on Sifnos, when the atmosphere is very relaxed, I keep my business cool because for me this is the most critical time. But comes winter, I let myself go sometimes and I really give it a go!
2017 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
Our plan is to expand the options we offer our clientele, without compromising the unique style of vacation we offer on a Greek island. We have built something that we wish to replicate, keeping the proportions right in order to secure the same results.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
The first summer we were fully booked was a big benchmark for us and the company. It offered us a sense of accomplishment that I still value a lot, although now it is pretty much the norm. Another highlight was the presentation of our hotels in an extensive coverage on Sifnos by the Condé Nast Traveller. When you start working in the hotel business you look at this magazine for aspiration. When it’s your turn to be featured in it, it proved really exhilarating!
Which city do you feel most at home in, London, Paris or New York?
Without any hesitation London!
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!
Unique aesthetics that apply across all expressions of oneself – be it people, companies, spaces.
Best thing about London to you?
This sense of organisation, order and respect. It can be so relaxing when you come from a different culture.
Statement shoe or statement bag?
Definitely shoes. To be exact the Adidas Stan Smith classic.
If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear every day?
A long, airy summer dress.
Favourite love song?
Suzanne by Leonard Cohen
Best place for a coffee?
The Verina Astra deck overlooking the blue of the Aegean Sea and the Greek skies. Believe me, the view is breathtaking and the feel is of total relaxation.
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
My boss gave me this advice when I started working. He told me that I need to be lenient with all people, because you never know what is their story and what “luggage” they carry…
If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Trois-Vallées in France, winter time, skiing down the slopes of the mountains. It is my antidote to only dealing with all-Mediterranean!
In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
Adding more choices for our clients in terms of accommodations, services, experiences.
Find out more…