With Passion For Life
This interview was taken in the summer of 2019, before the world was overwhelmed by the lung plague pandemic. Back then, with no sign of the coming disaster, many of us paid little attention, if any, to the voice of wisdom advising us to love life, our neighbours, and the planet we lived on. Today, let’s hear life-loving Thanos and Natasha Michaelides, the owners of Thanos Hotels & Resorts, speak about their unique hotels.
As to my name, when I was born, Father visited a church where he saw a pretty little girl named Natasha. He made up his mind to give me this name. According to the Greek Orthodox tradition, I was to have got my saint’s name, Anastasiya, but not Natalya, as is the custom in Russia. Still, my parents were adamant, and I became Natasha. I was 13 when my hotel was built. I decided to name it Anassa, meaning ‘Queen’, instead of giving it my Russian name. This way, we started realising Father’s wish to make it the best resort in the Mediterranean. His dream has come true, and now, it is the Queen of the Med and its ultimate retreat.
Many companies have business philosophies nowadays. We, a young family business run by my brother, sister, and me, have worked out ours too. Each of our exclusive hotels has a unique style and concept catering to a specific target audience. We do not want to be just another predictable hotel chain. We do our best & utmost to craft a one-of-a-kind personality, a complete character, and an individual history for each hotel. This is the main feature & competitive advantage of the Thanos Hotels & Resorts brand world.
My personal story began with my living in a hotel, our parents having to stay there. I became aware of it years later. My friends told me I had always paid close attention to the guests’ lifestyles and manners, trying to figure out behavioural patterns, which became my habit. Having realising it, I gradually stopped watching people around me but kept imagining stories about them. Besides, living in a hotel was a bit boring, so, once in a while, I would tease our guests by stopping a lift a few times or play little jokes on them by rearranging their balcony interiors. The hotel was a big world working 24 hours but changing completely at night. No doubt, my quick eye and the inside knowledge of hotel life were the factors that helped me later to work out a special concept for each of our hotels.
The last one was launched 20 years ago, and it’s also become a world of its own kind, though quite different – marked by will. There’s a national park nearby, so to keep the natural environment intact, we planted trees and put the hotel behind this green shield. The area is a tortoise habitat, and we made it a point to preserve their population. I did a training course to learn more about these reptiles. We hired a landscape designer and planted flora typical for the locality.
Now, the hotel looks as if it had always been there - an organic part of the surrounding landscape. We are very concerned with preserving our planet like all environmentally-minded people caring about its future. We try to use as little plastic as possible and never use wrappings and bottles.
All our office work is paper-free, and we offer our guests a choice between using paper or towels. All our facilities are equipped with a bio-system of turning off the electricity. The water we’ve used goes through purification. We are proud that Cyprus’s waters are the cleanest in the Mediterranean and regularly organise cleaning teams to get rid of all wastes.
An essential part of our HR policy is recruiting the team primarily in Cyprus. We enjoy helping the local communities make a good living. Feeling responsible for our neighbours, we do a lot of charity for them, such as covering their children’s education expenses. A while ago, we were particularly pleased to host a creativity fair at which our staff members exhibited and sold their DIY creations.
Another concern of ours is children with autistic disorders. We’ve created an event platform for their development & socialization. Our location being quiet & serene, it’s a real haven for kids unable to bear loud sounds and having difficulty making out human speech.
We also host large-scale events, but the most intriguing of them cannot be publicized due to our Confidentiality Policy limitations. Of particular interest are some guests’ exotic requests. For instance, once, we received a sizable group of tourists wishing to swap day and night, i.e., sleep by day and stay up by night. To meet that challenge, we, among other things, had to completely rearrange the meal time-table in their part of the hotel.
We are always happy to receive celebrities as most of them are modest and not too demanding. In the meantime, it’s our duty & responsibility to make sure they are protected from too much public attention. We are pretty good at that, though at times, quaint things do happen. For one, Emma Thompson was staying with us after the world premiere of It Appears to Be a Matter of Life and Death, and Oprah Winfrey decided to feature the actress in her live talk show. At the end of the talk, Oprah was going to ask Emma where she was at the moment. It would have been good publicity for us, so we did our technical best to provide high-quality unbroken communication. All went well, but the moment Oprah asked that question, the connection was lost!
Our lovely neighbourhood is ideal for holiday-making. The local food is the tastiest & healthiest in the Mediterranean. Haloumi cheese is just irresistible – once you try it, you cannot help yearning for more. It’s become so popular with our guests that we’ve had to hire a special cheesemaker to produce it from morning till night. We serve it with vegetables and yogurt.
Following the latest trend, our hotel has an excellent spa enabling our guests to make their stay most revitalizing.
We’re sure parents should not ruin their holiday by taking care of their children, so we’ve got animation programmes for our young guests. Our design and luxury hotels are child-friendly, so the parents always have time for relaxing in the spa and other leisure options. Our professional animators and special facilities like Explorer’s Children’s Club help to realise the parents’ wish that their young ones should enlarge their knowledge about nature or learn to play music and dance.
So, everybody is happy as no other guests are disturbed and no one’s personal space is violated while the kids have fun and socialise, acquiring a new cultural code of resting in exciting and useful ways. What I love most about my work is the unique brand we’ve created. We avoid the beaten paths offering our customers something they’ve never tried before. I enjoy making up bright and thrilling surprises so no one could guess what’s coming next. I wish the whole of mankind would realise that we all should live as a world-wide community responsible for each other and the planet to change our world for the better.