Villa Clara, a Lebanon-based hotel and restaurant concept, is expanding towards Greece, and will open its first ‘maison particulière’ this July 6 on the fisherman port of Agia Marina in the island of Leros just a few miles from Bodrum.
Marie-Hélène Moawad, owner and concept creator of Villa Clara Boutique Hotel and Restaurant, told Hospitality News ME that together with her husband and cofounder, Olivier Gougeon, picked Leros for its intimacy, extraordinary modern history -the island is one of the finest examples of rationalist architecture-, and authenticity, especially that the island is not part of the traditional touristic circuits. These characteristics reflect the Villa Clara identity and lifestyle, she said.
She explained that since they saw the villa – that dates back to the early 1900s – four years ago, establishing a property there became on their agenda. This drove them to buy the building which is one of the rare structures on the island that belong to the historic Greek patrimony.
The villa has seven rooms, all boasting Apivita Greek amenities, which are organic and rich in bee derivatives. Investment in the project is EUR 1.5 million.
“Villa Clara offers a change of pace with its relaxed and easy way of life, the traveler might arrive (like superactive me at first) with an eager for action and constant activity. And then the island will take over, the urge will disappear, the agendas and work duties will clear up like magic and you will start punctuating your day with small things like sipping your coffee all morning on the charming fisherman’s port of Agia Marina, like longing and hesitating between that fresh lobster spaghetti at Mylos restaurant and the shot of urchins or simply looking at the stars at night after having a swim in the crystal clear water” she added. According to her, and though tourism is still undeveloped on the island, those who like swimming, snorkeling, and diving, will find great options there. The hotel can also offer organized tours on the island for those who wish to discover its hidden gems- castle, windmills, etc.
Moawad revealed that they have intentions to further expand the Villa Clara brand. “We are dreaming of opening up Villa Clara on the entire Mediterranean coast, and the third one will hopefully be on the island of Salina.”