|Colin Murison Small's
The Hidden Greece Concept
Essentially we concoct made-to-measure holidays at a package price. If four people travel together, that’s a big group by our standards; we employ no reps to sell you excursions you don’t want or can arrange yourself at half the price; we give you detailed instructions about your flights and ferries; and, just in case something still goes wrong, emergency phone numbers of our agents in Greece and us in the UK. We use almost exclusively small-scale, family-run (but by no means always simple) accommodation where the owners are always pleased to help, their local knowledge and contacts usually surpassing those of the average rep.
The Martian Risk
We know our clients like to meet Greeks rather than the 150 Brits who shared the plane with them. That is why we give each resort its Martian Risk rating, indicating the danger of meeting them on the ground. It may be politically incorrect, but we know it’s popular with our clients. Please note, however, that (1) clients of rival specialists do not rate as Martians; and (2) although there will be few Martians staying in our resorts you may bump into some in their hired space-ships: you can identify them by the antenna poking through the sun roof.
That said, we offer a few places where the risk of meeting Martians is offset by facilities such as water sports or a disco which are there precisely because of the Martians. The requirements of parents and teenagers don’t always coincide, so our compromise resorts should keep everyone happy – see “families with teenagers” in the table Where for What?
Greeks will be Greeks
Greeks do not prostitute their way of life to please the tourist: they carry on rising with the sun, enjoying luke-warm food and turning shouting matches into an art form. Not everyone will appreciate the finer aspects of Greek life - the cockerel greeting the sunrise from your window sill, the tendency for buses to operate at dawn or the noise the locals make when you want to sleep. But remember they may not appreciate the noise you make during their siesta!
Our clients return time and again because they like our small scale, mostly family-run, accommodation where friendliness replaces servility. If there’s no plug in your basin in some soulless concrete block, you will complain at reception, receive an offhand response and….still have no plug the same evening. At Spyros’s Rooms however, Spyros will promise to fix it, meanwhile bringing you an ouzo on the house. He’ll forget of course, but by then you will have gone Greek too and realised there are more important things in life than a plug. You could even bring one with you.
There’s no such thing as service in Greece. Instead you are welcomed as a guest and treated as one of the family. The tourism authorities are always launching initiatives to train hotel staff, but they might as well ban stripes on zebras. The thought of a Greek waiter sidling up to the table and asking “Everything all right, sir?” would have anyone who knows Greece paralytic with laughter. Greeks work hard for themselves or the family, but not for “Them”.