An investment boom is looming in Attica’s spas

By | May 17, 2023

Lagonisi, Saronida, Sounio, but also the coasts of eastern Attica and nearby islets, as well as obsolete and abandoned hotel complexes from previous decades are some of the points that become the focus of investment schemes, which are interested in developing spas. on the outskirts of the only European capital with direct access to the sea. According to the information, among the stakeholders evaluating these plans are large hotel multinationals, such as the French Accor, Greeks that have already taken steps, such as Grivalia Hospitality in Petalios and of course the Asterias in Glyfada, Israelis, some of the that they have already placed, like Brown in Punta Zeza, but also Arab. The corresponding investment plans are based on a number of assumptions:

First of all, Greece is in the top 5 of the most popular destinations in the world.

Secondly, infrastructures have been developed in Attica, such as the “El. Venizelos” airport and others are underway, such as the metro extension and Attica street, as well as waste management units that can accommodate higher volumes of travel. .

Third, it has the natural beauty and historical heritage, as can be seen in dozens of world-class archaeological sites and museums, such as the Acropolis Museum or the National Archaeological Museum, especially after their planned expansion and improvement.

Fourth, Attica can be a springboard for short trips in the Aegean, but also for neighboring prefectures, reversing the trend of being a stopover towards a final island destination. In other words, there is a demand, and even from higher income travelers, for vacations in Attica during their stay in the country.

Any new large unit on the Attic Riviera is a drop in the ocean of demand for luxury accommodation.

Fifth, hotel and other infrastructure development has so far been concentrated in the center of Athens.

Ekton, according to a recent study by the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasting (ITEP) in collaboration with GBR Consulting on behalf of the Athens-Attica-Argosaronica Hotel Association (EXAAA), over the past eight years (2015-2022) the number of hotel rooms in central Athens alone saw an increase of around 19%. In addition, the increase in apartments and houses available for short-term rentals was also explosive. But the vast majority of them are located in the urban fabric of the capital. On the contrary, in the southern suburbs the number of hotel beds has shown a decrease, albeit marginally by 1%, in the period 2015-2022. In all other regions of Attica, including the Argosaronic Islands and Piraeus, a drop is recorded in the ITEP study.

Seventh, any new large unit in the Attic Riviera is a drop in the ocean of demand for luxury accommodation. Existing or planned major investments in beachfront resorts can be counted on the fingers of two hands: the Asteras Vouliagmenis, which has been transferred to Arab interests, the Grand Resort in Lagonisi, the Divani Apollon Palace in Glyfada and Cape Sounio are in operation at the most south-eastern point of Attica. Resorts are being developed, such as the One & Only Aesthesis at Asteria in Glyfada, which represents an investment of €300 million and is expected to open by the end of this year, but also the two new hotels that TEMES will jointly develop with Lamda Development in Elliniko, with a budget of the order of 300 million, but it will take at least three more years to hit the market.

The foregoing, together with other lesser-known resorts on the beaches of Attica, that is, investments that accumulate more than two billion euros, are not only insufficient to cover the existing demand for this type of luxury hotel infrastructure, but are also “Infrastructure supply drops into an ocean of potential travelers, who want to visit Greece and spend most of their vacation in Attica,” as one Greek hotelier planning to enter this market puts it.

It is this gap that existing and newly entered Attica business groups from Greece and abroad will try to fill in the coming years with large resorts.

Grivalia Hospitality develops the One & Only Aesthesis in the old Asteria de Glyfada.

Reactivation of abandoned complexes and new developments

Hotel real estate market circles estimate that Attica can “lift” at least 10 more large luxury resorts. But the interest is coming not only from real estate development companies, but also from international hotel management chains. Attica has a very small number of hotel complexes that cooperate with large international chains, which in recent years have been seeking access to this type of alliance, seeing the opportunity, the same sources explain. Speaking to “K” recently, Giorgos Chrysikos, Chairman and CEO of Grivalia Hospitality, which is developing One&Only Aesthesis in the ancient Asteria of Glyfada, noted that “Athens annually receives around 7 million visitors, while Rome receives 30 millions”. . And, of course, Athens has no shortage of sights and history, plus it’s just a short drive from the sea. This is one of the reasons why Grivalia Hospitality is moving forward with the new project in Petaliou, where it seeks to develop a luxury resort that will operate for 12 months. Development opportunities on the Attica waterfront have certainly not escaped the attention of Yannis Retsos, President of SETE and CEO and co-owner of Electra Hotels & Resorts. Speaking to “K”, he notes that he is following the development of the Athens waterfront “because I believe, both as a hotelier in Athens and with considerable experience with already 3 units in Athens, that the city is changing its orientation towards its waterfront. “. “The developments we see there will have a positive effect for decades to come,” he stresses, noting that “Athens is the only European capital with a beachfront, so a business type of resort hotel can easily work.”

However, other private Greek interests have balked at these prospects, such as the Laskaridis family, which long ago bought a large abandoned but historic complex in an iconic location in Sounio. At the same time, Israeli interests are positioning themselves in the market for hotel complexes in the coastal areas of Attica. The interest expressed in recent years by TAIPED in the large area of ​​the Anavyssos salt pans is also very great, both from a large French hotel group and from Greek interests. It is a land of more than 700 hectares with access to the beach.

The same reasoning is also promoted in the project that is being carried out in Saronida for the holiday and tourist development of 6,000 hectares, in an investment of the order of 750 million euros, which has been included in the strategic investment regime.
Revival of ancient complexes across Attica, which often sit deserted for decades, is the only path investors are expected to follow, estimate banking sources monitoring the entire process. The other path, that of building new hotels from scratch, is naturally limited by the availability of adequate land, but also by spatial, urban and environmental regulations.

And somewhere here is the secret of success, but also the risk of the whole process, which has already begun: the development of luxury resorts in Attica must be done “with absolute respect for the environment and in moderation, in order to so as not to become a new wave of its foundations”, underline the architectural and environmental circles.

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