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Roy Kalfopoulou
The Lady of the Islands

MBO Roi Kalfopoulou Rocabella Header 01
  • Words Tom Osmond
  • Images Robbie Lawrence

She’s a gregarious soul on an Athens corner, a welcoming host on Mykonos and Santorini, a mother, a creative, and and all-around hospitality dame.

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Roy Kalfopoulou has lived and breathed hospitality since birth. Born into a family of Greek hoteliers, her childhood unfolded against a backdrop of hotels, and then her degree in psychology allowed her to approach her “destined” profession with an academically empathic angle—taking her from internships and front-facing positions in London hotels to her own properties in Greece. At the time of writing, Roy and her family are expecting twins—with the notion of “family” including her husband, son, future children, staff, and guests. Perhaps this explains her wholehearted approach to hospitality, the warmth of her welcomes, the atmosphere of her properties, and her outlook on what’s to come.

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“The most reliable source of inspiration for me has always been the blazing sun, the deep blue sea, and the brilliant white color of the Cyclades.”

Roy Kalfopoulou

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What are the personal touches you’ve made that one sees in the hotel?

You can detect my personality throughout the hotel, from the interior design and overall ambience to gastronomy. But I think what most encapsulates my approach to hospitality is the manner in which we interact with our guests, casually approaching them as if they were an integral part of our social circle.

What’s inspiring you at the moment?

I find all aspects of Greek culture and its appeal to a global audience very inspiring. But the most reliable source of inspiration for me has always been the blazing sun, the deep blue sea, and the brilliant white color of the Cyclades.

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Is there a place you love going back to over and over again? If so, why?

Without wishing to sound cliché, Mykonos is my happy place! Just thinking about the summer there gets me through the winter. The wonderful beaches, the amazing restaurants, the vibe... it’s a place I always want to come back to.

Do you travel differently than you did 10 years ago? Do you think you will travel differently in the future?

Yes, I definitely traveled differently in the past. There was a time before I became a mother when I used to go camping at the drop of a hat. I was more unorganized and spontaneous back then. Now, it’s a completely different era. I have to plan everything beforehand!

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Describe a person, property, or place you know that’s doing amazing things to make the world a better place?

Make-A-Wish”, a charity granting life-changing wishes to critically ill children. In the fight against a life-threatening illness, each wish that comes true serves as a catalyst for hope, renewed strength, and encouragement for the children and their families on their difficult journey, giving them a chance to experience life beyond illness. Recently, Rocabella Mykonos partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to make the dream of a boy called Nikolas who’s suffering from leukaemia come true. Together, we were able to get him the blue electric car that he was dreaming of!

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What measures have you taken to be part of the inclusive culture rising in travel?

We’ve created a Cycladic haven centred on the warmth and sincerity of Greek hospitality, and the simplicity of the island’s vernacular architecture where guests can be their authentic selves. Character is what makes a hotel stand out; it’s the ability to make guests feel at home but at the same time to immerse them in an authentic experience. At the end of the day, Rocabella is a microcosm of what we ourselves look for while traveling. We also try to help the environment. You can see what’s happening with global warming, and I think that’s the environment complaining about how humans are behaving, and everybody should accept responsibility and take action. It’s also a good opportunity for the hospitality sector, in Greece and beyond, to rethink the modus operandi.

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