Those years and passions have been full ones since childhood when the boys’ father George Daktylides built a hospitality empire on Mykonos, which includes nine of the leading luxury hotels on the island.
“My brothers and I are as proud of our roots as we are of our growth,” says Marios, about his parents George and Eleftheria. In addition to creating Myconian Avaton with his brothers, Marios brought the island the 52-room, 29-suite Myconian Kyma.
“Our father, along with the great support of our mother, Eleftheria, built their success on the back of hard work and meraki, which in Greek means passion,” says Marios. “I grew up in Mykonos and, like my brothers, I attended the world-renowned École Hotelière in Lausanne. There was never a question in my mind that this is what I wanted to do.”
Nor did Panos, Markos, or Vangelis ever ponder an existence outside hospitality—or their beloved homeland, for that matter. Indeed, Panos is quick to reminisce about the old days and a time when the island wasn’t always homeport to private yachts and luxury accommodations. “My mother, along with everyone else who lived off the land, will tell you that they traded their cheese, sausages, cured fish, and produce with the townsfolk for imports such as sugar, flour, rice, coffee, and spaghetti, not to mention the all-important cigarettes, sold individually from a big box,” he says.
The “old days” on the island and the early experiences of the Daktylides brothers stirs Markos’ recollections as well. “My father drove a bus that carried men and materials from town to the barite mines,” he explains. “He convinced his brothers to invest with him in a vehicle of their own. Before long, they were operating the only public transport on the island, with a fleet of 25 buses. This is where Vangelis, Panos, Marios, and I got our first taste for business and for catering to the public. We sold tickets on our dad’s buses, which was a little boy’s dream!”
And now many years later, the four stand together behind Myconian Avaton. But Vangelis is quick to point out that, while each of the brothers also has his own individual properties on the island, every one of those properties is a family affair. “We have always worked together,” he says. “Our relationship with each other is fantastic! We each have our strengths, be it food and beverage, recruiting, purchasing, or what have you.” And when combined, those strengths produce something that no outsider or individual alone could produce here on Mykonos: Hotels that emit a sense of family and home—hotels that resonate with the traditions of this ancient Greek island.