To be Greek is to love food—to truly, deeply love it. Greek mothers show devotion by preparing big, delicious suppers. Greek hosts show guests their respect and affection with elaborate feasts. Good food is as much a part of our heritage as the invention of philosophy and democracy.
We care so much about good cooking that it figures in some of our most famous (or infamous) stories. For example, consider the myth of the Sons of Pelops, the rulers of Argos (the birthplace of the Trojan War). The Pelops Boys got into a bit of an argument…apparently Thyestes engaged in some naughty behavior with Atreus’s wife Aerope. Understandably, some bad blood developed. But after a time, Thyestes wanted to make peace, and Atreus replied with an invitation to a banquet. It was a grand feast; the brothers drank deeply of the best wine, laughed over old times, and all seemed to be well. Until Atreus revealed what the main course had been: a stew made from the flesh of Thyestes’ two young sons.
A terrible way to treat a guest—but Atreus had a good teacher. His grandfather, Tantalus, had served his own son Pelops at a banquet he gave for the gods. He expected them to appreciate the depth of his devotion, but he had misjudged his audience. Appalled and nauseated, the gods condemned Tantalus to an eternity of thirst and hunger in Hell, and brought Pelops back to life. Of course, they did not know that the family would keep repeating history.
To fool someone when it comes to food, that’s a crime punishable with an eternity of torment! That is why, instead of inviting the ancient Gods, Domes of Elounda invited 5 award-winning chefs to prepare some of their most exciting recipes for our guests. Some of our visiting stars are Greek natives; others have been invited from neighboring countries. All of them have a passion for amazing flavours. Should the gods come to visit, they won’t be disappointed; we aren’t afraid of repeating Tantalus’s mistake! They, and you, can expect fresh ingredients, fresh ideas, and the excellent preparation that our Anthos restaurant always strives to offer guests. So visitors to Elounda can look forward to a month of feasting and revelry in the true Greek tradition. We’ll save family drama for the fireside stories. See you at the table!
Xenia is the Greek word for “hospitality,” which is something that we take pretty seriously. We have very good reason…the ancient Greeks believed that Zeus, father of the gods and the most powerful Olympian, was also the god of travelers. If you didn’t treat them well when they came to your village or home, you might find yourself sizzling from an angry lightning bolt! There are even stories of Zeus travelling in disguise in order to test the welcome that he received in each territory. If he was pleased by their warmth and generosity, he would reward them with special gifts and blessings. But if you were less than enthusiastic in showing a stranger a good time—look out! Plagues and famine could be coming in the near future.
Perhaps we worry less about Zeus these days, but we still care very much that guests feel welcome and comfortable. That is not only true for the staff of grand hotels, but for the host in even the smallest country cottage. It is part of our heritage. Hospitality has three key components for Greek people:
- We believe in providing a warm, bountiful welcome. We aim to provide good food, shelter, and all of the necessary creature comforts that travelers might need. We respect our guests’ well-being, their stories, and their space.
- We trust our guests to be equally respectful. When we open our doors, we know they will be equally friendly and gracious.
- We offer the gift of friendship and fond memories. The ancient Greek hosts always gave their visitors a parting gift—some memento to help them continue their journey. We think that today’s travelers best appreciate memorable experiences that they can treasure after returning to their own homes.
Hospitality is such a central part of our culture that children are named for it: Xenia for girls, and Xenias for boys. And because I am here to welcome you, and make you feel at home, that’s what they call me. I am here to help you get to know Elounda—our traditions, our history, our geography, our culture and cuisines—and to show you everything the Domes of Elounda has to offer, so you can make the most out of your visit. So, weary traveler, welcome. If you have questions as you prepare for a stay with us, feel free to drop me a line. I will be glad to help in any way I can.