Who we are
Giorgos and Iannis grew up in their parents' first business, the Sarlitza Palas, a thermal spa Hotel in Thermi. In the early 60ties however thermal tourism was going down leaving space to the sea tourism. This is when Votsala was built, one of the first hotels for sea-holidays on Lesvos. In the 90s, Iannis and his wife Daphne took over the hotel after spending many years in Athens. Iannis, an architect brought Votsala to the 21st century, while maintaining the charm of the past. Lina, their daughter, is nowadays longer and longer with them, working hard to give Iannis and Daphne time to enjoy their grandchildren who also spend their long summers in the hotel.
He was 10 years old when Votsala was build by his parents. Later he worked as an architect on the mainland but since 1994 he went back to Lesvos practicing his artistic talent by gradually renovating Votsala. He much prefers being a hotelier than an architect, because - as he says: “to drink ouzo with my guests and organize walks through the history and the nature of Lesvos is more fun than dealing with the Greek bureaucracy for construction permissions!"
You can find a tree in Milano-Italy in the Garden of Righteous named Daphne Vloumidi but the real Daphne Vloumidi is at Votsala welcoming the guests. Daphne is the one who has developed the recipes for all the Votsala specialities. She loves cooking together with the guests every Sunday. In her book “Nostimo” you can find most of Votsala recipes together with stories from her life here on Lesvos.
Lina, is the daughter of Ianni and Daphne. We “train” her to become the third generation boss of Votsala. She has studied theatre and dance in Athens and she loves to wake up the guests gently with yoga exercises in the morning and to walk with them on the mountains of Lesvos.
Nana: was “sent” in 1994, by her first cousin Daphne, to help Iannis at Votsala. Nana fell in love with the island, its landscapes and people. She bought an old car and drove every single dirty road. Now she is not only working at the reception but together with Nina they enjoy discovering new walks and trips for the April “Spring Walks”. She also loves taking all Votsala guests (including youngsters) to the boat trips.
Nina as you understand from her typical name, comes from Norway. She married on Lesvos in the 80ties and stayed forever! Her Scandinavian spirit tries hard to organise the Votsala reception but as Greeks first invented “Chaos”, they think they are the only ones who can manage it! In order to forget a little the Greek contradiction, Nina is leading the “Spring Walks” where most of the guests are North European and the little Greek Nana is just a “minority”!
You can find them surfing in front of the fire while grilling at our barbecues, working behind the bar at breakfast, on the motor-boat rescuing somebody who went far with the kayak or you can see them holding tools and repairing a leak into your bathroom! All you always wanted from a man …but you can not have them as Spiro is already married with Rudina (our cook) and Kristo with Anna (the aim of our seminar house “Villa Daphnis & Chloe”)
Elvira, Maria, Lena: they clean the rooms and keep the floors shining, even when there is not a single square meter to be seen when you enter into a room with kids and teens. With their little English they will understand you. You can tell them for instance, to be “less Greek” when they talk loud out of your window. And please, don’t think that they do it extra in order to wake you up, send you for breakfast and let them free to clean your room!
Always is a happy moment when pupils become as good or better than their teachers. Following the Votsala recipes’ book “Nostimo” written by Daphne, Rudina with the help of Eleni and Despina create the best food of Lesvos using local ingredients including vegetables and fruits coming directly from our gardens.
Orestis despite his academic career he finds some time to help us designing our website once from Barcelona, once from Lancaster and now from Padova in Italy. You can meet him here in July-August when he comes with Faustine and their two children: Anais and Paris. If you need translation from/to Greek from/to English, French, Italian just ask our grandchildren Paris and Anais.
Giorgos (the brother of Iannis) is living in Munich and working worldwide cleaning the waste-water of paper factories. He is not only half-owner of Votsala property but of course our responsible for our water-sewage mechanisms… In July & August you can use his children (adults already) Asterina and Aktino as translators as they both speak perfect German-Greek and English.