Homeric Poems, Santorini
There’s nothing quite like Greece in the summer and this year, my travels took me to Thera (Santorini), famed for its whitewashed cliffs and caldera views. The island is a bucket list destination for many, but it is more than just breathtaking vistas calling. The region is steeped in ancient world history and great literary traditions, and my journey was inspired by Homer’s Odyssey.
A classic piece of literature we were encouraged to read in school, the dense volume was never something I could fully understand in my early years. But recently, I came across the first English translation of The Odyssey by a woman, Emily Wilson. My re-discovery of Homer’s poetic genius, this time in simple English, happily coincided with travel planning, so Homeric Poems was a fitting choice of accommodation in Santorini. Carved into the island's cliff face, the hotel is an ode to Homer and his epics (both The Iliad and The Odyssey). Each villa is named after a God, demi-God or other featured in his writings.
Homeric Poems epitomises the ‘less is more’ adage. Walls are bare and rounded, like a traditional Theran cave. Shower bases are hidden under a gorgeous piece of raw stone and décor pieces are few but oversized to make a dramatic impact against the blue and white backdrop. A marble infinity pool gazes out over the caldera, privy to spectacular views of the Aegean Sea, punctuated only by the occasional yacht or cruise ship.
Santorini sunsets are incomparable to anything I’ve seen elsewhere in the world and Homeric's cocktails are the perfect accompaniment. The service is undeniably 5-star. Every staff member greets you with a 'kalimera' or 'kalispera' and goes above and beyond to ensure your comfort; experience what Greek hospitality is all about here! The food? I typically keep choices simple and yet Homeric Poems manages to delight. An order of grilled prawns and Greek salad arrive exquisitely presented on a volcanic rock-like platter. The resident chef, Dimitris Skarmoutsos is a household Greek name who previously worked in fine dining establishments within Sheraton hotels.
At the entrance (and very top) of Homeric, is an abandoned fishing boat that is the first fishing boat registered and recorded in the island’s modern history. Installed as art, it is also one of the most photographed sights on the island. The boat depicts the challenges that were faced by Odysseus on his journey to reach home in The Odyssey.
Homer’s story of homecoming teaches us that you can go out onto the great sea, lose all your material possessions, come to the boundaries of death and yet, return as yourself. Santorini, much like Homer's poem, is also a story of survival. From volcanic eruptions in ancient times to recent earthquakes, Santorini’s people have learned to survive and thrive, despite the adversity of its restless soil.
Reflecting on the year gone by, and a little closer to home, we have witnessed similar uncertainty in industries like retail, construction and property, and the lessons from Santorini's history and The Odyssey return to mind. We share them with you as we wrap for the year, because they parallel our continued commitment to supporting clients through growth, challenge and success again in 2020, so that we may all continue to sail smoothly and enjoy the panorama from even greater heights.
“Smoothly the ship sailed through the ocean’s currents, first with oars, then only with the fair wind.”
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas, safe and happy holidays. Until next year, yeia sas! ☆