Today marks a full year since our incredible journey began, and I am absolutely thrilled to celebrate this special milestone. It feels like just yesterday, on July 25th, 2022, when KAMEO came into existence, like a new addition to our family.
Starting a new business in a foreign country, grappling with language barriers, and undertaking significant renovations within a tight time frame was no small feat. However, despite the obstacles, we persevered, and KAMEO came to life.
As a mother of three (Amit, Maya & Ella – their initials forming the heart of the name KAMEO), I thought I understood the depth of caring for someone deeply, but having KAMEO became an entirely new and heartwarming experience. The first year felt like the journey of a young mother, filled with sleepless nights and worries about every little detail. Would people appreciate what I am trying to do here? Would it have its own unique charm or will it be like all the others? How could we make it truly special for our guests? It was akin to being a new mom all over again.
But now, reflecting on this past year, I couldn’t be prouder. KAMEO has blossomed into something beautiful, much more than just a hotel. It has acquired its own distinctive personality, and that fills me with immense joy and satisfaction.
True, KAMEO might not be the fanciest hotel in the Cyclades, and there are still some facilities we’re working on for next year (i.e. The pool and pool bar), but it has evolved into so much more than just a place to stay. To me, KAMEO’s guests are not just visitors; they are MY guests and they come to stay in my house, and that’s precisely how I envisioned KAMEO from the start.
I was introduced to an incredible audiobook titled “Unreasonable Hospitality” by one of my guests, and it beautifully encapsulated what I felt but couldn’t quite express. There was a line that summed up the entire philosophy in one sentence: “Service is black and white, hospitality is color.” That’s exactly what I wanted to achieve with my hotel – not just beautiful rooms with keys handed out, but a space that fosters a sense of community, belonging, and family, even if only for a few nights. I wanted my guests to feel at home in the most exquisite spot on the planet – that, to me, is the essence of hospitality.
The joy of giving has always been my passion, and my joy in KAMEO comes from connecting with guests on a personal level. From the moment they book, I reach out to understand their expectations, desires, and what would make their dream vacation on this magical island. I cherish these interactions and feel honored to be a part of creating their cherished memories. Even if it may seem like “Unreasonable Hospitality,” it just feels right, and I believe most of my guests understand and appreciate it. The greatest compliment is when guests return, bring friends, and stay in touch even outside the season.
In a world where a sense of community often feels lost, KAMEO strives to build connections and meaningful relationships. Our BBQ nights, brunches, Backgammon tournaments, and delightful dinners – sometimes prepared together with our guests – have brought us all closer, making KAMEO a true home away from home.
As we blow out the first candle on KAMEO’s birthday cake, I can’t help but feel excited about the future. We’re already planning to construct a pool, pool bar, and a small restaurant, along with more pool view suites. KAMEO is evolving, and I am eagerly looking forward to what lies ahead.
I’m even toying with the idea of future siblings for KAMEO, but that’s a topic for another blog post!
I extend my heartfelt gratitude to my amazing team—Mihalis, Nikos, and Iostini—for sharing my vision and making KAMEO such a special place. A big thank you to all the guests who have been incredibly kind and supportive throughout this first year. And last but not least, my family, especially my incredible husband, without whose unconditional love and support, none of this would have been possible.
Happy birthday, KAMEO! Here’s to many more years of creating unforgettable memories and experiences together.