Located on Andros Island, the northernmost of the Cyclades archipelago, Micra Anglia hotel is luxurious bolthole housed in a group of traditional mansions with a cool contemporary twist. We sat down with Dolly Valmas, the hotel’s owner, to hear about her inspiration for founding the hotel, and what is special about her beloved Andros.
‘It was my and my husband’s dream to create a unique property on Andros that would reflect the grandeur of our island’s rich history and provide our guests with authentic filoxenia’ (the warm, generous and wonderful Greek hospitality) Dolly tells us. ‘Micra Anglia is a complex of buildings, one of which was the house of famous Greek poet Andreas Empirikos, a traditional 19th century mansion with an air of aristocracy and nostalgia.’
Every part of the hotel has been carefully crafted, with Dolly firmly at the helm. The Valmas family own the construction company responsible for building and refurbishing the hotel’s group of beautiful houses. ‘We built the Micra Anglia Boutique hotel inspired by the original mansions in Andros and wanted our guests to experience this pure romance of Andros’ past grandeur.’
The hotel’s design is simple yet beautiful, reflecting classic design cues synonymous with the Greek Cycladic islands. ‘The interior designer, Eleni Psalti, created marvellous rooms and exquisite suites where crisp white contrasts with natural elements such as the oak floor, lush marble and stone to create a soothing ambiance’ Dolly says. ‘However my favourite place is probably the garden of the hotel, I really enjoy a nice cup of herbal tea in the afternoon by the pool. It is totally relaxing.’
On the topic of food, Dolly tells us ‘Our restaurant, Dolly’s, has my name so that it fully reflects the idea of welcoming guests in our home for breakfast, lunch or dinner.’ The ethos behind Micra Anglia is to make visitors feel like guests to a home rather than guests to a hotel. Dolly works very closely with the restaurant’s head chef Christos Venidis to create flavours that combine traditional taste with a modern appearance. ‘We are very much into the deep, authentic taste of every ingredient we use and we are trying to source locally everything that we include in our menu. This is why we have a lot of day specials, as dishes come from what we can source in our local market that is fresh and in season.’ The hotel’s wine cellar is well stocked with handpicked labels to match the delicious dishes.
‘We have a great team of employees that are very proud working for the best hotel on the island, and understand that this is achieved not only because of the architectural appearance of the hotel but because of the human factor’ Dolly tells us. ‘We treat guests as friends that we haven’t seen in a long time and this creates the calming, welcoming atmosphere.’
Constantly a draw for its abundant cultural offerings, Dolly tells us about the variety of guests they receive at the hotel. ‘We have a lot of famous guests, actors, singers, authors, directors, politicians, presidents and ambassadors from various countries. Our guests are usually people that are looking to relax, enjoy a beautiful stay in the centre of Andros and wander around the beauty of our island.’ With a number of great museums, ancient and modern history, a Museum of Contemporary Art with permanent and seasonal exhibitions, and an international festival taking place in the Open Theatre during summer, visitors to Andros will be spoilt for choice with activities on offer.
When asked about a must-do on the island, Dolly doesn’t hesitate for a second. ‘A walk in the Andros Routes. Over 100km of revived ancient trails that cross the island and will walk you through waterfalls, stone-built bridges and caves – places you cannot imagine discovering on a Greek island.’
Chief concierge Ioanna Zigkiri will gladly share her wealth of knowledge about the island. ‘In fact, even before your arrival she will contact you to make sure that you have everything planned for your trip’ Dolly assures us. ‘I am always looking forward to know who made the most impact on the guests experience so looking forward for this feedback by our guests.’