Out with the tour reps and in with the ‘guest experience manager’… the package holiday giant is targeting a new generation with the launch of its first boutique hotel on the island of Rhodes
Casa Cook is out to impress. On arriving at the newly-built Kolymbia resort, on the Greek island of Rhodes, we are informed that the reception area is not merely a reception, but also a “concept store”. The restaurant is not simply a restaurant but “The Kitchen Club”. The poolside bar is, as far as I can tell, just “the bar”, but there are none of the usual fishbowls, no tiki huts, and definitely no Sex on the Beach. Instead, it is filled with cast-iron chairs, wicker lampshades and rustic wooden stools (all available for purchase from the aforementioned concept store).
But this is not the newest branch of the Ace Hotel chain, or a trendy Scandinavian boutique (although there’s plenty of Nordic inspiration to be found and, more importantly, Instagrammed). Casa Cook Rhodes is the latest resort from Thomas Cook, the brand better known for offering family-friendly budget getaways, which is now hoping to harness the “bohemian spirit” of a “new generation of traveller”. It is the first of a newly-launched collection of hotels (with more due to open next year) built specifically for Thomas Cook – a move extremely rare in the tourism industry.
In contrast to the reps at nearby Faliraki, famous for its teenage hedonism, here they won’t slap a wristband on you