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22 May, 2024
 
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Greece tops billionaires' Mediterranean getaways

Uninhabited islands and yacht vacations gain popularity

Newsroom

Greece is this year's number one destination for billionaires in the Mediterranean, surpassing Italy, which traditionally was their top choice. However, according to the travel planners for the 1%, billionaires no longer want to go to Mykonos.

"Nobody really wants to go to Mykonos," says Jules Maury, the director of Scott Dunn Private, a company within the travel agency Scott Dunn that serves clients spending over $100,000 per year on vacations. According to her, most of her clients spend much more than that limit on their holidays. The recommended itinerary for them in Greece, for a yacht vacation, includes Paros and Milos.

"If I had to rank Italy, Spain, Greece, and France this year, Greece would win. Italy has always been number one, but now it's likely number two," says Edward Granville, director of Red Savannah, a London-based company catering to wealthy travelers from all over the world. His average client spends £35,000 ($40,000) for their vacation, but many spend twice that amount, with some clients even spending $1 million, he reveals.

"In the past year or so, when people say they want to go to Greece, they are referring to Paros. Everyone knows that Mykonos is crowded and extremely expensive, but Paros offers a return to the Greece that existed before it was taken over by party animals and beach clubs," adds Granville.

"People want to go to uninhabited islands, somewhere without electricity, and the only way to do that is by boat," explains Maury.

Business Insider connects Paros' rise in preference among affluent visitors with hotels like Cosme, Parilio, and Avant Mar (with the "stamp" of Nobu), which are transforming an island that was merely an intermediate stop for ships from Athens to other destinations in the past.

Yachts, private hotels, and crowd-free vacations

Looking into the latest trends among the 1% for their vacations, Business Insider came up with what they call "surf-and-turf travel," which means spending a week in a hotel or villa and another week on a yacht.

Indeed, yacht sales surged during the pandemic, and interest in yacht rentals has remained high ever since.

"We arrange a lot more yachts compared to before the pandemic, and now they are bigger and better. The budget has changed, from around $25,000 per week to $90,000," says Granville.

The clients of these companies don't want extravagant yachts like those of Russian oligarchs, but comfortable boats with spacious and beautiful areas, sunbeds, and water toys.

"I just spent £140,000 on a yacht with six suites. Clients want to stay on a Greek island and then have something entirely tailored to them at the end. They want the element of being away from the world: to have amazing accommodation and food, every game they could want, and not have to share it with anyone," explains Maury.

John Clifford from San Diego, the head of International Travel Management, whose clients spend around €10,000 per day on their basic travel, says he's constantly booking yacht rentals in Europe that cost €75,000 per day.

The goal of the super-rich is to escape their daily routine and avoid crowds. That's why they prefer private islands and hotels that are entirely closed off for their group.

For example, the brand-new Le Grand Jardin is a villa on a private island off the coast of Cannes, France. It rents for $290,000 per week and is highly sought after, according to Granville. If guests want to spend their evenings dancing at a beach club until dawn, they can take the villa's speedboat.

Botswana is also a favorite destination for billionaires as they can book entire hotels and enjoy the scenery, seeing leopards and elephants, with only their companions.

However, according to Granville, the ultimate isolated destination is in Greece and is not advertised to avoid drawing too much attention. It's a property in Porto Heli, resembling a small village, with seven houses, its own square, and a taverna. It costs $185,000 for a week and belongs to a shipowner who built it for himself.

"He doesn't want to advertise or promote it," says Granville, explaining that interested parties won't find it on his company's website. "You have to be approved to rent it," he says.

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