By nature I tend to pay attention to processes and customer service; How a hotel handles feedback on *****hair in the bathtub, “it was only one madam…” the clerk says ” yes, it was, but it was icky” and I’d just spent 12 hours in a plane, and frankly, in the US I expect more from hotel clerks.
I observe how Avis handles my report on a recent rental: an all pervading smell of cigarette smoke, cigarette burns in the seat, scratches and dents all over it, almost no profile left on the tires and 70 000 miles on the odometer. When I rented the car, the person said ” it’s the best car we have madam..” Cars rented by Budget and Sixt in Cyprus were in a whole different league. I’ve been waiting for an answer from Avis for 3 months now.
As a dedicated provider of feedback, when I am a customer, I like to tell people when I am really happy and impressed, I like to give compliments on a great service or a good product. And equally, if I am less happy, I believe, it’s so much better to let someone know. More often than not in my experience, they will do their best to make it right. Thanks to an excellent customer service focus in a hotel management team I am able to share a wonderful recipe with you today.
During a stay at the Elysium hotel in Cyprus (see more on hotel below recipe) some things didn’t go as expected, the front desk manager, sent a bottle of Cypriot wine up to our room. What I remember now, is mainly how they tried to make it right, not what went wrong, there is a lesson there. Overall the Elysium staff is excellent, professional and passionate about their work to a level that seems impossible to attain, in a hotel of this size – it’s almost like a magic trick. The managers say they achieve this through rigorous training. I suspect they also treat their staff very well. The management also seems to care about how you liked your stay. Anyone who submits a feedback from receives a thank you note from Stalo Zeniou and Christos Papamiltiadous, executive secretary and General Manager of the Elysium, respectively.
And if you ask them for a recipe, surprisingly, these same senior managers, respond with a lovely note and the hotel kitchen’s recipe for Kourelopita ( I couldn’t find the recipe online not in English nor using the Greek alphabet) so I suspect its appearance here is a first.
I was, and am still, quite impressed. Please enjoy!
50 g Greek yogurt
1 Tea spoon Baking Powder
Vanilla Essence – few drops
Rose water – Few drops
Filo pastry – 3 or 4 sheets
Almond flakes – half a cup
Mix all the ingredients, except for the filo pastry together with a whisk till all ingredients are combined to a smooth liquid.
In an ovenproof dish, pour some of the liquid mix in, until it’s a little less than ½ way filled. (the mixture will rise when cooking).
Dip one at a time the filo pastry sheets into the remainder of the mix and crumple gentle the pastry and place this crumpled wet filo pastry on top of the ovenproof dish that has the mix in it. Crumple the filo like you would a sheet of paper… crumple into a ball, not too tight. Do this to the 3 or 4 sheets of filo until the oven proof dish is covered with the pastry.
Pour a little more of the mix over the filo until the mix now reaches about ½ way up in the dish. Sprinkle with almond flakes.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 165 degree Celcius for 25 – 35 minutes or until the mix is SET, and the filo pastry is golden and crisp. Keep a close eye on it.
I haven’t made this yet, but trust me the original version was divine, and so so pretty.
More on the Elysium in Paphos
Personally I am more of a small, boutique type hotel person, I guess having traveled for business a lot, I am tired of the big corporate hotel type structures and prefer to immerse myself in a more unique, local experience. However, if you have kids, if you like sitting next to the pool or the beach all day, are looking for a great spa with a fitness schedule, if you enjoy large rooms and don’t mind a hotel complex with 600 guests in it (it is very well designed so that it doesn’t really feel crowded) and like to lounge in well-kept gardens with a view of the ocean a gin and tonic in hand, you may well love it here. Make sure you get a room that is far away from the bar though, unless you stay up till 1am every night. There is live music every night . If the above ticks all your holiday boxes, then the you will most likely love this hotel: Elysium in Paphos, Cyprus. Also it’s easy to get to from the UK. It gets full marks on Tripadvisor and so it appears to hit the spot for a great many tourists. Oh and the breakfast buffet is wonderful, they restock it so often that everything is always fresh and you never encounter that ” a swarm of locusts has just been here” look that you might get in other hotels.
Beyond all the above, what makes this hotel truly marvelous and unique in my experience, is that the majority of the staff appears genuinely to enjoy their job. They are friendly, they smile, the bring you whatever you need, they offer to run upstairs to reception to get your key-card sorted when you are about to sit down in the restaurant for dinner, voluntarily and with enthusiasm. The majority goes above and beyond what you’d expect them to do. And they don’t do it in the way that tells you they want a tip, they provide for you, the same way you might look after a guest in your house. Professionally, with courtesy, thoughtfulness and every sign of caring that you are well taken care of.
Another sign of the management’s dedication to excellence is, that if you fill in a feedback form it goes straight to the GM, when you get home you will find a thank you letter signed by the GM in your Inbox. Of course, I don’t know if they actually implement the feedback, we couldn’t sleep for a couple of nights in a row, we were on the third floor above the bar, and despite closed windows the bar music made it to our bedroom – the noise was loudest in the bathrooms – I suspect due to the shafts containing pipes being sub-optimally noise-proofed. The night manager at the front desk nodded wearily when I told him and said ” yes, I know, put it in the feedback form”. Overall though, this is a great place to hang out and relax, it could be anywhere in the world, but if that’s what you love, then you will love it here.