Explain your role and how long you’ve been at CV
I am the Senior Villa Specialist, I have worked for CV Villas for 16 years, starting in Corfu and now for many years in London.
What are the current trends in the type of holiday people are looking for
Memories. Customers are looking for a holiday that creates memories, something personal they share with families and friends, as well as often on Facebook and Instagram. They want us to help them create memories from wonderful experiences on their holiday.
Experiences have changed over the years, customers now want to plan ahead. This could be something simple like arranging for their fridge to be pre-stocked ready so that they can have a cold beer, a glass of wine or snacks for the children upon arrival. Booking a chef or local cook to prepare a tasty lunch or family barbecue is also very popular.
Other experiences that we can arrange include hiring a boat with a skipper, horse-riding through the olive groves, a massage on the terrace or early morning yoga.
What is your favourite destination?
Greece, it’s like a second home to me. The Ionian islands have a villa suitable for everyone, of all shapes and sizes and locations; the islands are green with hundreds of olive trees and the sky blends in to the sea. I prefer the pebble beaches as the water is so crystal clear and a personal favourite of mine is Avlaki in Corfu. If you want the aquamarine blues and greens then visit Bartari beach in Kassiopi or take a trip to Anti Paxos. The Greek people make your holiday, they are so friendly. You could be in a cafe, a local taverna, or a supermarket, or simply asking for directions when the sat nav has gone wrong and you're up a goat track and they will typically help you without hesitation.
Which is your favourite villa that you’ve stayed in within our whole portfolio and why?
Many of my customers ask me the same question and I will always say the same answer. The one with the best view, where I can go for an early morning walk when it's very peaceful. I'll have morning coffee and watch the day start and if it's early the sun is rising: Villa Olivia in Lefkada. I'll walk down the hill to see the locals in their fishing boats and walk back up the hill for my coffee.
I am still waiting to stay in my most favourite house, which is a small stone house with its own vines just below and views of the Greek channel and over to Albania. I am waiting to have my morning coffee at Villa Kokkini.
When and where did you go on your last familiarisation trip?
With temperature in the 20’s I spent the last few days of October in Corfu on just a 4 day trip. You can see so much in 4 days, plenty of villas and beaches, a night in Corfu town at the Liston and a tasty meal at Rex’s.
Which villas did you see in Corfu?
My trips are always varied, which shows the diversity of the villas we have in Corfu. I try and visit ones I have been to before because something has always changed from the last trip. Villa Yaneleni's grounds have matured so much since my last trip and in the October sun the flowers were stunning. Villa Bliss and Villa Las still have the most stunning views from their terraces; Lithari with its great gardens and full trees; Villa Rosa with a large pool and indoor pool and Moira with trees full of ripe pomegranates. My morning walk along the beach was from Nero beach house, one of our new houses for 2019..A trip around St Stephano Village means seeing many of our customers favourites Eleni, Evangalia, Fotoula and two more to the St Stephano village family Meraki and Pythia. Indianna with its tree house and walk to the beach; Penelope within walking distance of the beach in Krouzeri with its tavernas, watersports and boat hire; Electra and Nefeli on the hillside of St Stephano.
Wow.. what’s new in Corfu! I saw Pebble bay (pictured below), part of our ABOVE collection. How can you not fall in love with this house? Soukia is back- the sister to Vinita and Zografia - you will find it in our above collection, and finally Hera house is walking distance to Agni sleeps up to 6 people , I can’t wait for all of our customers to see this one on our website.. look out its coming soon!
What would be your top tip for someone considering a villa holiday?
Everyone in the party will each have a wish list, customers often tell me we have a WhatsApp group for the holiday. I ask customers for their top three things they would like from the holiday and I work with these.
When travelling with friends or family who you've not travelled with before, it's important to be realistic and honest with each other. You might not quite be ready to share a bathroom or spend the same amount of money on the holiday. You might not feel comfortable waking up and making a cup of tea in your pyjamas. We can’t reinvent their house at home for them, but we can create memories for our customers
If you feel inspired by Jo's love for Greece, take a look at our selection of fabulous villas on these beautiful islands or call 0207 261 5400 to speak to Jo or one of our other Greece experts.