Very few buildings stood in the area at the time.
Moraitika beach with its shallow turquoise waters and a bay where dolphins still swam by on a daily basis was certainly a vision of an earthly paradise.
Delfinia restaurant was a success. It stood where Delfinia Hotels’ KIRKI Beach Bar is today.
It was the place to eat and greet, it was the place to be meet and be seen. The air smelt sweet and was full of possibility and growth. The 60’s after all saw the development of Corfu Island’s first major hotels and the beginnings of its organised tourist industry.
Mr Christos Chimarios, a successful and talented carpenter, was inspired by what he saw and apparently knew an opportunity when he saw one.
He made a proposal to the owners of Delfinia restaurant that involved the contribution of his skill and materials to build a hotel that would have Delfinia as its restaurant as well as its name. Agreements were made between three different parties and the main building of Delfinia Hotels that stands today was built within a single season.
Delfinia Hotels opened its doors in the summer of 1967. At least four other large hotels on Corfu Island existed at the time including Miramare, the Swiss owned Corfu Palace Hotel and Corkyra in Gouvia.
Mr Chimarios and his wife Efstathia both enjoyed an active part in the running of the hotel. Despite the newly instated dictatorship in Greece business thrived and well to do clients, primarily from the United Kingdom, arrived in evening gowns with their husbands at first to be served by Greek waiters in tuxedos and dance to grand sea side orchestras.
Two major fires mark the 47 year history of Delfinia Hotels both in the years between 1980 and 1993 that Delfinia was leased to independent management.
One was in the reception hall of Delfinia’s main building set off by a sleeping security man’s cigarette with no major damage. The cause of the second fire was never determined. It did however destroy the entire Delfinia Restaurant and all surrounding storage areas where the Activity and Fitness rooms stand today. By that time new building licence laws were past that forbade beach front development. FEAKES Restaurant was built to replace the original Delfinia restaurant as the main hotel dining hall.
By 1986 it is time for the aging Mr. Chimarios to hand over the business to his two capable daughters.
As working women with families and children the two sisters decide to build two private houses in the hotel grounds that allowed them to meet the demands of their modern lifestyles. It is at this time that many of the current reception staff came on board and that all three buildings came under the roof of a single management.
Small but steady acquisitions of adjacent land also meant that Delfinia Hotels could expand further.
Fascinating contracts show three olive trees bought here, a water well there, some more olive trees a bit further away. The second Delfinaki hotel, whose name means little dolphin, was built by the pool side as it stands today. The third building called Delfinaki II was built on the upper level of the current Delfinia Hotel complex.
Mr Chimarios passed away at the age of eighty in 1992.
The story of Delfinia Hotels, however, continues to unfold with an energy of love and care that only a family run business knows how to invest.