Dozens of customers— who eventually became friends— of one of the most recognizable faces in Greece came together virtually from all corners of the globe to bid him a fond farewell.
Tim Ananiadis, the longtime general manager of the Grand Bretagne Hotel in Athens and a familiar face to so many people from throughout the world, has retired, after decades of service in the hotel industry.
The virtual farewell was organized by John Georges, a New Orleans businessman and longtime guest at the Grand Bretagne and was planned with a little help from Ananiadis’ wife Jennifer, who was always part of the unofficial welcome committee at the iconic Athens hotel for so many.
Georges recounted on the call the warm welcome he would always receive when arriving in Athens before traveling to his ancestral village in Messinia.
“Because of Tim, walking into the GB was like walking into my own home,” Georges said. “It’s exactly what you needed after a long transatlantic flight, to see a familiar, welcoming face and to receive the kind of welcome you’d receive from your own family.”
And family is exactly how most people on the zoom call said they were treated by Tim and Jennifer when visiting Greece.
Jim Geanopulos, the CEO of Paramount Pictures, credited Ananiadis with raising the profile of Athens because of his dedication to building the Grand Bretagne into its own destination.
Fr. Sarantos Serviou, a retired priest who first met Tim when he ran the Grand Hyatt in Pittsburgh decades ago, recounted stories of the time Archbishop Iakovos visited the city.
Tim Ananiadis was born and raised in Greece went to Canada to study Business Administration at Ryerson University when he was 17, subsequently moving to the USA where he started his career in the hospitality industry and eventually met Jennifer.
“Ananiadis has a long and storied career in the hospitality business and has left his mark in every city he’s worked,” said Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, who has known Tim for years, adding that he’s always transformed what we know as traditional Greek “philoxenia,” or hospitality, into the experience every guest feels when staying at the Grand Bretagne.
Ananiadis has almost 40 years of international experience in the hospitality industry, with Hyatt Hotels where he started his career at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.
In 1988 he moved to Chicago as the Corporate Director of Food and Beverage for Hyatt Hotels, eventually being appointed General Manager at the Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh, Hyatt Regency Coral Gables and Hyatt Regency Miami.
In 1999 he joined Hyatt International, returning to the country of his birth, as the General Manager of the Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki and later moved to India as the General Manager of the Grand Hyatt Mumbai.
In 2003 he joined Starwood Hotels and Resorts returning again to Greece as the General Manager/Managing Director of the Hotel Grande Bretagne.
In 2006 and until 2017, he was given the additional responsibility of Area Manager for Greece, Turkey, Cyprus & the Balkans overseeing the Starwood affiliated hotels. In his current role, now under the umbrella of Marriott International, he oversees two Legacy Starwood hotels, the complex of the Hotel Grande Bretagne & the King George, owned by the Greek company Lampsa Hellenic Hotels.
During his tenure at the GB, Ananiadis was credited with building the hotel into an international destination and by extension, helping to make Athens a major destination— especially for Greek Americans and Greek Australians, who comprised a large portion of the hotel’s recurring business.
He navigated the hotel through good times and bad, on hand to welcome heads of state and global leaders during the glory days of the Athens 2004 Olympics— and personally rolling down the protective barriers during Athens’ all-too frequent riots and demonstrations on numerous occasions during the turbulent years of the financial crisis in Greece.
When the historic hotel closed in March for the first time in more than 150 years after Greece entered COVID-19 lockdown, Ananiadis remained on the property and was, for more than three entire months, the hotel’s only resident.
While in Athens, Tim also immersed himself in the life of the city, serving on the boards of numerous organizations and dedicating his time and talent to the American Community School, which both his sons attended.
Tim’s legacy also includes one of never-ending support for numerous philanthropic efforts, primarily in the diaspora.
Peter Poulos, executive director of The Hellenic Initiative, and Gregory Pappas, founder of the Greek America Foundation, both spoke of Tim’s generosity in donating hotel packages to charity auctions that helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for their respective organizations.
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