The Paraskevaides family-owned iconic five-star Athens Ledra Hotel in downtown Athens suspended operations on Wednesday, after referring all its guests to other hotels a day earlier, under the burden of unviable debt amassed over the previous decade, reports from Greek media said.
Built in the 1980s by the late Cypriot construction mogul Giorgos Paraskevaides – of J&P Group fame – the hotel, named Ledra Marriott until 2013, when a renegotiation of terms with the international hotel operator led to their departure from the partnership, the hotel has long been a staple of luxury.
But with its founder’s passing, almost a decade ago, the family’s assets went to his heirs – wife Thelma and three children, who are rumoured to have differing visions of the direction the family businesses should take.
More likely, the global economic crisis that erupted at the turn of the decade has taken a heavy toll on the hotel’s financial viability. Burdened with over €30 million in unserviced loans and with its 150 employees complaining of not having been paid their wages for the last two months, the end soon became a foregone conclusion.
But the employees suspect financially-related ulterior motives are in play, as the hotel boasts occupancy rates ranging from 72 to 93 per cent for the immediate future.
On Wednesday, they staged a protest outside the hotel, demanding to be paid their dues, and be given information on their future.
The hotel management has stopped accepting new customers and forwarded all guests to other hotels. Employees told ANT1 TV channel that many customers left the hotel en masse on Tuesday evening.
Unnamed sources cited by Greek media said the hotel has been taken over by main creditors Alpha Bank.
ASTY AE, the Paraskevaides-owned company that owns and runs Athens Ledra, was not immediately available for comment.