Hospitality consultant, travel writer, marathon runner and bona fide globetrotter, Katerina Katopis-Lykiardopulo knows her way around the world – not only has she travelled to over 110 countries, she has no qualms about travelling alone to far-flung destinations or spending days on airplanes. For Katerina, travel is a way of life comprising adventure, relaxation, and inspiration; it’s all about meeting new people, learning about different cultures, and getting closer to nature, which is why the most important thing in travelling, she believes, is being open to new experiences. Her passion for travel has spilled over into her professional career in tourism development and investment. Part of the team behind Amanzoe, the first Greek property from luxury hospitality group Aman Hotels & Resorts, Nikki Beach Resort & Spa and One&Only Keá Island resort, Katerina has been instrumental in introducing the concept of branded residences in Greece. A frequent contributor to Greek and international travel publications, she’s also passionate about sharing her globetrotting experiences and expertise. We recently caught up with Katerina to ask her about her nomadic lifestyle, inspirations and favourite destinations.
How would you define yourself in three words?
Determined, optimistic, loyal.
Tell us about a project/initiative you’re most proud of?
Being part of creating the Amanzoe resort in Greece, selling the branded residential concept on site and opening up a market that never before existed in Greece.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Other than nature (especially the sea), I always draw inspiration from great achievements, from people who make a difference, from those who conquer their fears and make it to the other end.
Which art/design/style icons are you most inspired by?
I lived in Japan for many years, and always draw inspiration from that country: Yayoi Kusama, Tadao Ando, Haruki Murakami, Issey Miyake to name but a few people, but also the harmonic co-existence of the manga culture, Zen Japanese traditions and Tokyo Street fashion. My ultimate style icon is Audrey Hepburn.
Which colours are you currently in love with?
My favourite colour is red but I’m currently going through an orange phase.
A timeless design piece you own?
The Eames Lounge Chair in black leather & palisander wood.
Name an accessory you had for ages?
My father’s Rolex Submariner from 1968. He gave it to me when I finished College and I love it.
What item in your closet do you wear the most?
My running clothes!
The beauty product you can’t live without?
Korean snail face masks.
Three Instagram accounts you check daily?
Travel & Leisure/CNT, Beautifuldestinations and the Olympics, as well as stories written by Proto Thema (Greek newspaper).
Favourite destination and hotel?
In Europe, Villa D’Este on Lake Como and JK Capri in Capri. In Asia, Laucala in Fiji, Amanpulo in the Philippines and Nihi Sumba in Indonesia. My favourite city hotel is the Peninsula HKG.
What do you miss most when travelling?
My morning coffee the way I like to prepare it at home.
Which city would you chose to live in if you had to move?
I recently moved to Zurich and I truly enjoy spending my time between Zurich and Athens.
What souvenirs do you bring back home?
Fridge magnets, local cooking ingredients, and traditional crafts.
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done in your life?
Trekking Patagonia solo.
The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki and the MET in NYC.
What is on your bookshelf?
Photos, artworks and books: Design & Travel books, fiction, political analysis books and everything by Scott Fitzgerald.
Who is your favourite hero or heroine in fiction?
Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice, James Bond, Samantha in Sex & the City, and Olivia Pope in Scandal.
What quote do you live by?
There are two quotes actually: “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”, and “You only live once” (YOLO).
What is your guilty pleasure?
Wine, bread and dark chocolate.
What is your most treasured possession?
My family & friends.
Your idea of happiness?
A day at sea in the Aegean, gazing at the endless blue, listening to the breeze, feeling the salt on my face. There’s nothing like the light and sea in Greece.