The story of the website and Orchard Villa
Who are we?
For 30 years Orchard Villa Skiathos was both spring-time home and summer holiday retreat for guests of Vivienne and Kevin, a retired British couple who've spent a lifetime abroad together, mainly in Greece, the Alps, and the middle-East.
But with the utmost sadness I have to tell our many Skiathos friends that dear Vivienne is no longer with us, and while her memory still remains as your contact with "firstname.lastname@example.org", Kevin is now 'your man' to arrange lettings.
I still divide my time between France, Greece, and England, and always delighted to chat about summer and winter/ski holidays in Greece and France, and their food, wine, and language. So don't hesitate to ask me to "call you" using the "Your Message" box in the (click ⇒) 'Enquiry' form, and I will get back to you.
And while you're on your holiday on Skiathos, if you have a rare problem the on-site management teams can't solve, I'm always at the end of a phone!
Why we chose Skiathos - in 1986 - for our own villa
We combed Greece and the islands for seven years, for a dream villa plot with stunning sea and island views, with local building all in traditional Greek style - white walls, low red-tiled and flat roofs, blue shutters, sun-terraces, porches and pergolas - and no high-rise 'shoe-box' hotels (or 'rave-up' resorts ... but still with a v. cool night -life!).
In 1990, renowned architect friend Angelos Altsitsoglou realised our dream as "Orchard Villa", in its own olive and fig grove still with over 50 fruiting trees - but careful picking your figs - the leaves can sting! We found the land overgrown head-high, and I had to scramble up an ancient olive tree (still there!) to be sure we had the stunning panoramic view you now enjoy, equalling the very best coast scenery anywhere in the Mediterranean! (see 2020 reviews)
Why the 'SkiathosGreekVillas.com' website?
After the Internet replaced "Sunday Times" as the holiday-villa advert 'medium of choice', for 12 years we and many Skiathos friends listed our villas on the formerly excellent site, "OwnersDirect.co.uk". 'O-D' worked like the 'S-Times'; villa owners paid a subscription to advertise the villa with their direct contact details, and guests negotiated and contracted the villa rental directly with the owner with no intervention or fees by the 'O-D' site.
Sadly 'O-D' was taken over in 2016 by mega US booking site Expedia, who replaced it with 'HomeAway' (now Vrbo*) so as to adopt the AirBNB-etc double-profit model. This was disastrous for guests and owners, as the site prevents direct contact until AFTER a guest has actually booked and paid, charges owners double the price for the advert, imposes an introduction fee on the guests and a payment-service fee on owners; and unlawfully dictates key terms of the rental contract.
And all this whilst taking no legal responsibility for the lease - and the Vrbo sites falsely claims to operate as 'O-D'! * Vrbo stands for: "Villa rental by owner" !
So we decided to build our own 'Orchard Villa' site, and offer space on it in the 'O-D' model (free for now) to other Skiathos friends with similar complaints.
Few other sites like 'O-D' remain. We use and recommend "www.AllVillas.co.uk"; and "www.SimplyOwners.net" (set up expressly in reaction to the 'H-A' business practices, and to preserve the original 'O-D' no-surcharge principles) ... see menu tab, 'O-V on other no-fee sites'.