At crossroads of nations and civilizations, in Rhodes with its magnificent history, one can find the remaining signs of the Greeks, Venetians, Knights of St. John and the Turks which are only a few to mention. In 1912 a final battle between the Turks and the Italians once again bore witness to yet another new occupation which lasted until 1947.
At this time Mario Lago, was the Italian commander of the Dodecanese and in his endeavours to improve the tourism standards on the island he commissioned the design of the first hotel in Rhodes. In 1924 a construction company namely SAGAR commenced work on the hotel which was probably the largest of its kind during this period. The hotel was structured with a combination of architectural styles Byzantine, Arabian, Ottoman and Venetian lines. The hotel was named Grand Hotel Roses (Grande Albergo delle Rose) attributing its name to the glorious rose garden found on its premises and in addition to that, it was highly acclaimed for the latest technology and the finest furniture with the most sought after comforts and amenities.
On the 24th of May 1927, the spectacular inauguration ceremony took place in the presence of local authorities and important personalities from Italy and Egypt. The casino was officially opened within the hotel premises in 1929. Many historical events took place at this hotel; the most significant was the signing of the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948. A further three hotels were constructed shortly after, namely Thermai, Pindos and the Lindos hotel which were also built in the town center.
Infrastructure projects commenced on the harbor, major road works began and the reconstruction of ancient tourist attractions such as The Palace of the Knights, Kalithea Spa, Filerimos Monastery and the Acropolis of Lindos.
The island was graced by the visit of King Victor Emmanuelle III (1900-1946) of Italy and the King of Egypt. People were impressed with by International jet set at this time which influenced Rhodes popularity as a tourist destination.
After the unification of the Dodecanese and Rhodes into Greece, the Dodecanese Islands were proclaimed 'Tax Free' ports (clothing, alcohol and tobacco) were considerably cheap this encouraged a high volume of tourists, attracting also the Greeks from the mainland.
At the end of the 1950's the Scandinavians discovered Rhodes and initiated programs via ferry boats from Athens (Piraeus port) to Rhodes also a Yugoslavian ship namely YEDINSKO brought lots of German clients at this time. An awareness of the island in the International tourism markets were gradually increasing.
The first charter flights to Rhodes commenced in the early 1960's.The famous Oscar awarded movie 'Guns of Navarone' (1961) , the war adventure starring Gregory Peck, David Niven, Irene Pappas and others was a good source of advertising and boosted the sales appealing to foreigners at that time and securing Rhodes as a 'TOP' destination.
Consequently, the island of Rhodes has not only retained its popularity to the present day, but has a growing number of impressive five star hotels, two Airport terminals and a new marina. Rhodes hosts over 1.3 million guests yearly, arriving by charter flights and over 600k visitors arriving by cruise ships! So it's not a surprise that Rhodes was voted as the number one European tourism destination, and the number five most popular world destination, according to 2008 Travellers' Choice Destinations Awards.