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Athens isn’t just a ruin-laden pit stop on the way to Mykonos and Santorini anymore. As Greece emerges from years of financial crisis, new hotels (and plenty of bars and restaurants, too) have been sprouting up at a pace you might normally associate with a place like Manhattan. And these range from tiny but smartly designed six-room boutique hotels to beautiful beasts like the rambling seaside Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens.
Here’s our carefully curated selection of the most exciting new hotels in Athens right now.
The most exciting big new hotel to open in central Athens is the vision of businessman and innovator Paul Efmorfidis who has made an empire out of selling super-comfy natural-fiber mattresses (coconut fibers are involved). The BC comes from the Roman ruins that actually form a part of the lobby. Although the building was height-shamed locally for allegedly blocking some area residents’ views of the Acropolis, the vistas from the roof terrace, which sweep from Acropolis to the sea, are simply stunning. The rooftop swimming pool is a knockout.
The gym is unusually large for an Athenian hotel and features Coco-Mat’s signature wooden bikes (which are free to borrow for guests), an indoor swimming pool and spa featuring the company’s own organic line, Zealots of Nature. The Acropolis Museum is practically right outside the lobby door and the neighborhood, Koukaki, is one of Athens’ buzziest with multitudes of nifty little bars, bakeries and eateries.
Because the hotel is in soft opening this summer, you’re likely to find better-than-average deals and plenty of room to roam and unwind after a day of exploring the city.
The cutest little boutique hotel in Athens you’ve never heard of opened its doors in April in the heart of the city’s historic commercial center, which is pointedly not the touristy Plaka. Athens4 is on the edge of the jaunty Monastiraki district chockablock with bars, restaurants and quirky antiques shops. The hotel makes its home in a former textile factory in narrow Polykleitou Street and in a nod to that heritage, there are sumptuous fabrics and stylized headboards in all of the guest rooms. Suites come with nifty balconies and the Athens View Loft on the top floor has a jacuzzi and private terrace. If you want to rock a young urban vibe, Athens4 is your pitch-perfect city perch.
Travelers of a certain age may remember the late ’70s James Bond flick Moonraker and a scene where Roger Moore discovers the Amazon jungle compound of the madman Drax, a lush lair where everyone and everything is impossibly gorgeous. Such is the heady perfume that greets you, figuratively speaking, when you pass through the security gate of the much-hyped new Four Seasons Athens, which is not really in Athens but rather outside the city center on the sybaritic, pine-clad Lemos peninsula.
The massive Four Seasons compound comprises structures built in the late ’60s and ’70s (the former Astir Palace Hotel) that have now been completely remodeled and renovated. There’s Nafsika with 110 rooms and 28 suites, Arion with 102 rooms and 20 suites, plus 58 private sea view bungalows. There are three large pools, upwards of eight separate restaurants, an indulgent spa inspired by Hippocrates, a 984-foot boardwalk and, of course, a private beach. In short, this is your 21st-century Fantasy Island, with that trademark Four Seasons sophistication and naturally, prices that border on astronomical.
It’s hard to see how the design of this new hotel was, as the hotel says it is, inspired by Greek philosopher Plato. From the outside, it looks like your basic modern office building. But what’s interesting about the Academia of Athens, Autograph Collection hotel is what’s on the inside: 60 sleek rooms with marble bathrooms and a dark, Manhattanish color scheme. The location in the commercial center of Athens may put sights like the Acropolis a bit farther out, but the adjacent neighborhood of Kolonaki is crackling with charming museums, upscale boutiques and cafes.
The Hyatt Grand Hotel Athens, which we’ve reviewed previously, is an interesting animal, being a large city hotel (309 rooms) parked in an almost startlingly nondescript part of the city. The rooms and suites are modern and spacious, but to get to the big sights like the Acropolis you’re going to have to cab it. That said, after a long day of exploring Athens or coming back from the islands via the busy Piraeus port, it can be very nice indeed to unwind on the big roof terrace where there’s a good-sized swimming pool, bar and sweeping views over Athens all the way to the sea.
This modernist boutique beauty is in the center of the very happening neighborhood of Pagrati, home of the Panathenaic Stadium (the world’s only all-marble stadium) and soon-to-open Goulandris Foundation Museum. Architect Tassis Papaioannou teamed up with legendary Greek artist Fassianos to design a brand new building with just six apartment-style suites, each one about 700 square feet and featuring full kitchens and front and rear balconies. The roof terrace chillout space has artsy accents and jaw-dropping views over the Acropolis and the even higher Mount Lycabettus.
Billed as a “four-star foodie hotel,” the new Ergon House lives up to its own designation as such. The location is perfect, nestled between the edge of Plaka and the beginning of the “real” Athens, which is where there are more shops and restaurants catering to locals than tourists.
The high-ceilinged ground floor is actually not a lobby at all but rather a sleek, modern-day culinary “agora” replete with greengrocers, a butcher’s, fishmonger’s and bakery, a delicatessen and coffee roaster, along with a bar and contemporary Greek restaurant. The 38 guest rooms are located in the four floors above this Grecian smorgasbord and with hardwood floors, crisp white linens and plenty of natural sunlight pouring in through large double-glazed windows, the aesthetic is appealingly New Greek Chic. Stock up on artisan Greek olive oils and other gourmet edibles before you checkout.
Most visitors’ experience of Piraeus, the port of Athens, is brief: dash for (or disembark) your island ferry and be off to the city center. But Piraeus is more than just the ferry port. It contains interesting neighborhoods as well as smaller leisure ports such as Microlimano, which is located below a new boutique hotel opening in June called The Alex. The hotel has a lobby level coffee bar and restaurant called The Botanist and a more indulgent rooftop restaurant, The Nest, with stunning Mediterranean views. There are 34 bright guest rooms, many with balconies overlooking the Mediterranean.
Know before you go.
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