Greece’s capital has undergone an incredible rebirth, with chic hotels opening in (just about) every neighbourhood, from funky Psyrri to high-end Kolonaki. Whether you’re seeking to-die-for Acropolis views or accommodation designed with digital nomads in mind, discover the best Athens hotels to check into right now.
The Foundry Suites
Each apartment at The Foundry is individually designed | Courtesy of The Foundry Suites / Hotels.com
Industrial chic meets achingly hip in this eco-aware boutique hotel a short stroll from the Monastiraki flea market. Housed in a 1930s building that has served as a foundry, printing house and cultural centre, a striking facade stitched with vertical gardens conceals 12 vast apartments where original features – including bare brick walls, high ceilings, vintage record players and cast-iron furnaces – cosy up with state-of-the-art Coco-Mat bedding, bean bag floor cushions and vintage furniture. An edgy after-dark music scene in the surrounding streets is the icing on the top of this stylish designer hotel’s cake.
Ergon Foods, an innovative Greek deli that promotes local producers, is a byword for culinary innovation in Greece. It’s no surprise that Ergon is heading up the city’s new craze for ‘everything epicurean’ with Ergon House, Athens’ first foodie hotel. This culinary-themed, 38-room hotel in Plaka, the historical heart of Athens, has specially designated kitchen areas for hosting cookery workshops, along with its very own food market and specially curated minibar delicatessens in each of the airy modern rooms. Luckily, there’s also a well-equipped gym for working off those extra calories.
It’s impossible to speak of Athens’ best hotels without mentioning Neoclassical grand dame Hotel Grande Bretagne, where Hollywood stars rub shoulders with heads of state. One of the city’s most venerable (and visible) landmarks, this swish crash pad standing opposite pom-pom-slippered Houses of Parliament guards on Syntagma Square opened its doors back in 1874. Nowadays, the stained-glass ceilings, antiques and oil paintings provide the spectacular backdrop for a plush, modern hotel where first-class facilities include a seventh-floor spa with herbal steam rooms, a Serail mud chamber and a heated outdoor pool.
Along a lively street once known as the city’s theatre district, City Circus is surrounded by boho cafés, traditional kafeneia coffee shops and edgy street art in Psyrri, one of Athens’ most happening neighbourhoods. A dignified 19th-century facade conceals a fun, funky hostel (its motto is ‘run away and join the circus’), where the clean, comfortable rooms range from doubles with views of the Acropolis, to eight-bed dormitories. Decor is vintage-industrial with zebra-striped wallpaper, frescoed ceilings and wrought-iron balconies. Zampano restaurant, inspired by a Fellini opus, serves delicious bites of keenly priced, creative Greek cuisine.
To combine an exploration of the Greek capital with a beach break, head to the Athens Riviera. Divani Apollon is this beach-lined city suburb’s hidden gem. Just a 20-minute taxi ride from the Parthenon in the seaside suburb of Vouliagmeni, this glamorous hotel – which was one of the first to open along this rapidly-becoming-hip strip – also has one of Greece’s largest thalassotherapy (seawater) spas, making it the perfect place to unwind after a long day of sightseeing. “If you really want to do as the locals do, you should also take a dip in the hot-spring-fed thermal lake just next door,” advises Niki Fotiou, the hotel’s marketing director.
This quirky, comfortable and budget-friendly B&B is housed in a Neoclassical mansion, named after owner John Consolas’ beloved grandmother. It sits among Plaka’s labyrinth of pedestrian-friendly streets, which open onto tiny, tree-shaded squares – offering glimpses of the Acropolis high above. The five studios, named for Alice’s favourite stars, have sheer white walls and vintage decor; the most notable is the Harry Belafonte suite with its Acropolis-view roof terrace. There’s also a cosy living room with plump sofas and a retro red TV, a well-equipped kitchen and free bikes for guests who want to cycle out to explore this lively area.
Radiating out from main square Plateia Karaiskaki, the multicultural Metaxourgeio district is one of the best places in the city to find hip budget accommodation, along with Acropolis views. Housed in a beautifully renovated 19th-century abode, Athens Lotus Hotel is surrounded by cutting-edge art galleries and a raft of intriguing restaurants. The 31 single or double rooms and suites have beds by Coco-Mat – a Greek-run company specialising in eco-friendly mattresses – wooden parquet floors and powder-blue walls, and there’s an atmospheric café bar – recalling a retro Parisian bistro – serving tasty snacks.
While the budget-friendly, centrally located Phidias Piraeus Hotel is the ideal stopover before heading off on a ferry to one of the islands, it is also the place to experience the buzz that is coming to define Piraeus. Ten minutes’ stroll from the port, the standard rooms and spacious suites of this colourful modern guesthouse are within easy reach of Piraeus’s gritty, groovy Sunday flea market where haggling for everything from vinyl to vinegar is a must, whilst the Athenian port’s legendary bouzouki haunts are just a stone’s throw away.
Renowned for its breathtaking rooftop pool, stylish rooms, private cinema and restaurant showcasing chef Vasilis Milios’s modern take on Mediterranean cuisine, St George Lycabettus shines like a beacon of luxury from the well-heeled streets of Kolonaki – one of Athens’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, which teems with hip art galleries and upscale antique stores. It’s an enchanting blend of Neoclassical and contemporary, and includes 16 eco-chic rooms with environmentally friendly fixtures and fittings. Guests can enjoy rooftop fine dining at La Suite Lounge, and cool off with a dip at the Vertigo Pool Club or wind down with a relaxing treatment at the Aegeo Spa. Best of all, this ritzy 154-room hotel is just around the corner from the cable car that zips passengers to the top of Athens’s lofty Lycabettus Hill.
For a real dose of the authentic Athenian lifestyle, this cosy, great-value homestay in Elliniko – a residential area of the city ten minutes’ stroll from a beach- and bar-lined strip of coast that has great transport links to the city centre – is a real haven away from the city’s vibrant bustle. The dazzling white rooms with comfortable beds all have small patios or courtyards, along with private bathrooms. Breakfast, which is included in the price of your room, is served in the lemon tree-shaded garden slung with hammocks, and owners Majka and Dimitris will prepare and share a real Greek dinner with guests for a small extra charge.