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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.
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.
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 on to 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 cafe 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 (stringed musical instrument) haunts are just a stone’s throw away.
For a real dose of the authentic Athenian lifestyle, this cosy, great-value homestay in Elliniko – a residential area of the city 10 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 an authentic Greek dinner with guests for a small extra charge.
Aimee Heckel contributed additional reporting to this article.