Millions of visitors come to the Greek capital every year to immerse themselves in millennia-old culture and to explore the city’s grand architecture and archaeological remains, from the Acropolis to the Panathenaic Stadium. Comprising 19th-century mansions and renovated foundries, among other venues, the best luxury hotels in Athens are as rich in history as they are in style and splendour.
Gracious warmth radiates from every nook and cranny in this pint-sized luxury hotel in Athens on the edge of the upscale Kolonaki quarter. Ensconced in a respectfully updated neoclassical townhouse, the six light-flooded rooms have literary names (Sonnet, Novel, etc.) and brim with such period detail as a frilly fireplace, herringbone parquet or a marble balcony. Kick-start the day with a healthy breakfast in private or on the sun-kissed rooftop terrace. (Trivia alert: John and Yoko slept here in 1969.)
In a city where ancient history is ever-present, this art-filled boutique hotel draws cognoscenti with contemporary-cool design and a spot-on location on a bustling square ringed by trendy restaurants, bars and shops. Start your morning with yoga or meditation at the on-site Zen Center, then fuel up for the day with organic breakfast on your balcony. The spacious rooms harness the building’s art deco pedigree while flaunting such lifestyle essentials as fluffy robes and Nespresso machines. (Hint: book a Superior room for awesome Acropolis views!)
A perfect fusion of substance and style, this design-focused luxury hotel in Athens is a mid-century-modern symphony of marble and walnut, accented by framed prints of Greek sculptures on display in the nearby National Archaeological Museum. Rooms pack tons of luggage and even have furnished balconies, a rarity in this super-central old town location at the foot of the Acropolis. Views of this romantically ruined landmark from the rooftop restaurant might easily distract you from the playfully updated Greek classics streaming from the open kitchen.
As if having one bastion of luxury on Syntagma Square wasn’t enough, the Grande Bretagne has an opulent neighbour, the King George Hotel. This one dates from 1930 and is home to the Tudor Hall Restaurant, one of central Athens’ finest Greek restaurants. Among the splendour of a marble-and-light-filled dining room, guests are served vibrant dishes by Michelin-starred chef Asterios Koustoudis, paired with stellar Greek wines by an award-winning sommelier. All guest rooms have oversized windows, hand-picked antiques, hardwood floors and rich fabrics, and the Penthouse Suite has a pool overlooking the Acropolis.
Surrounded by aromatic pine trees and looking out to the Aegean, the Four Seasons Astir Palace is located near the coastal town of Vouliagmeni, a half-hour drive south from central Athens. It’s the ultimate venue for an all-inclusive disconnect, featuring a spa based on the teachings of Hippocrates, three private beaches and eight restaurants and bars, including oceanfront Greek specialist, Taverna 37, and Aristotle’s, a cigar and cognac joint. Choose from pine or sea-view rooms and suites across two buildings, or stay in the original 1960s bungalows.
Electra Metropolis is a dynamic five-star in the heart of Athens, occupying the site of a partially-preserved 16th-century church and decorated with bold, original artwork. Gaze up at the headline work – a huge mural of flying birds by Alekos Fasianos – from the Atrium lounge bar, or head upstairs to the Roof Garden for modern Greek cuisine and a view of the Acropolis (reached in 10 minutes on foot). Also within strolling distance are Ermou, Athens’ main shopping thoroughfare, and Plaka, the city’s oldest neighbourhood.
Situated in the heart of Plaka, between the Acropolis Museum and the Filopappou Hill, the Herodion offers 86 rooms and four suites with views of either the city, the Acropolis, the courtyard or the hotel’s tranquil garden. There’s a particularly strong food and drink offering, with a large breakfast buffet served in the morning, vibrant Mediterranean fare available at the Gargaretta bistro, located directly opposite, and cocktails made from Greek herbs and local liqueurs at fifth-floor hangout Point A. On the roof, bubble away in a jacuzzi surrounded by olive trees.
Lone explorers after a touch of class can book a package designed especially for them – the Solo Traveller deal includes a check-in tipple, complimentary breakfast in a modern, whitewashed Courtyard Room, a ticket to the Acropolis Museum and a day pass to Athens’ swankiest gym. If you’re really splashing the cash, book the Acropolis Panoramic View Suite, which delivers on its promise with views of Syntagma Square and Athens’ most famous archaeological attraction. Dress up for dinner at The Parliament, a gentlemen’s club-style eatery with white tablecloths and velvet armchairs.
Foodies need look no further than Ergon House, a chic boutique with an onsite market dedicated to the finest local produce. From stalls spread around a 200-year-old olive tree, the atrium’s Agora offers more than 1,200 products from over 150 producers, including a bakery, butchers and fishmongers, and a vertical orchard harvested by an abseiling gardener. When you’re done wandering in this grotto of edible goodies, cook your ingredients in one of the hotel’s communal kitchens or kick back in a contemporary room dominated by stylish wooden fixtures and hardwood floors.
The Foundry offers industrial-chic suites in a former printing factory dating from 1930. Glorifying original features such as double-height ceilings, black-framed windows and remnants of the foundry’s machinery, the 12 suites sleep up to four and provide comfortable bases from which to explore Psyrri, a neighbourhood of edgy street art and alternative bars. Wines and cocktails are available up on the rooftop garden, where you can meet like-minded travellers underneath creeping vines. Daily breakfast picnic baskets can also be enjoyed here.
If Plato and Socrates excite you more than cocktails, this is the hotel for you. Echoing the spirit of the Platonic Academy, guests can participate in Dialogue Soirees – a weekly discussion event with topics including ethics and friendship – and switch off for the daily reading time, in which guests are encouraged to enjoy something from the hotel’s varied book collection. Beyond philosophy, enjoy the Symposium restaurant, with a menu curated by a Michelin-starred Apostolos Trastelis, the Plato Lounge Bar, and a wellness centre with heated pool, sauna and fitness facilities.
A chic design hotel with a gym and a pool, Fresh Hotel offers an opportunity to get to know the “real” Athens, beyond its archaeological sites. With its location near the Omonia metro station, Fresh Hotel is well connected to the city’s most popular attractions, and is close to the Exarcheia neighbourhood – famed for its edgy counterculture and street art. After a day exploring, guests can sample cocktails and Greek treats at the rooftop Air lounge bar.
Fancy finding more plush hotels in Athens? Check out our pick of the best boutique hotels to book in Athens, Greece, bookable with Culture Trip. For a real treat, book into one of the best spa hotels in Athens for a pamper session.
This is an updated version of an article originally by Tobias Hautekiet. Andrea Schulte-Peevers contributed additional reporting.
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