In preparing for the 2004 Summer Olympics, Athens underwent a major facelift and infrastructure upgrade. New highways now divert traffic from the downtown, which has made the central city streets safer and the air cleaner. It is now much easier to get around town by car, bus or taxi. Along with the city upgrades, many hotels were renovated and started anew. Here are three hotels, covering every price range, that I can recommend.
Acropolis Museum Hotel– 3 star -Boutique Hotel
This charming, boutique hotel has only 22 rooms on 3 floors, so book early! It was renovated in 2007 and is located right near the Acropolis, a few steps from the Plaka, which also makes it popular with tourists. All the rooms have individually controlled AC, which is very important in the summer months in Athens. Wireless Internet, refrigerator and DVD player’s are nice extras. For the price, the rooms are spacious and if you can afford the deluxe double, you’ll get an even larger room with a view. They also have family suites which are hard to find in major cities all around Europe. This hotel offers high quality service with a location that can’t be beat.
Athens Gate Hotel– 4 Star- Modern Boutique
This hotel is also well located. It is in the center of the historic district of Athens, opposite the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Athens Gate. The hotel is located 500 meters from the Acropolis and within walking distance to Constitution Square. There are 7 floors and a roof top garden /restaurant with stunning views. Renovated in 2007, the rooms are large with clean lines, modern furnishings, and LCD TVs throughout. If you choose a room with a balcony, be aware that the traffic noise can be quite loud, although when the door is closed this was not an issue. The rain shower heads in the modern bathrooms were also a nice touch. This hotel still has designated smoking floors so make sure you request the non-smoking floor, if needed. Baby sitting is offered to families and the concierge can book any day tour that is needed. This is one of my personal favorites, especially since location is everything in Athens!
Grande Bretagne– 5 Star- Old World Luxury Deluxe
If your budget allows you to splurge, the Grande Bretagne (the grand dame of Athens) is the hotel for you. This hotel usually garners the top ratings on Conde Naste travelers gold list. There is a private restaurant that has over 3000 of the best wine selections in Athens. The 320 rooms were renovated in 2009 and many rooms offer spectacular views of Parliament Square (you can watch the changing of the guard from your room.) The large rooms are decorated with traditional antiques, including pieces from Christies and Sothebys . Of course plasma TV’s and high end electronics are available throughout, along with wireless, high speed internet access. Nightly turn-down service, complimentary bottled water and indulgent toiletries were my favorite treats! The on-site spa is free to guests. I enjoyed the foot Jacuzzis ,which were magic at the end of a day of the touring.
Written By Carla Scott for EuropeUpClose.com