One&Only Resorts Makes Its Greek Debut on the Athens Riviera

Positioned between the capital’s ancient attractions and countless sandy beaches, One&Only Aesthesis revives ’60s Greek chic.

An overhead shot of a bright blue pool lined with white-cushioned wooden lounge chairs, plus two small olive trees

Cushioned loungers and olive trees line the dreamy pool at the One&Only Aesthesis.

Photo by Rupert Peace


The vibe: A throwback to midcentury Athenian glamour with 21st-century flavor

Location: Leof. Poseidonos 110, Glyfada, Greece | View on Google Maps

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The AFAR take

A 38-mile-long stretch of coastline known as the Athens Riviera, located about four miles south of the city, is undergoing massive redevelopment at the hands of foreign and domestic investors. Take, for instance, the $8.6 billion Ellinikon, an urban regeneration project featuring parkland, luxury homes, hotels, a high-end mall, sports facilities, and a marina that’s underway at the site of the former airport on land around twice the size of Central Park.

A couple of miles south, in the chi-chi resort suburb of Glyfada, distinctive luxury hotel brand One&Only Resorts recently made its long-awaited Hellenic debut. One&Only Aesthesis (Greek for “sense” or “feeling”) occupies a prime beachfront position steps away from a popular shopping precinct. But once you step inside the serene, low-rise resort, all thoughts of city life melt away.

On this site, in the 1950s and ’60s, shipping magnates, celebrities, and everyday sunseekers gathered at the aptly named Asteria (“stars” in Greek), a mini Monte Carlo–styled, movie-set beach club. Those with the deepest pockets lounged at one of the 100 cabanas offering more privacy.

A patio outside a wooden bungalow with glass walls, surrounded by Mediterranean plants with two striped lounge chairs

There may be no more relaxing seats in the house than the striped loungers on the bungalow’s plant-filled patios.

Photo by Rupert Peace

In the footprint of these cabanas, architectural firms Audo, A6Architects, and K-Studio teamed up with interior design studio Muza Lab to reimagine the legendary seaside location as a five-star resort from the One&Only brand. The result is a sleek yet thoroughly relaxed retro-contemporary retreat of sand-colored, rough-hewn stone and marble. Slatted timber pergolas reference traditional Greek claustras, or screens, letting light and air in, while retaining privacy. To the east, the Hymettus mountain range cradles the resort, where the vivid restaurants, beach bars, and olive tree–flanked communal pool look out onto a well-sheltered bay. It’s so peaceful you’ll forget that Glyfada’s fashionable restaurants, bars, and designer brand boutiques, but otherwise ho-hum hotels, sit in between.

Breezy beach bungalows, stately residences, and grand villas are surrounded by more than 200,000 Mediterranean perennials, evergreens, and aromatic herbs like deep lilac verbena, bright yellow Jerusalem sage, and thyme. To the southwest of the 52-acre resort, an ancient cemetery lies within a protected pine forest. A stellar Guerlain Spa, fitness center, tennis and padel courts, and a kids club round out the plush offerings.

Who’s it for?

One&Only Aesthesis serves as a brilliant jump-off point for couples eager to explore Athens’s archaeological attractions, without needing to stay in the city center—a particularly attractive proposition if you’re looking to avoid the crowds and stifling heat of midsummer. Families receive an equally warm welcome in line with One&Only’s resort-wide philosophy. At the Kids Only Club, youngsters can clamber around a wooden playground, enjoy indoor games, or take part in archaeologist-led on-site excavations. Sports-minded travelers will enjoy the fitness center, featuring private Pilates, yoga, and functional training sessions and state-of-the-art Technogym equipment. The resort is also ideal for buyouts if you’re planning a lavish wedding.

The location

The Greek capital’s historical highlights are a mere half-hour drive away, best reached by taxi or private transfer, while Lake Vouliagmeni’s muscle-soothing, mineral-rich thermal springs are only about 10 minutes away. Rent a car to hop between the countless sand and pebble beaches lining the winding coastal road that leads to sunset-magnet Cape Sounion, crowned by the fifth-century B.C.E. Temple of Poseidon. When the resort’s sister property One&Only Kéa Island opens in May 2024, consider pairing a city stay with an island getaway. Speedboat transfers will promptly whisk guests to beachfront all-villa accommodations on the Cycladic island favored among affluent Athenians who have built elegant second homes there in recent years.

A corner bedroom with modern blonde wood furnishing and coastal views from floor-to-ceiling windows

Floor-to-ceiling windows offer views out toward the waterfront of the Athens Riviera.

Photo by Rupert Peace

The rooms

The resort’s 127 guest rooms may exude midcentury brio and understated panache but comfort is clearly the priority. The coolest room category is, undoubtedly, the bungalows. A deft throwback to slick Asteria style, these cozy love nests, many of which sit beachside, feature neutral hues and sheer linen curtains. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors allow for uninterrupted indoor-outdoor living. Off-white marble vanities with curvaceous twin sinks, brass accessories, and a sizeable soaking tub make for a glamorous bathroom worthy of Maria “La Divina” Callas, who frequented Asteria back in the day. Soaps and body creams come in the hotel’s signature scent, Montroi Riviera Nostos, a sexy blend of leather, amber, and birch. Exterior spaces encompass a wading pool, outdoor shower, and sun loungers, along with a firepit, amid fragrant wildflowers.

Refreshment bars are generously stocked with healthy Greek snacks from small-scale producers. Wrapped in a floaty linen robe, you’ll be tempted to switch on the mood lighting, unwind, and forget about the rest of the world. In the oval-shaped main building, entry-level rooms are smaller but no less smart. And at the top end of the scale is the two-bedroom Villa One, where the sprawling living spaces include a rooftop lounge.

The food and drink

Italian-Greek chef Ettore Botrini, whose northern Athens restaurant bears a Michelin star, pops in regularly to convene with French executive chef Frédéric Le Gac, who relocated from the One&Only Royal Mirage in Dubai. Le Gac is firmly focused on bringing out Greece’s seasonal flavors and works closely with the talented bartenders of atmospheric indoor bar Alelia to achieve zero waste where possible. Updated versions of traditional recipes from Botrini’s native Corfu, like bourdeto (fish stew), figure prominently. The best seat in the house is on the lemon-yellow couches in one of Ora’s gorgeous backlit booths. With tri-color terrazzo underfoot, it’s easy to visualize Aristotle Onassis, who once hosted Princess Grace and Prince Rainier at a cabana, courting Jacqueline Kennedy over dessert.

Celebrated Spanish chef Paco Morales makes a surprise appearance at the resort with a popup restaurant. For El Bar de Paco Morales, he renders a comfort food interpretation of the elevated Andalusian cuisine served at his restaurant Noor in Córdoba, which recently achieved a third Michelin star. Expect melt-in-your-mouth chicken croquettes as well as a version of classic potato dish papas aliñás with white shrimp and egg-yolk mayonnaise.

The poolside Minima bar and the beachfront Thimisi—the best spot for golden hour—are both likely to be lively summer hangouts for jet-setting clientele. But the most sought-after day-to-night dining destination to book will undoubtedly be beach club restaurant Manko, set to open in early summer 2024 with a Peruvian menu.

A terrace with three wooden chairs around a table, with a white architectural screen in the back and an outdoor shower, all striped by shadows

Timber slats welcome in stripes of sunlight that transform the terrace spaces.

Photo by Rupert Peace

Staff and service

Checking into One&Only Aesthesis is a laid-back affair. There is no formal reception area but, rather, a lounge adorned with vibrant abstract artworks and Assouline coffee table books. Service is seamless and friendly yet professional. Two staff members are assigned to each room, on call for every possible request via WhatsApp around the clock. Electric buggies arrive instantly to whisk guests between facilities but early morning walks are rewarded with birdsong. Turndown includes plumped pillows and freshly fluffed duvets, while organic mountain tea replaces chocolates. In summer, the concierge can book a day out sailing on a yacht, while sandal-making workshops and private museum tours are also available.


Given the relatively flat layout of the resort, much of it is fairly accessible. A ramp leads to the main entrance and spa. Four rooms and two bungalows have been adapted for travelers with disabilities.

The spa

At the on-site Guerlain Spa, another first for Greece, attentive staff deliver customized facials, body treatments, and massages with essential oils reminiscent of Guerlain fragrances, ranging from sea breeze scents to woody aromas. Consider taking a yoga class before putting your body to the test with cryotherapy. A three-minute session in -122ºF temperatures, which my spa therapist told me feels more like -4ºF, works wonders for circulation and energy levels. And for natural, healthy nails sans polish, book a hard-to-find, cuticle-friendly Bastian Gonzalez manicure or pedicure.

Helen Iatrou is a Greek Australian freelance journalist and guidebook author based in Athens since 1996. An avid sailor who enjoys cruising as much as racing, she writes about islands, sailing, small ship cruising, sustainable travel, food, and fitness, among other topics. Her work has appeared in National Geographic Travel, Lonely Planet, Condé Nast Traveller, CNN Travel, and CNBC Travel.
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