The Best Hotels in Athens

If Rome is the eternal city, Athens may be immortal, with its impossibly ancient monuments and vibrant cultural scene. Visitors can choose to stay at one of the world’s most historic and luxurious hotels, fit for gods and goddesses. Neoclassical mansions have been restored with sophisticated modern decor and contemporary Greek cuisine. Choose from a hotel location on Syntagma Square or in the lanes of Plaka for maximum convenience, or venture a bit further west to enjoy bohemian nightlife in Psiri. Acropolis views are always worth the upgrade, especially from a rooftop pool on a balmy Athens summer day.

1 Vasileos Georgiou A, Syntagma Square str, Athina 105 64, Greece
For iconic hotels in Athens, there are multiple addresses to call into, including sister property King George next door, but the Grande Bretagne is the city’s grande dame. The King and dame share an unbeatable location on Syntagma Square, requisite views of the Acropolis, a long and storied guest list, and all the upscale comforts associated with a five-star hotel. The Grande Bretagne has a bit more old-world grandeur than boutique sophistication, with more gilded frames, heavy-luxe drapery, and antique furnishings. It also has a few added amenities: a health and beauty spa, the Winter Garden lounge for high tea with live piano music, and the pièce de résistance: a rooftop pool facing Lycabettus Hill. The rooftop restaurant is also top-notch, serving a new mediterranean menu of scallops and kimchi and grilled salmon with parsley root cream. Guests staying on the sixth and seventh floors may enjoy 24-hour butler service, and all guests can request a chef-prepared picnic to take along for a day of Athens sightseeing.
3 Vasileos Georgiou A, Syntagma Square str, Athina 105 64, Greece
The historic King George Hotel has the kind of glamorous gravitas found only in a royal residence. Open since 1930, the King George has hosted celebrities and dignitaries to Athens in grand style ever since, and became a member of Starwood’s Luxury Collection in 2013. Refined guest rooms and suites have herringbone wood floors and marble bathrooms, and might include a window seat or a private balcony. While the dazzling rooftop pool is private only for guests of the two-bedroom Presidential Suite, mere mortals can enjoy a similarly spectacular setting next door at sister property Grande Bretagne (guests can use both hotels’ facilities). The King George has a small gym with Finnish sauna, and the lobby’s exclusive Valmont boutique has high-end cosmetics as well as a perfumery. Emphasis at the award-winning Tudor Hall restaurant is on seasonal ingredients and slow cooking, with local wines carefully chosen to complement the dishes. With a location right on Syntagma Square, views of the Parliament and Parthenon are a matter of course, and all of Athens is within easy distance.
Mitropoleos 54, Athina 105 63, Greece
A neoclassical building in Plaka thoughtfully renovated into a boutique hotel, the ZIllers has ten guest rooms and a rooftop restaurant and bar. The building was designed by Ernst Ziller, a German architect whose work can be seen all around Greece, notably at Athens’ National Theatre, Presidential Mansion, and the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art. The original high ceilings, wood floors, and wrought iron-balconies have been retained and refreshed with a modern minimalist decor. While value priced, rooms with atrium views can be dark and Acropolis views are worth the upgrade. Rates include breakfast served in room or on the rooftop, book ahead for dining at other times as it is popular with locals. The contemporary Greek menu might include shrimp with buffalo milk couscous or sea bass in a dill and lime foam, plus innovative desserts like Greek coffee mousse with olive oil jelly. Location is also faultless, overlooking the Athens Cathedral, and a five-minute walk from Monastiraki or Syntagma Square.
18-20 Νικοδήμου Street, Athina 105 57, Greece
A classic Plaka hotel close to Syntagma Square, the Electra Palace checks all the boxes for convenient location, rooftop restaurant overlooking the Acropolis, comfortable rooms, plus niceties like a gym, spa, and pool. Spacious suites feature views of the Parthenon, marble bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs, and handwoven carpets. A Greek breakfast buffet is served in the downstairs garden, and drinks and food are served all day on the fifth-floor rooftop. Hydrating facials, body wraps, and Cretan olive oil massages are given at the spa, which also has a heated indoor pool and jacuzzi. For spring and summer visitors, an afternoon at the outdoor pool overlooking the city’s monuments and neoclassical archicture is practically a requirement.
Sofokleous 26, Athina 105 52, Greece
Designed in 2003 by Athens-based Tassos Zepos, the Fresh Hotel is a contemporary nine-story building in the gritty, up-and-coming neighborhood of Psiri. It makes up for its somewhat dated design tricks (think hot-pink Plexiglas reception area, Philippe Starck chairs, black leather couches, and all-white rooms) with its great value for money and trendy rooftop bar. Open from May to October, the roof, with its small pool and sweeping views of the Acropolis, is a popular hangout in the summer for stylish locals.
Filellinon 16, Athina 105 57, Greece
Owned by the world-renowned art collector Dakis Joannou and smartly decorated by quirky Brazilian designers the Campana brothers, the New Hotel is the city’s coolest upscale design-centric property, with 79 rooms (including seven suites) and an intimate restaurant. Although centrally located, just a five-minute walk to Syntagma Square, it’s tucked back in a modernist building on a side street so it feels hidden and discreet. The interiors are both playful and smart; the Campanas created much of it with items recycled from the previous hotel. Imagine puzzlelike walls and chairs constructed of layered, repurposed wood intermingled with sculptural chairs of their own design. In the rooms, they had fun riffing on Greek cultural objects, like the Karagiozis, a shadow puppet, and multiple versions of the glass “evil eyes” used to protect against ill omen. Bottom line: stylish contemporary design, excellent location, and friendly service.
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