Athens is a lively city filled with historical wonders, great food and shopping, along with fab luxury hotels.
I stayed at the Hotel Grand Bretagne, which is the grand dame of hotels in Athens due to its history of hosting celebrities and world leaders for over 100 years. It was even the headquarters of the British Expeditionary Forces during WWII and was the site of many conferences attended by Winston Churchill. That’s why there’s the famous Churchill Bar (below) and private dining room at the hotel, where you can also do a masterclass in Greek wine with a sommelier. Definitely recommend!
The Grand Bretagne was also the site of a famous Lady Gaga nude photoshoot right here in the blue and white marble master bathroom in the Grand Suite. Google it!
The Grand Bretagne is right across the street from Syntagma Square and Greek Parliament, where you should not miss the Changing of the Presidential Guard, which takes place every hour on the hour.
The Acropolis and The Parthenon are known world-wide as symbols of Athens and even Greece. It’s unthinkable to visit Athens and not visit the Acropolis!
And you can easily walk to the Acropolis from most any downtown location as it’s literally right in the middle of the city.
The Acropolis is an ancient citadel comprised of many structures including the Parthenon, the Theatre of Dionysios, statues, altars, temples including the Erectheion with its famous “Porch of Maidens” (see below) which was dedicated to Athena and Poseidon.
Biggest Tip: Visit the Acropolis very early, or very late! It was already pretty hot and steamy in May, I can’t imagine being up there in July and August. AND tour with a private guide so you understand what you are looking at!
You should check when you are in town because they actually hold concerts and operas in the Theatre of Dionysios, the oldest theater on the planet!!!!!
From the Acropolis, you can walk down into the neighborhood known as Plaka, with its narrow maze of cafes, shops and galleries A do-not-miss!
Besides the Grand Bretagne, other fine hotels are the King David which is right next to the Grand Bretagne, Hotel Milos is just around the corner, and M Gallery is adjacent to the Parliament building. This area is such a great central location that allows you to walk everywhere and see Athen’s major sights.
My first night in Athens I enjoyed a superb dinner on the rooftop restaurant at Athens Gate Hotel, with a spectacular view of the Acropolis. Authentic Greek salad (no lettuce and caper leaves!) with a dollop of fresh feta cheese and a super fresh shrimp saute. I had dinner in Tudor Hall at King David with a very sophisticated menu with this killer dessert and the next night I sat outside at a local fave tiny shop ‘Hoocut’ that supposedly has the best souvlaki in town. I say yes!
The food in Greece will get its own blog post!
On my last evening, friends took me for drinks to an in-the-know rooftop bar, Ermou 18, having perfect views of the city. A great way to end my time in Athens!
Clients of ours who stay in the Hotel Grand Bretagne Hotel in Athens receive special perks:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Daily breakfast for up to two guests per bedroom
- Complimentary lunch for up to two persons on a 3 course set menu in Winter Garden or GB Pool Bar & Grill, excluding alcohol and gratuities, once during stay
- Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi