It has been more than half a year since my daughter married a Greek man, and it was turn for us to pay a visit to our new relatives in Athens. According to traditions that we have in common, a marriage can only be successful by the unification of families, signing official documents by a couple is not enough to build a sound family. It is not easy to do that, but we will all try. Our first step was to visit them in Eastern, to share their joy, although we are not Christians. After celebrating Eastern with them in Limni, we entered Hilton for our 3-nights stay, during which we intended to see Athens.
Hilton is a very impressive building, which was constructed by 3 famous architects, of which only 1 was Greek. It is definitely a landmark from the recent past. You can easily identify it from up Acropolis and Lycabettus hills, too.
It has its own bus stop for the X95 airport express, with which you can reach the airport in 45 min for 5 €. Evangelismos metro station is 100m away, and there are 5 bus stops within easy reach. But, if you only want to wander around in the area restricted to Thissio, Sintagma, Monastiraki, Plaka and Omonia squares, and are in good shape, you can just walk, you won't need public transport. Keep in mind that Athens is not a flat city. So if your time is short, or you are a bit overweight, take a 24hr ticket for 4€ from the ATM in metro station.
Travelling always with a tight budget, we had paid way in advance during a campaign: 103 €/n bed-only, which had risen up till 180 when we were there. We of course could not pay 25 € extra for Acropolis view. But unless you do not want to boast by telling others you had that view, there is no reason to pay for it, because Acropolis is visible from almost all big squares and Lycabettus hill. It is supposed to, isn' t it? Well, the hotel is shaped like a converging mirror that is focused at Acropolis and directing to Pireus at the seaside. Its main entrance is on its north side. Our room at the back was facing the outskirts of Athens till the mountains. Nothing special, but a nice view if you are at a high floor.
The room might be considered as huge. Everything as good as new, spotlessly clean and in working condition. You have a sofa and a small, glass round table between the bathroom and the bed, where you can take a snack while watching the news, though the flat TV is quite small compared to the room.
The bathroom is about 1/3 rds of the rest, where one can bath while the other is taking a shower. There is a kettle and minibar of course. But the minibar is completely full, you can not place an extra wine bottle in it, because it is one of the kind that is automatically accounted to your bill, if you move or replace anything inside. I find these very inconvenient, because a minibar is not there just as an ATM of food and beverage, it should have enough space to keep some of your things cool, too. Especially in Athens, where the weather was 32 degrees high at the beginning of May. Besides, the prices were ridiculous: 7.50 € for 1/2 L water (where tap water is drinkable and sweet), 9 € for a 33cl beer (where you can have a liter of housewine for 4 €).
And ... schocking news: If you intend to take breakfast, it is 25 €. For God's sake, in a country where food is so cheap (almost 2/3 rds of Istanbul), Hilton should not exaggerate the prices so much. Maybe that's why, the only leisure customers were us, I suppose. Everyone around were in bussiness suits, whose bills were paid by their companies which show them as expenses. Well, if that' s Hilton's choice of customers, let be it.
If we revisit Athens, I would stay in Hilton again for sure, if I can afford. Because the staff is very kind, generous and professional, always with a smiling face. They did not enter the room respecting the "do not enter" sign, but left a message telling that we might ask for housekeeping anytime until 22:00, which was a nice gesture. Well, if you do not take anything extra, a prepaid rate is only 20 - 30 € higher than a 3* hotel stuck in a tiny, noisy street in Plaka, where you will almost certainly not find such a room and comfort of such a large balcony, put aside services. Any price below 150 € will worth it, beleive me.
If you go to Athens, Acropolis is a must, even if you are not in to ancient times. But it is its museum where sculptures and fresques of Olympus gods are kept. So don' t expect much up there. Visit the museum and go up Lycabettus hill to watch Acropoli' s glory with binoculars, that is much better. Remember: before doing anything else after visiting the museum, hop on to the "red train" which stops briefly in front of it. I say red, because its path is more comprehensive, passes from almost everywhere in the center. It is 6 €, more expensive than the 4 € green one, but it is worth it. You can also hop on and off at 10 stops the whole day. Although, at peak season, you might not find a seat ... Oh, and do not forget to request independent receipts, if you are in a group and want to separate during the day. They do not anounce (or mummble?) anything else other than the names of important places, so you must have read about them beforehand.
If you are going to eat something good with a bit of oriental touch, one of the most lively places are at Monastiraki, between the mosque and old hamam. Not very impressive for us Turks, but definitely appealing for western tourists that do not intend to visit Turkey. Quality is good, places are clean, but beware sellers, pickpocketers and beggars if you sit outside, because the place is so crowded, you can never get the chance to grab your goodies back if they vanish. If you plan to come to Turkey, go eat somewhere else where they serve more specific Greek food, not giros (döner) or kebab. Most mezes are also present in Turkey, but they differ in ingredients and treatment, so you must definitely taste them. Especially seafood is spectacular, although expensive without reason. And wine ... Greek wines, especially the ones sold as housewine, are incredible. I found them easier to drink than Spanish ones that I like most. They have a different aroma that I can not properly describe. Bottled ones I do not care, because to me, wine must be something cheap enough to drink instead of water at meals, nothing more. Also try ouzo, which contrary to our raki that is almost the same, Greeks do not prefer during meals. Strange, isn' t it?
- Also Known As:
- Hilton Athens Hotel
- Hilton Athens Hotel Athens
- Hilton International Athens
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hilton Athens is not just a hotel. It’s a legacy in Athens. Consider the fact that a whole area is named after the Hilton and you’ll start to understand the immense name this hotel has had the past 48 years. Socialités, fashionistas, local and international celebrities, you see them here!An architectural marvel, the Hilton Athens has been fully renovated in 2003 to be able to cope with the next episode in its ever interesting life. The hotel boasts 506 spacious rooms and some of the best city views available. You can almost touch the Acropolis! Art is abundant and local artists are used throughout the hotel. Hilton Athens has the largest outdoor pool in the city center and features four restaurants and two bars. The Byzantino restaurant offers Mediterranean cuisine in a renowned atmosphere. At the Milos restaurant, you can taste gourmet Greek cuisine at its best. Aethrion Lounge is where local celebrities and politicians meet for a coffee and the rooftop Galaxy Bar Restaurant truly is the most glamorous Athenian hangout to start out or end your night, to see or to be seen. Remember; people like to dress up here! Be the VIP you are while enjoying a citywide view. The hotel is just 25 minutes away from the airport by direct subway. It features 22 meeting rooms for 2 to 1300 people, a 24-hour Business Center and an Executive Lounge with Acropolis view. For a spa getaway or some pampering time away from the real world, you can visit the Hiltonia Spa, featuring an indoor pool, a fully equipped fitness room, a Pilates studio with natural light and an endless array of health and beauty treatments. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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