I stayed here with my wife for three nights during June 2013. Being in Syntagma Square, the hotel is very central, and there is an entrance to the metro right outside. Many key attractions and areas are within walking distance from the hotel. I had booked the most basic type of room (‘Classic Room’), but upon checking in we were allocated a Grande Suite, which is actually four room categories above what we had booked! As an SPG Gold member, I am accustomed to upgrades to the next room category (which often doesn’t make much of a difference), I think on this occasion the hotel was very full and perhaps that was the reason for the much more substantial upgrade (it actually showed up on the SPG website for a few weeks beforehand, so I knew it was coming).
Our upgraded room came with butler service, so we were redirected from the reception desk to the butler reception on the sixth floor. Ironically, check-in here took ages as there was a queue (whereas the main reception desk wasn’t busy at all). Anyhow, once checked-in our butler escorted us to our suite. The room was very luxurious, with a separate living area and a spacious bathroom which had a shower cubicle that doubled as a steam room. The bed was heavenly! We had a view of the parliamentary building from the two balconies within the suite. Aside from the room, the entire hotel had a very classic, luxurious feel.
We did make use of the butler service a few times during our stay, mainly to help planning our day to day activities. It was quite convenient not having to go downstairs to the concierge desk, we could just pick up the phone and talk to a butler, or if you had a few queries, they were more than happy to come down to your room.
The spa facilities are available free of charge to all hotel guests. We made use of this once, and it is quite a nice spa area, with a couple of steam/sauna rooms, experience showers and a large indoor pool. It is primarily unisex, but there are additional male only and female only steam rooms as well. It didn’t seem very busy when we were there. Conversely, the main pool area, which is located on the rooftop was quite disappointing. It was simply inadequate for a hotel of this size. The pool itself was quite small, and they had crammed in as many loungers as possible into the surrounding area. We showed up here in the late afternoon, and all the loungers were full. There is an area at the back with normal tables and chairs, so we sat here for a while until a pair of loungers became free. The view is pretty much non-existent from the pool area, as they have put up a surrounding wall lined with plants. It felt like they located the pool here due to a lack of alternative options.
In a completely separate area from the pool, they also have their main restaurant and bar on the rooftop. This was a lovely area with views of the Acropolis. Breakfast is served up here – we only made it to breakfast on one day, and were fortunate to get a front row table with a great view. With regards to breakfast, they don’t have an omelette station, but you can place your eggs order through a waiter. This was not advertised however, and I did note that most people were only taking the scrambled/poached eggs available from the buffet. For a hotel of this calibre, the breakfast selection was adequate rather than extensive, with the exception perhaps of the pastry selection (or perhaps more items were available to order, which I wasn’t aware of). While we did not dine at the restaurant, we did visit the bar on two occasions, and I would recommend this as a good way to finish off each evening. You can take in the night time views of Athens and the Acropolis while enjoying a nice (although expensive) cocktail. We visited this bar on Friday and Saturday nights and it was busy, but not too crowded (we were able to find seats on both days). There is no dress code, and there were people dressed very casually as well as more formally.
Service throughout the hotel was excellent, truly 5-star. It was a very enjoyable stay on the whole, and provided a comfortable base from which we could tackle the sights (and heat!) of Athens. I think the room rates are very reasonable for what you get. I imagined that if this hotel (along with its prime views) was located in London or other key cities within Europe, their rates would be significantly higher, perhaps even twice as much.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- With breathtaking views of the famed Acropolis and Parthenon, regal Constitution Square and the Parliament, lush Lycabettus Hill, or the original Olympic Stadium, the Hotel Grande Bretagne offers unrivaled perspectives of Athens' mythical history. Each of the 320 guest rooms offers enchanting views of the hotel courtyard or a spellbinding panorama of the city's timeless landmarks, while the exquisite interiors pay homage to Greek culture with intricate moldings and classic decor. ... more less
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