With a marble atrium lobby, central fountain, and private art collection, central Athens's largest hotel (553 rooms) provides a cool oasis on one of the city’s busiest and largest avenues. The hotel has undergone extensive renovations and updates since it opened its doors in 1982. The eighth- and ninth-floor Executive Club level have a private check-in, a lounge with an Acropolis view and a library, complimentary evening cocktails and finger food. This Hotel caters strongly to business travelers; there are vast conference facilities and a plethora of private meeting rooms.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Even though there is free Wi-Fi, the service is only really good enough to check emails. For people who need proper Wi-Fi use and are not reward club members of this particular hotel chain, there is a rather extravagant extra daily charge of 16€.
The spacious standard rooms have marble floors in the sitting area, a carpet under the bed, bright cobalt blue or vibrant green fabrics that add character to the cream and cherry wood finishes, and business-oriented conveniences like a two-line phone and a work desk.
Most of the rooms don’t have balconies. Make sure to book a north facing room which has stunning views of the Acropolis and the verdant ancient Philopappou Hill.
The cream marble bathrooms are large--but dated. They are all decked out with a well-sized tub you can stretch out in whilst enjoying a long, lazy bath. The toiletries are from one of the top Greek brands, Korres.
The lobby is a cool open plan, with white marble flooring and walls glinting in the sunlight during the day. The central attraction is an eye-catching and rather odd sculpture of "The Blue Man," an artwork by contemporary Greek artist George Lappas that will definitely take your mind off any delays during check-in.
The tiered pool deck area on the rooftop is a lovely place to sun yourself and enjoy a drink and a bite. However, the whole area including the pool is on the small size for such a large hotel.
The I-Spa provides all the relaxing enchantment of any modern spa and features the environ and Ila organic cosmetics. There are over 25 different therapies and beauty treatments on offer.
It has all of the standard equipment and is well maintained and squeaky clean.
Ask at reception for a personal trainer to help with your regimen.
The breakfast is very good for a place this size, but what stands out is the friendly service, as there is nothing better than to be greeted by smiling faces in the morning. The hotel also boasts four restaurants serving Greek, Mediterranean, French, and international cuisine. The most touted is the Premier restaurant on the rooftop terrace serving up fine French-inspired dishes with the quintessential Acropolis view.
It’s a good job that the hotel has a couple of great bars, as its location is not conducive to popping out for a quick drink. Tobar, designed by interior decorating guru Pierre Yves Rochon, serves up some delightful signature cocktails, like the amusingly named Tobartini or Tobarbubble. The bar at Premier has drinks with a view.
The hotel is on a main thoroughfare into the city at the edge of a residential, working-class neighborhood; an hourly shuttle runs to Syntagma square, about 10 minutes away by car. The closest metro stop is Syngrou Fix (5-minute taxi, 15 by foot), two stops from Syntagma, which has trains direct from the airport (blue line). If you prefer to take a taxi from the airport, it will take about 35 minutes and it will cost around 35€ during the day and around 55€ at night (12 a.m.-5:30 a.n.). Getting a cab from the hotel is very easy and quick.
Treat yourself at the nearby double Michelin-starred Hytra restaurant at the top of the Onassis Cultural Center (5-minute taxi) for contemporary Greek cuisine. Staying with Greek food there is the popular, innovative and considerably less pricey I Fabrika Tou Efrosinou (5-minute taxi) in trendy Koukaki. Another popular place to dine is Mani Mani (5-minute taxi), serving up Peloponnesian delicacies.
Head to Syntagma where you will find a handful of great bars, but if something a little closer to home tickles your fancy, try BoBo Wine Bar (5-minute taxi) where you can enjoy a glass or bottle of some of Greece’s finest wines (also serves up tasty deli treats) or Bel Ray (5-minute taxi) a lively and youthful hangout.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Despite its size and hotel-chain status, the warm and professional service is what you’d hope for from the Intercontinental brand. It’s not quite central but it is on the Acropolis side of town, and the views of the Parthenon and down to the sea are what one wants when visiting Athens. It’s a good fit for the business traveler and the leisure visitor, not only because of the facilities but also since it’s on a short hop to Pireaeus, Greece’s largest port.