The Hermes hotel has upped its game in recent years, with a sleek refurbishment and a renewed emphasis on discreet service. Athens's small, modestly priced establishments have generally relied on little more than convenient central locations to draw visitors, but the Hermes goes further, with sunny guest rooms and marble bathrooms that feel warm and welcoming. A travel concierge can help you arrange day-trips, while a small playroom reinforces the hotel's emphasis on family travel.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Located in Plaka means you are walking distance from everywhere, including major tourist attractions and sleek restaurants.
Some rooms are a bit on the small side while a few of them interestingly have extra large balconies (but no spectacular views) to compensate. The brightly colored soft furnishings create a happy cheerful mood in the superior rooms, while large mirrors reflect the light and make the space look bigger.
Request a superior room for extra space. Family rooms are available on request; these are corner rooms which are adjoining on every floor.
Bathrooms are compact with all-white marble tiles; half shower curtains means it takes some effort not to flood the floors when taking a shower.
The lobby is light and spacious, with some design sofas that are very homely and comfortable. There is a mini bar and a small business center with internet access.
Free tea, coffee, and biscuits are served in the lobby all day long (until 8 p.m.) so do not worry if there is a queue at reception while waiting to check in.
A buffet breakfast with Greek and international fare is served in the compact dining room one level up from the lobby. If you need to check out before 7 a.m. you can still have a continental breakfast served for you, with this service being available through the night.
There is a lobby bar with comfortable seating, where free tea, coffee, and biscuits are served all day long (until 8 p.m.). The roof garden bar restaurant of the sister hotel Plaka has excellent Acropolis views, while the roof garden of the Hermes still has some pretty partial views and plenty of seating (some sun loungers too, but bring your own drinks!).
The main hub of Syntagma square is just a short 5-minute walk away. There is a central metro station and plenty of buses stopping there, including the X95 airport bus (a single fare costs 5 euro) and the blue line that goes all the way to the airport. To get to the hotel from Syntagma square, walk down Mitropoleos str. and after 3 blocks turn left on Patroklou str. The hotel is at the end of this small street. You are on the outskirts of the quaint Plaka neighborhood, so a lot of shops, bars, and restaurants are within easy reach. Taxis can easily approach the hotel. There is no parking available, but a private parking lot across the street can look after your vehicle for a reasonable 15 euros per day.
Nolan (10-minute walk) is an international restaurant offering great fusion food in a small 18 dish menu where Greek and Asian cuisine styles are tastefully combined. Tucked away behind the foliage on Pentelis street, Ergon (5-minute walk) offers a culinary experience not to be missed, with traditional homecooked Greek dishes with a twist and a deli/grocery at the back where you can find all the ingredients. The souvlaki place O Kostas is literally a hole in the wall just around the corner (3-minute walk) but it is your go-to address for fresh, tasty, and cheap on-the-go gyros.
The Oinoscent wine bar (5-minute walk) has a great selection of Greek wines, and ideally you will sit outside and then go inside to visit the cellar and the knowledgeable sommelier for wine tips. On Ipitou street, which is just around the corner from The Hermes, 3 small bars sit right next to each other with everyone gathering outside on the pedestrianized walkway like a big street party. Take your pick among Ipitou Bar, Kiki de Grece, and Blue Bird (5-minute walk).
WHY WE LIKE IT
The Hermes is a good value city hotel, with honest service and a good infrastructure which has been meticulously kept up to date since its total refurb for the 2004 Olympics. You get a feeling that you receive a service better than its star rating, and even though the hotel amenities are finite (with visitors being directed to the affiliate hotel for lunch and dinner) you are still in a wonderfully central location, with easy access to mass transport when required, but also where everything is easily reached on foot.