I was really in no fit state to be walking through the doors of a smart new boutique hotel.
My flight from Sydney a month ago arrived in Athens at 6 a.m. I’d spent the most gruelling section pinned into a middle seat for more hours than I’m usually awake, my back protesting so much that I couldn’t sleep and the only thing that kept me going was watching seven episodes in a row of House of Cards. Thank you, Kevin Spacey, I love you.
The Etihad flight connected at Abu Dhabi, where I waited impatiently amid the masses for a missing boarding pass, and guzzled the most essential glass of wine I have ever had. I had no idea how much 40 Emirati dirham was, but frankly I would have paid it if it was 40 US dollars.
Aegean welcomed a handful of passengers on board their section of the journey with sweets and smiles and let us all lie down across three seats each, so at least I was feeling vaguely human in the morning as I took the Metro to Monastiraki station and, turning my back on the Acropolis, walked down one of the liveliest streets in the city, Athinas, passing the buzzing central markets.
A week earlier, I’d received a press release about the opening of the Grecotel Pallas Athena. What intrigued me was the design element. One of my favourite things about Athens, as you may know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, is the street art. The Pallas Athena, a five-star boutique hotel owned by the leading luxury hotel group in Greece, has 63 rooms/suites individually decorated by street artists. I was catching a ferry back to Tilos so I couldn’t stay, but I could drop in for breakfast.
Feeling somewhat self-conscious, I was welcomed into a cool lobby and my backpack was whisked out of sight as I was invited to make myself comfortable in the dining room/lounge with its airy terrace on the first floor. Refreshed with grapefruit juice and mini-pastries, I learned about the hotel concept, then had a tour around a few of the rooms.
The hotel opened in January 2014 as the newest boutique art hotel in central Athens, and has both chic art suites and whimsical graffiti guestrooms, featuring such artists as ‘b’ and ‘Dreyk the Pirate’. All the rooms were bright and uncluttered and comfy-looking. For single travellers or couples, they're stylish, playful and relaxing. For families, the spacious interconnecting rooms would be brilliant fun. There was even an octopus...
I felt I wouldn’t be doing a serious job of checking out the hotel if I didn’t sample the Eau de Grèce luxury bathroom products by Agreco Farms in Crete, where the hotel group originates.
A body sculpture gel to ‘refine your silhouette, giving a more toned and firm appearance’, felt like just what I needed, after twenty-four hours of stuffing my face with airline food. Though first I’d need a bath.
Thanks to the Grecotel Pallas Athena for a delightful welcome. I should add that the hotel group was a leader in environmentally-friendly practice as early as 1991, which is a big plus point for me. And, checking out their website today, I see they still have some great room deals available. Well worth checking out for a city break, or if you're passing through to the islands... The Daskalantonakis Group also has super-plush places in Crete, Mykonos, Kos, Rhodes, Attica, the Peloponnese and Halkidiki.