Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Definitive Guide to Athens

Luxury Accommodations

Arion Resort & Spa
The gorgeous Vouliagmeni Peninsula is the spectacular setting for the Astir Palace Resort, Athens' premier resort. Set within 75 piney acres in the heart of the Saronic Gulf, the Astir Palace Resort complex is predominant. It is here that guests can begin a voyage of pleasure and contentment, leaving behind the demands of every-day life and embracing an overwhelming sense of relaxation that comes with the resort’s four decades of consistently high quality service. The resort complex includes two hotels with a third coming soon: Arion, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, The Westin Athens and W Athens (opening in 2016).

 Located in the Astir Palace complex, the Arion Resort & Spa bridges past and present with artful décor throughout its 123 rooms, suites and 58 bungalows that come equipped with private pools and a host of exceptional amenities. Unforgettable views of the emerald sea, fragrant gardens, and the peaceful marina add to the elegant flow of the hotel’s well-appointed accommodations.

The hotel takes its name from the lyric poet Arion, whose mythical kidnapping by pirates and rescue on the back of a dolphin might be the stuff of legend, but it is a legend that lends the hotel and spa an element of the fantastic. Rejuvenate in the hydrotherapy pool of the magical Arion spa that, along with the serene treatment rooms, offers majestic views of the sea. The hotel can also accommodate guests’ requests for nearly any popular activity with its fitness room, tennis and basketball courts, miniature football pitch and nearby golf course.
The Arion Resort & Spa offers superb service for the business guest, beginning at reception with express check-in. Arion Resort & Spa has eight meeting rooms and boardrooms. And there is no reason why one can’t mix work with pleasure, which is why all the rooms are flooded with natural light, have lovely sea views, and come equipped with state-of-the-art technology.
The impressive Alexander Ballroom, which can accommodate up to 200 guests, lends itself perfectly to galas and receptions. Its original Swarovski crystal chandeliers never fail to dazzle guests.

Hotel Grande Bretagne
Located in the heart of Athens within walking distance of exclusive shopping areas and museums, the Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, is an eight storey 19th-century building that exudes luxury and refinement. An award-winning hotel—The Green Key, Condé Nast Traveler Gold List, and Travel + Leisure T+L 500 Best Hotels—this majestic property was once a private residence. Transformed into an opulent hotel in 1874, the hotel has a rich history, once serving as a sanctuary for refugees and acting as host for diplomatic negotiations between George Papandreou and Winston Churchill. In 2003, the Hotel Grande Bretagne once again underwent a massive restoration and emerged as the state-of-the-art, five-star hotel it is today.
 With meticulous attention to detail, the hotel’s 320 rooms and suites marry old world elegance and charm with all of the luxuries one comes to expect from a modern property. Guests in one of the hotel’s 56 suites even have access to their own butler service. The hotel’s stunning interiors pay homage to and mirror the Greek culture just outside the hotel: the Acropolis and Parthenon are within walking distance of the hotel. Also nearby are the Ancient Agora, Lycabettus Hill, and the ancient Olympic Stadium.

 Inside the hotel and away from the hustle and bustle of Athens, guests can indulge themselves within the award-winning Grand Bretagne Spa. Guests can also enjoy wine tasting in The Cellar, whilst Alexander’s Bar allows guests to linger over a classic cocktail or exquisite cognac. Finally, Alexander’s Cigar Lounge offers a relaxed setting where guests can enjoy fine wines, premium cigars, cognacs and liquors with friendly and discreet service.


Your stay at Arion, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa certainly won’t be boring, especially not for your palate.
Promising a splendid start to the day, the casual Alia Brassiere offers tempting breakfast options, ranging from international fare to Mediterranean favourites, which are all accompanied by majestic views of the Saronic Gulf.
Located in the hotel's indoor/outdoor lobby, the Alia Lounge Bar is the perfect spot to enjoy a romantic before-dinner or after-dinner cocktail and a few snacks while gazing out on the sapphire blue sea. Or head to Sailor’s Bar on the resort's private beach. Open daily during the summer, it serves snacks, coffee, fresh fruit juices and refreshing beach cocktails.
 Combining captivating views and an enchanting atmosphere, with a Japanese menu created by a team of elite chefs under the direction of world-renowned Nobu Matsuhisa, Matsuhisa Athens promises a singular dining experience. For guests who just want a taste, upstairs from the restaurant is Matsuhisa Bar, where expertly crafted cocktails and small sushi plates are available in abundance.

Taverna 37 boasts an unrivaled beachfront location and offers the captivating charm of a traditional Greek tavern, serving fresh salads and grilled Greek specialties accompanied by ouzo and ice cold beer. Taverna 37 is only open during the summer months.
For a truly unparalleled gourmet dining experience, The Grill Room is the place to be. Serving international dishes accompanied by unprecedented views of the Saronic Gulf and a premier selection of wines, diners couldn't ask for more.
 With a setting unlike any other in Athens, the GB Roof Garden at the Hotel Grande Bretagne treats its guests to unparalleled views of some of history’s most important architectural treasures. Take in the sun-drenched columns of the Parthenon while sampling dishes from the restaurant’s Mediterranean menu.

Undeniably the most famous “corner” of Athens, the Hotel Grand Bretagne’s GB Corner is a favourite of the capital’s stylish set. Its chic, historic atmosphere and genuine Greek menu promise to transform a standard evening into a truly memorable night out.
 With a setting unlike any other in Athens, the GB Roof Garden at the Hotel Grande Bretagne treats its guests to unparalleled views of some of history’s most important architectural treasures. Take in the sun-drenched columns of the Parthenon while sampling dishes from the restaurant’s Mediterranean menu. Undeniably the most famous “corner” of Athens, the Hotel Grand Bretagne’s GB Corner is a favourite of the capital’s stylish set. Its chic, historic atmosphere and genuine Greek menu promise to transform a standard evening into a truly memorable night out.

Away from the hotel, L’Abreuvoir is a favourite of locals, who return time and time again for its high quality, traditional French cuisine. A downtown favourite in a landmark neoclassical house, Prytaneion is in the posh Kolonaki district and serves Greek, Italian, and Spanish dishes to the city’s power crowd. Spondi, star chef Arnaud Bignon adds a dash of French flair to local fish, meats, and vegetables. With two Michelin stars to its name, it's a combination that certainly seems to be working.

Elegant locals flock to To Kafeneio for its simple, home-style Greek cooking. Order from an extensive list of traditional dishes, like marinated octopus, stuffed grape leaves, and onion pie. In the summer, seating spills out onto the sidewalk. A long-time favourite in Athens, Michelin starred Varoulko offers traditional Greek seafood dishes with a creative twist. Or, enjoy innovative and fresh Greek recipes from Paros in the centre of Athens at Papadakis. With modern, calming interiors, it is the perfect place to enjoy a quiet meal any season. Its outdoor tables are especially suited to catching the summer sun or cool evening breezes.

For something decidedly non- Greek, ITHAKI, located on the Peninsula of Vouliagmeni, has been attracting international stars for more than two decades, from Athina Onassis and Bill Clinton to Sean Connery and Leonardo DiCaprio. And fusion restaurant Inbi offers exceptional Japanese flavours, unsurpassed quality and a journey through time. Behind the restaurant’s ethos is a deep respect for Japanese tastes and traditions, combined with a sense of style and class. It always delivers a truly intimate dining experience.


When one thinks of Athens, its grand history, historical artefacts and ancient ruins immediately spring to mind; its vast array of stylish boutiques, innovative designers, unique products, and modern shops do not ... though they should.

At Golden Hall shoppers will find unique signature shops dispersed among big stores and big names, like Burberry, D&G, and Armani, and exclusive boutiques, like Tod΄s, Hogan, and Ferragamo. The first of its kind in all of Greece, the Athens Mall attracts thousands of locals and visitors every day. It has a little of everything, including plenty of shops for those who want to browse, restaurants of every kind and a large cinema.
Sometimes it takes a village to find a bargain. The McArthur Glen Designer Outlet is that discount-filled village. Designed in neoclassical style, the outlet occupies 21,000 square metres and holds 110 shops, cafes and restaurants that offer low prices on brands like Versace, Cavalli, and Brooks Brothers.

 At Byzantino Jewellery shoppers can view and then buy an exact replica of an exquisite filigree necklace worn by a Mycenaean queen. The sumptuous piece is just one of the myriad treasures crafted by hand in the workshop of Kostas and Giorgos. One of the most famous names in contemporary Greek jewellery, Ilias Lalaounis creates hand-hammered and filigreed gold jewellery influenced by the Neolithic, Mycenaean, and Byzantine ages at his eponymous store, Lalaounis.

 For thousands of years eastern Mediterranean people have recognized the healing and therapeutic properties of the golden resin of the mastic tree, indigenous to the island of Chios, it also happens to make a perfectly unique gift. This resin is central to the oil, chocolate, soap, cream, and chewing gum that line the shelves at the Mastiha Shop.
From pomegranate, calendula, and evening primrose to guava, quince, and fig, the finest elements of natural Greek fruits and flowers are infused into the sumptuous goods that fill the simple wooden shelves of Korres, a modern Greek apothecary.

 In a historic building in Athens, Attica combines unique architectural elements and modern aesthetics with the allure of the 1920s. Occupying an area of 25,000 square metres, it provides a pleasant shopping environment on par with some of the largest department stores in Europe. With more than 360 small shops inside and 860 different brand names, Attica caters to every need. With women’s, men’s and children’s fashion, home ware, accessories, cosmetics and a café and restaurant, Attica is the most fashionable and glamorous department store in Athens.

 For authentic Athens up close and personal, try the Monastiraki Flea Market. The best time to visit Monastiraki is on Sunday mornings when the market's in full swing. Aside from being one of the Athens’ best places, you can also find antiques, unique Greek gifts, and handmade souvenirs. Monastiraki was named after the Monastery of Pantánassa, which is located within Monastiraki Square.
Athens is full of hidden gems, from treasures that are thousands of years old to everything that makes a modern city great. It is worth stepping a little further from Astir Palace to the Varkiza Fish Market, where the fresh produce of the Argolic and Saronic gulfs arrives fresh every morning. Walk along the water near the boats where sellers loudly advertise their wares each day. Get a taste of authentic Athens while sampling the best of authentic Athens.

Always a top Athenian nightlife choice, Akrotiri Boutique revels in its reputation as a seaside party venue. Right on the cape, with a superb views and luxurious décor, Akrotiri is the city’s cosmopolitan option. New, modern, cool and impressive, when night falls, Sea n’ Satin is the only place to be. As the night wears on, the beat only gets stronger, the music moves into new dance dimensions, and cocktails become the top priority.

Whatever the occasion, from a relaxing cocktail after work or a day of shopping to a larger special occasion celebration, Zonar's Café is the perfect host from morning until late evening. Start your day with a fresh ground coffee and continue with a selection of fine sandwiches, light meals and sushi. Baba Au Rum is for those who love classic and innovative cocktails, as well as pure spirits and liqueurs. Over drinks, listen to the venue’s jazz and pop music choices.

Cocktails are king at 42. Luxurious and classic, 42’s cocktail menu is updated every three months with new recipes made from fresh seasonal ingredients and homemade blends. The Island Club Restaurant is a must for those seeking an elegant atmosphere during Athens' busy summer months. The views of the ocean from the stunning club are incomparable.

Ancient Sites

Dedicated to Athens’ virgin patron, the goddess Athena, construction on the Parthenon began in 447 BC, at the height of the empire’s power. The most important surviving building from classical Greece, it is generally considered the culmination of the development of the Doric order. The Parthenon is also regarded as an enduring symbol of Greece’s contributions to society, from architecture and philosophy to art and democracy. The Greek Ministry of Culture is currently carrying out a programme of selective restoration and reconstruction to ensure the stability of the partially ruined structure.

The Ancient Temple of Poseidon is situated at the southern end of Attica, 30 kilometres from Astir Palace. As you approach the site, you will see a stunning temple at the top of the hill, built between 450-440 BC. Here, the ancient Greeks worshipped the god of the sea. It was once a majestic temple consisting of 34 columns of Doric order but only 15 survive today.
 The Temple of Apollo Zoster dates back to the 6th century BC. Mythology has it that the temple received its name from the Goddess Leto, who loosened her belt (“zoster” in ancient Greek) to give birth to Apollo and Artemis. In 1924, children from a local orphanage discovered the ruins while playing in the sand. Archaeologists then identified the ruins as the link between Athens and Delos.

Once an imposing cave, centuries of erosion caused the cave to sink, creating an eternal myth about Vouliagmeni Lake that appeared in its place. On a hot or cool day, swim in its warm waters, with temperatures between 20-27 degrees year-round, and experience its healing qualities

Romantic Spot
A favourite with locals and tourists alike, the view from the top of Sounion is breathtaking, especially if you make it there just before sunset. Feel the mystifying power of this ancient spot that's only 69 kilometres from the centre of Athens. During a full moon, the Temple of Poseidon is bathed in moonlight. It's a "must" for romantics the world over.


Golden Hall: Kifisias Avenue, 37A, Marousi
Phone: 30 210 6803450
The Mall: Andrea Papandreou Street. 35, Marousi
Phone: 30 210 6300000
Giouzenis: Voukourestiou Str.,2 - Syntagma-Athens Tel:+30 210 322 8688
Byzantino Jewellery: 120 Adrianou Street, Plaka Phone: 30 210 3246605
Lalaounis: 6 Karyatidon Street
Phone: 30 210 6205721
Mastiha Shop: Panepistimiou 6 & Kriezotou Street
Phone: 30 210 3632750
Korres: 9 Panepistimiou Street (inside the Attica Department Store)
Phone: 30 213 0188800
Attica Department Store: 9 Panepistimiou Street
Phone: 30 211 1802600

By Passion4luxury

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