Destination Guide

Athens

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Courtesy Jan Tielens

With roots going back to the Neolithic age, Athens in classical times was a breeding ground for ideas that shaped Western civilization. Today, the city that has been regarded as little more than a stopover destination for decades is undergoing a renaissance in which its storied past is blending with a contemporary scene.

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Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel

The most legendary of Athens's hotels, the old world Grande Bretagne looks out over the Greek Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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King George, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Not only is the King George located next door to the legendary Grande Bretagne on Syntagma Square, it is now owned by the same hotel group. The truth is you can't really go wrong at either property but what gives the King George a bit of an edge is that it went through major renovations in 2013; its 102 rooms have just the right touch of Old World elegance (parquet wooden floors, sweeping curtains and chandeliers) but are soundproofed and updated. Its Royal Penthouse Suite is often on the lists of the most luxurious suites in the world; it takes up the entire 9th floor and boasts its own terrace and pool with stunning views the Parthenon. And while it might not have a spa on par to that of the Grande Bretagne, guests of the King George are allowed to use it. Many also appreciate the more intimate size of the property compared to its much larger sister which can be thronged with cruise ship crowds.

pool with sunbeds and loungers

One&Only Aesthesis

One&Only Aesthesis transports iconic Grecian island luxury to the coast of its capital city. The drive is just 30 minutes from the Athens International Airport to the upscale seaside enclave of Glyfada—a destination renowned for its collection of international and local boutiques, vibrant cafe culture and elegant promenades, known as the Athenian Riviera.

The resort is spread out across protected forest parkland, archaeological sites and a gentle cove with the hotel’s private, sandy beach. While there are 12 traditional guest rooms in the main resort building, the standout are the 95 stand-alone bungalows with private entrances, spacious seating areas and outdoor living space among landscaped gardens (in some cases, the gardens are larger in square footage than the bungalow itself). The contemporary bathrooms include features such as soaking tubs to admire the floor-to-ceiling window views and heated tile floors—plus special details like floral bath salts. The minibar is stocked with bottled cocktails created in collaboration with The Clumsies (one of the World’s 50 Best Bars in Athens) and fresh citrus to garnish.

Note: All but two of the bungalows feature generously-sized private plunge pools.

For larger groups or families, a number of two-bedroom villas and private residences are available. These include ample cooking and common space like kitchenettes (or full kitchens), dedicated dining areas, larger pools and outdoor patios.

The resort property is low-rise and oriented towards the sweeping coastal views with wafting aromas of fresh lemon trees and lavender—part of the property’s native, all-season landscaping. The spa, in particular, embraces this vision of sensory immersion, offering the only Guerlain-partnered spa in Greece. Well-appointed fitness facilities, nearby tennis and pickleball courts and a private pool make the Guerlain Spa a complete wellness destination. To take full advantage of the property’s unique geography, host a small private dinner or intimate celebration on the tiny peninsula at the edge of the cove. During the day, a fleet of VonDutch luxury speed boats are available to whisk guests off for a day exploring the coastline.

Tapping into the history of the Athenian Riviera, the lobby and lounge in the main building is decorated with 1960s-inspired touches. Here, guests can choose between three bars and two restaurants—Ora by Ettore Botrini for Mediterranean all-day bites or experience three-Michelin-starred Moorish cuisine from PAco Morales at El Bar de Paco Morales.

The property's three central, beachfront pools are appointed with private cabanas (including sunbeds and wet bars), deck loungers or beach chairs. For those looking for a more lively, Cycladic beach party, the resort has a day-to-night beach club slated to open in late summer 2024.

One&Only Aesthesis combines beautifully with the brand-new One&Only Kéa Island. Opening for the summer 2024 season, this hillside retreat offers private, villa-style accommodations without the crowds. As the nearest Cycladic island to Athens, Kéa is an authentic island getaway just a boat (or helicopter) ride away.


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