Grecotel Pallas Athena
Hotel in Athens
5-Star Luxury Art Boutique Hotel
Everything in life is better with a story. And that is true of the Grecotel Pallas Athena.
Nikos Daskalantonakis bought his first hotel in 1974 in his birthplace of Rethymnon Crete. He was very good at running hotels. So good at it, in fact, he went on to buy more hotels, and more, and now the Daskalantonakis family are akin to royalty in Greece: owners of the country's largest luxury resort group Grecotel and passionate advocates of their homeland.
I didn't know any of this when I arrived in the Grecotel Pallas Athena, the group's newest opening near Kotzia square in the heart of Athens. I only found out accidentally when I complimented their olive oil soap. I have sensitive skin and don't normally use soap, but this was lovely and gentle. In the small shop by reception, I learnt that their products all come from the Grecotel's Agreco organic farm back in Crete. Intended to support the local farming community with only Cretans employed, they've revived centuries-old organic farming practises and traditions to create the yoghurt, cheese, olive oil, raki, honey, jam and bath products that stock their 20+ hotels worldwide. You can visit the farm too if you find yourself in Crete. Or you can just sample the products at the lovely fresh breakfast buffet in the hotel.
I liked this hotel already. They didn't need to win me over. It's luxurious with 5 stars, but there's also something quirky about it. The 'do not disturb' sign reads: 'I'm getting ready for the red carpet'; there's a taxidermy zebra in the dining room and black lacquered garden gnome by the lift. The quirks start in the lobby: the giant hand-shaped chair; the taxidermy white wolf; a display cabinet of skulls; and the thought-provoking art pieces. The impression is surreal and amusing. I like to be amused. It also does the job of a lobby in that it's soothing - lashings of white marble generally have that effect.
Heading up stairs, the pieces of art continued: the 'Ahhhhhhhh' logo on the wall; photographic portraits; and more of those gnomes. And then the room. Bathed in Athens bright white light streaming in through the French windows, it was immediately impressive. Entirely in a black and white palette it was stylish and unfussy. Black floorboards and white walls are a combination that works when you have that much natural light. It's the kind of room you want to spend hours basking in, reading the paper, ordering room service, tucking into the nicely-priced mini bar (€10 for fizz) or lounging in the marble bath. I like the superfluous furniture. As a hotel guest you don't need an Art Deco mirrored sideboard for storage, but it makes it feel like a beautifully-decorated private apartment.
Each of the hotel’s 63 rooms (most of them suites) have been individually designed and decorated with four artists taking each of the floors. They differ vastly, from the graffiti guestrooms showcasing wall art by notable local street artists to the loft suites, with avant garde furniture, silk furnishings and exotic plants. There's no telling what you will end up with, though most likely it will be amusing and there will be art from the owner’s private collection. Looking around at the work on display, I can't help but think I'd like Nikos Daskalantonakis.
Tyler Wetherall is a Freelance Travel Writer who spends her time between London and New York
Photographs courtesy of Grecotel Pallas Athena
|Reviewer's Rating||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Ambience||Hidden Gem, Trendy|
|Services||Free High Speed Internet, Restaurant, Room Service, Fitness Center, Family Friendly|
|Number of Rooms||63 rooms and suites|
Superior Guestrooms (24 m²); Pallas Guestrooms (28 m²); Graffiti Guestrooms (24 m²); Family Graffiti Guestrooms (35 m²); Premium Graffiti Guestroom (28 m²); Prestige Pallas Suites (38 m²); Art Chic Suites (50 m²) and Loft Suites (from 45-50 m²).
Luxurious, arty, boutique and attentive staff.
Good value for the space of the rooms.
Last updated on 02-10-2015