I travel to Greece regularly and one of the most frequent questions people ask me— “Where should I stay in Athens.”
My response is always the same— It depends upon what kind of Athens experience you’re looking for. For the “city” experience, I always recommend the Grand Bretagne. But for a more complete Athens experience, I recommend the Astir Palace in Vouliagmeni, also known as the heart of the Athens Riviera.
It’s no wonder this place is the most talked-about hotel in Greece— for decades now.
I’ve often called it a Greek island just outside Athens— and you don’t need a ferryboat ticket to get there. It’s a small paradise amongst the urban sprawl of Athens and the broader Attica peninsula. To me, the Astir Palace embodies all that Greece is and should be.
The GB is the finest city hotel in Athens. Right smack in the middle of the heart of the city, on Syntagma Square, it doesn’t get more central than this. But to me— especially for the first time, or even infrequent Athens visitor, I recommend the Astir Palace.
Unlike most world capital cities or international destinations— London, Paris, New York, Milan— Athens has the distinct uniqueness of having its own Riviera almost within its city limits. In Paris, you must travel hours to get to the French Riviera. In New York— your options are the Hamptons (hours away in horrendous traffic)… or a flight to Florida.
But in Athens, you can take in all that the city has to offer— sites, sounds, museums, monuments, world class entertainment— and some of the most beautiful oceanfront property in the world, complete with sandy beaches and out-of-this-world sunsets.
Since the 1960s when it first opened, the Astir Palace has been the place to be seen— and to hide away at the same time. The public lobbies, pools and beaches are places to spot local and international celebrities and sip on awesome martinis under the Greek sun.
But privacy can be steps away. Those seeking to get away from the excitement need only to book one of Astir’s famous bungalows and just like that, you’re transferred to your own oceanfront “Greek island” hideaway, without ever leaving the mainland.
Since its opening in the 1960’s, the resort’s guests have included international jet-set, celebrities, power-brokers and regular people seeking a unique city getaway in Greece.
Jackie Onassis, Nelson Mandela, Tony Blair, Jane Fonda and Frank Sinatra all stayed here. And while I don’t qualify to be listed in this list of celebrities for “international fame”… I’ve stayed at the Astir too. Because contrary to its super-jet-set allure and quality, the Astir Palace costs what any good, luxury hotel costs in Athens— or even on the islands.
In a nutshell— you get the very best of Athens and Greece at the Astir.
Spend your day sightseeing. See the Acropolis Museum, the Parthenon. Visit Plaka and the hustle and bustle of Panepistimiou Street, the famed Athens Varvakeio Market, the National Archaeological Museum. Take that selfie with the Presidential Guard at the Parliament…
And then retire to your “Greek Island getaway” less than an hour’s drive out of the city.
It really is the best of both worlds. See for yourself: