You know you’re hot when not one, but two, history-making hotels open within a few weeks of each other. With Athens’ popularity in overdrive (and no signs of slowing down), the city has already welcomed two ground-breaking hotels in 2019.
Greece’s first Four Seasons resort—Four Seasons Astir Palace Athens—touched down on the Athens Riviera on March 29. The iconic Astir Palace, the summer playground of the global jet-set since the 1960s, has a guest-book as starry as its name (astir means “star” in Greek). The legendary location, on a private pine-studded peninsula in Vouliagmeni, has hosted everyone from Frank Sinatra to the Beatles; Nelson Mandela to Lady Gaga. Barack Obama was the last VIP to check-in before the resort closed for a total revamp in 2017.
With rooms priced anywhere between €365 a night in low season up to €20,000 for a triplex penthouse with a rooftop pool during summer, the upscale international chain is rewriting the definition of luxury for Greece’s hospitality industry.
Sealing Athens’ reputation as a sought-after destination is the arrival of “the world’s first Food Hotel”. Ergon House Hotel pitches itself as “a modern-day agora with rooms above the inn”. Guests can shop and eat their way around an enormous food market comprising a butcher, greengrocer, fishmonger, deli, bakery and roastery, before hitting the rooftop bar for a cocktail. Seventh heaven for foodies, it’s a gorgeous showcase for all the quality produce offered in Greece today. Praxitelous Street in the Historic Centre has never tasted so good either. Two new foodie hits have popped up on this vibrant street that’s home to famous cocktail bar, The Clumsies.
Fans of Vietnamese cuisine can finally get their fix at Athens’ first Vietnamese café, Madame Phú Man Chú. Look for the colourful lanterns and ruby red walls to spot this funky little corner site, with a handful of stools around the open kitchen counter. The short, brilliant menu features wok-fried mussels with basil, ginger and chilli, mustard leaf rolls or juicy beef skewers, washed down with a Vietnamese beer or lemongrass tea (while the bust of Ho Chi Minh looks on).
Across the road at 33 Praxitelous, locals are buzzing over much more than just the expertly-brewed coffee at newcomer Anana Coffee Food. Anana’s handmade vegan and vegetarian treats, Scandi-meets-Bauhaus décor, and strict no-smoking policy are also earning rave reviews. As well as micro-roasted coffee and cold pressed juices, try their spinach and olive sandwich or apple crumble. (Insider tip: slip around to the side entrance and grab one of the lemon-yellow tables tucked inside the arcade).