The new AthensWas boutique hotel is located in the shadow of the Acropolis in Greece.
There’s new gloss in the Plaka, Athens’s historic center, as of last spring. Anemi Hotels, which also owns a luxurious resort on the Cycladic island of Folegandros, spent two years revamping a former apartment building into the stylish AthensWas boutique hotel, in an enviable location in the shadow of the Acropolis.
The result of their efforts: 21 ultramodern rooms that stand in contrast to the Greek city’s ancient sites, making for a contemporary urban oasis after a long day of sightseeing.
Rooms from 210 euros (about $237), including breakfast.
It doesn’t get much more central than this: AthensWas presides over a prime stretch of Dionysiou Areopagitou, the major pedestrian artery that leads right to the Acropolis, meaning you’re just a few minutes’ stroll from some of the city’s main attractions. It’s also an easy walk to second-century Hadrian’s Arch, the 1896 Olympic Stadium, the Greek parliament at Syntagma and the flea market at Monastiraki Square, as well as Ermou, Athens’ main shopping promenade.
When I entered my room, I immediately saw why AthensWas bills itself as a design hotel. The third-floor Residence Suite was carpeted in a bold, swirly pattern and had sleek Jacob Jensen phones, pendant lamps that turn on and off with a sweep of the hand, a marble-and-walnut-clad wet bar, leather Le Corbusier armchairs and wooden Venus chairs by German designer Konstantin Grcic, all of which gave the room a funky, contemporary look, courtesy of the Greek design studio Stage Design Practice.
There is a large terrace overlooking Dionysiou Areopagitou, but three layers of curtains guarantee a full blackout. Framed sepia-tinted photographs of Greek busts and statues on the walls add a sense of place.
The bathroom, done up in Greek marble and wood, has opaque colored-glass panels that let in light from the bedroom, adding a subtle glowing effect. It’s a spacious room with plenty of shelves for storage, but the rain shower is encased in a surprisingly snug cubicle in a corner. Local Korres toiletries come in refreshing aloe and citrus scents.
In the basement you’ll find a small gym and a business center that doubles as a conference room. There are no irons in the rooms, so try to arrive crumple-free. During my visit, I would have had to pay from 7 to 10 euros (more for dresses and other items) to have my shirt lightly ironed by the hotel’s laundry service. Wi-Fi is free in the guest rooms and public areas.
There is no generic buffet here. Breakfast is served at the sleek Modern restaurant abutting the lobby, where made-to-order options include an overly generous Greek breakfast. I’m not sure how plate after plate of omelets, yogurt and honey, pastries, spanakopita, fruits and pudding were designed to feed just one person. You could order room service, which comes from the same kitchen and includes the full restaurant menu, but I opted to have a late dinner at the popular rooftop bar instead — it has what must be one of the best views of the Parthenon, aglow high above the city.
It would be hard to find a better base for a quick jaunt to the ancient city — the stylish and comfortable rooms are just a bonus.