If there's one destination that keeps me coming back for more, it's Greece. The beloved 'European summer' jet-set begins as we say goodbye to tropical winter-sun locations. Something about the Greek islands screams summer - Mediterranean food, flowy linens, deep blue waters and the warm welcoming nature of the locals. Although I've been to many Greek Islands, one place I haven't visited is (you name it), Athens. Now, you're probably wondering how I've gone through my travels without visiting the most iconic destination in the country. I have nothing against it at all, but I had the misconception that Athens would be crowded, busy and uncomfortably hot. As someone who's regularly in and out of London, the last thing I want is city stress when abroad. Plus, I've always been more of a beach type.
First Impressions & Setting
I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful Four Seasons Astir Palace based on the luxurious Vouliagmeni seaside, amongst the Athenian Riviera. It gives very South of France vibes with sapphire waters and a laid-back escape with a touch of glamour. Although the city centre is just 30 minutes away, this isn't a hotel you would stay at if you plan to go sightseeing. It's a destination in and of itself, where you will be tempted to completely unwind and be taken care of by the attentive yet approachable staff of the Four Seasons.
The hotel itself is perhaps one of the chicest hotels I've visited. Porcelain white pillars frame the entrance and you're invited to captivating views overlooking the riviera before you even step foot inside. Inside is spacious enough to even hold a Cartier and Chopard boutique - just in case a special moment arises of course. Whilst everything is very grand, it's not over the top glamour. Sophistication and elegance run throughout the hotel, but there's a very warm and inviting feel.
One thing to note, is that there are actually two buildings for this hotel. Nafsika, oozes a lively environment and modernist interiors characteristic of Martin Brudnizki (the designer behind Annabel’s, Sexy Fish and Brasserie of Light in London). Whilst Arion has a more toned-down edge and is more geared towards those visiting on business. Either way, guests are free to wander between both buildings and enjoy the facilities.
It's not the Four Seasons, without a swanky room, cloud-like mattress and the iconic embroidered and branded pillows. Similar to my room at London Ten Trinity, the wall-sized mirror turned into a TV, and music can play through both the main area of the room and the bathroom. Greek-inspired paintings, books and prints lavish the room to give a dash of local colour. We were also greeted with fresh fruit accompanied by a small bottle of Ouzo. "Yammas!"
However, the one thing that I will not stop talking about, is the Le Labo toiletries. That's when you know you're at a 5-star hotel. Bathrooms have a marbled design with walk-in showers and a free standing bath tub.
As with all Four Seasons hotels, if you're a foodie you'll be delighted with this place.
Mercato is an Italian restaurant that offers a range of hearty meals. It's also the restaurant where we had breakfast every morning, where you can choose a selection of items from their menu and also pick up a few extras at the buffet. Whilst it's not the biggest breakfast selection, it offers quite a lot for different dietry requirements, as well as plenty of healthy options to choose from too.
Another place we tried was their Michelin-star awarded, Pelagos. Inspiration is drawn from the ocean with dishes that use fresh seasonal produce from the Mediterranean Sea. Here was had a generous five-course meal with wine pairing. Each dish was so artistically made, and the interior of the place was decked out with a nautical meets decadent theme, with polished bronzed accents and pearl-white tiles. Top tip: the Martini is a must to try.
Two of my favourite restaurants included Taverna 37 which served Greek food. It's set along the seafront, with a very beach-casual vibe. The popular 'Paramana' is a large wooden tray with a selection of light mezzes and dips to awaken your appetite. Each dish was freshly prepared with so much flavour. The second was Helios , offering Latin-American cuisine in a cool poolside setting - the perfect place for lunch on a hot day. The restaurant is airy and filled with tropical greenery, making it feel like you're in an exotic destination sipping on margaritas whilst the sea breeze creates a dreamy atmosphere.
And of course, with such a grand hotel, there are many bars where you can taste a selection of cocktails to put you into full holiday mode. There was even an adorable ice-cream cart by the pool if you fancy a sweet treat.
Let's start off with the wow-factor area, the pool. I don't know how classy a pool can get, but this was the epitome of it. The main pool is decorated with Olive trees and elegant cream loungers to soak up the sun. Cabanas are also available to book, which come with a welcome cocktail, a private shaded lounge area and sun-care amenities. There's also another pool located in their Arion building. An infinity style pool with a few loungers and a raised view of the riviera gives a more secluded feel to this area.
The gym is well equipped with the latest Techno-Gym machines, TRX frame and plenty of weights. You can just by the gym how new this place is. Personal Trainers are also available if you need more assistance in helping with your technique or form. Everything you need is at this gym - towels, chilled water and even headphones to rent out for your session. Whilst the interior is dark and sleek, natural light also comes in through the opened floor to ceiling windows.
On the Sunday of our stay, we were treated to a sensational treatment at the Spa in the couples' suite. The message itself was targeted to my specific needs and was the perfect muscle melter after a morning at the gym. The relaxation rooms and main spa area were equally as heavenly as one another. Post-treatment we were treated to some natural energy bards and a soothing tea. The Spa is perfect for both couples or for a spa day with a friend. The space is light and airy with panoramic views overlooking the hotel grounds.
Although I've touched upon how this place is uber-chic many times, you still need to bear in mind that this is a family-friendly hotel. The Four Seasons are great for taking care of the little ones and offer dedicated children a play zone for them to explore. As mentioned previously, this is a hotel where you would want to spend time indulging and immerse yourself in the experience. The service was impeccable (expected from a Four Seasons hotel). Everything was convenient and any requests were sorted with ease. Before my visit, I was told many times how this particular hotel is breathtakingly stunning and how it's created such loyal guests already.
It's definitely given me a different outlook on Athens, and I can't wait to see how this area develops further in future.
Book your next stay at Four Seasons Astir Palace - Athens by visiting: fourseasons.com/athens/
This stay was gently offered by Four Seasons Astir Palace Athens. All views and opinions here are as usual my own