April in Athens: A luxurious stay at the Hilton Athens
** This article originally appeared on the FL310 Travel Blog on July 27, 2018. It has been updated for this website**
My apologies to Chairman Sinatra for altering the title of his iconic tune, but I was in Athens, in April, and it was unbelievable. On this trip, I was fortunate to stay in the historic Athens Hilton, and in two different types of rooms. Having arrived to the hotel after a 5 hour trek from my Mom's village in Central Thessaly, with no less than a plainclothes police escort from the outskirts of Athens all the way to the front door. To say it was epic would be a gross understatement.
Having my bags taken directly inside by the speedy and sharp bellhop, I said my goodbyes to my cousin and headed inside. Gave the agent at the counter my passport and credit card, and she looked me with a huge smile and told me she couldn't check me in, and I would have to proceed to the elevators and up to the Executive Floor and check-in there. So off I went, hoping my bags would be on their way up behind me as well.
Depositing me on the Executive Floors with a distinctive ding, the elevator closed behind me as I sauntered over to the desk and presented (again) my credentials. The classically gorgeous concierge checked me in rapidly, explained the hours and activities in the Executive Lounge and directed me to my room, which thankfully was not too far away.
Shortly after getting myself situated in this amazing 1 King room with this AMAZING view of Athens and the Acropolis in the distance, there was a knock on my door. It was the bellhop with my luggage. Arranging it just so in the closet, (not to mention showing me how to get into the closet and use it!) he told me if I needed to get and clothing items pressed, they could be done in 3 hours. Awesome. I told him I do have my suits than could use an airing out and freshening up, but i have to dig them out first. He said no problem, take my time and just buzz the Executive Concierge for pick up. Excellent!
The room was nicely spaced out, with the bed tantalizing close to the balcony door, at an angle just right for falling asleep with the Acropolis in the distance as the last thing you see before closing your eyes. The bathroom was completely marble, with a bathtub that was decently deep (enough for my large frame and be comfortable), and a separate, walk-in rainfall shower. Believe me, this room is worth every last silver Euro of the nightly rate.
The Executive Lounge was nice as well. Bright and airy, with a great assortment of refreshments during the off hours, and great breakfast in the morning and hors d'oeuvres served in the evenings. Oh, and did I mention endless supplies of Orange Fanta? No, not that bland kind you get back in the States, the Greek version, as quite a few people can attest, is a whole different animal, and MUCH tastier. I ended up with a stockpile in my room of somewhere between 15 and 20 bottles...
Due to a screwup in booking that was completely this author's fault, I had to scramble at last minute to find another room at the end of my 4 days stay for an additional night. The Executive Floor was completely booked that final night, so I got myself the standard City View 1 King Room. Laid out just as nicely as the Acropolis View lodgings, these rooms are on the other side of the hotel, facing the City, and if you're on the right side, the US Embassy. I was on the left side, and had a fantastic view of the city's East Side.
Up on the top floor is the world renown Galaxy Bar, voted one of the "World's 10 Best Rooftop Bars" by Premier Traveler Magazine, an award most decidedly deserved, with some unbelievable incredible views of the Acropolis, nee ALL of Athens (and a good chunk of Attica in general) to be had, especially from Sunset onwards.
Just off the Main Lobby downstairs is the Byzantino Restaurant, prices are typically high, considering it is a hotel restaurant after all, but from the 2 breakfasts I had, the food was fantastic, even though it was your standard buffet breakfast fare. They had a few traditionally Greek items, but i would've liked to have seen more. Other than that it was not a bad place to start one's day.
In closing, the Hilton Athens is your typical high-end Hilton, however, it's history and legacy put it at the top of the heap with the Hilton International hotels. The Acropolis View rooms are worth their slightly higher nightly rates, and you are mere minutes from major attraction, historic sites, ancient ruins, and some AMAZING hole in the wall establishments with the absolute best in Greek dining. Plan your stay here the next time you have a few nights in Athens, you won't regret it.
**All photos the author's except where noted and credited**