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What is New at the Hotel Grande Bretagne?

Hotel Grande Bretagne Pool

In 2005 I returned to the Hotel Grande Bretagne courtesy of George Gerassimides of Fantasy Travel, so that I could experience what a true luxury hotel in Greece was like. The Grande Bretagne is the yardstick which all other luxury hotels in Athens are measured against.

Everything is new at the Grande Bretagne. In 2004 they completed a total rennovation of Athens' finest hotel in time for the Summer Olympics. The building was gutted down to its foundations and rebuilt. Besides improving the size and quality of all the rooms and suites, upgrading the bathrooms and adding all sorts of high tech items like DSL, satelite TV, pay-for-view-movies, messaging systems and just about anything you would need to carry on doing your business or pleasure, all the bars, restaurants and cafes have been enlarged and improved. The Grande Bretagne is simply the best hotel to be in because there are so many places to be within the hotel.

The Alexander Bar is one of the most beautiful and comfortable bars you will find in the city, with live piano music every night. If you want something a little younger and more hip the Roof-top Bar is the place to be for sunsets with a view that would be tough to beat from anywhere in Athens with the exception of  being on the top of Mount Lycavettos. The restaurant on the roof is excellent, world-class, as is the famous GB Corner. (Try the grilled Chicken).

On the roof they have added a swimming pool and of course a pool bar-restaurant which is where your kids will be eating burgers in between swims. The water is less than 4 feet deep if you are worried. (One of the benefits of roof-top pools is that they can't be deep or the roof could not support them.) In the basement is a full spa which includes an indoor pool (both pools are filled with mineral salts and very little chlorine making them both therapuetic and less toxic.) Also in the spa are several herbal steam rooms, saunas, jacuzzi, some extremely versatile showers, a massage and therapuetic treatment center, an exercise room with state-of-the-art equipment, and even a tea-room where you can drink herbal teas in an indoor arboritum. The spa at the Grande Bretagne is a great place to recharge your batteries.

Even the hallways are like taking a trip to the Benaki Museum with hundreds if not thousands of historical prints and paintings (they are copies but so what?). The lobby and various stting rooms are full of paintings and antiques, some that have been a part of the Grande Bretagne from its days as a private residence in the 19th century.

What they have done is take a great old hotel, already the best in Athens, and made it better. But all this beauty is pointless unless you have the staff to go with it, people who will make a guest feel like he belongs there. Despite the millions they have spent on the rennovations of the Grande Bretagne, the hotel's best quality is the people who work there. The staff of the hotel are professional and friendly without being stiff or phony. I felt completely at home (though my house is a far cry from the luxury of the Grande Bretagne) because everyone was so friendly. Mr Vangelis Kaminaris has my vote as the nicest most efficient front manager in Greece and all the waiters, bar-tenders, maitre' ds, hostesses and desk people could not have been friendlier.

And of course because I know it matters, you won't find a better breakfast buffet in Athens. Tables full of breads and pastries, scrambled and poached eggs, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit (even blue-berries, raspberries and blackberries), cereals, smoked salmon, dozens of cheeses and the list goes on. You can also order ala carte from your room and from the cafe off the main lobby.

The Hotel Grande Bretagne, if you have the money, is the best place to stay in Athens in terms of quality, location, service and architectural beauty. (Ask Fantasy Travel about special August rates if you are in Athens then. August is low season for the GB and you can get rooms for half the normal price).

You can go right to the booking form or click on the link below to go back to the index and read more about the Grande Bretagne...


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