Hotel Grande Bretagne
This is the grande dame of Athenian hotels and Mr. Stavros feels write at home here.
For many years a lovely dog named Glyka hung out on the steps of the hotel like she owned the place but she passed away recently and took with her a little bit of the hotel’s heart with her. Located across from Parliament on Syntagma Square. The GB, as it is lovingly referred to, has a fascinating history as it has witnessed some of the most important events since modern Greece was founded in 1831. The grand lobby has some nice photos and trinkets from the hotel’s 170 year plus history which Mr. Stavros always likes to take the time to stop and admire.
Hotel staff are extremely helpful and friendly, especially the GM and deputy GM. Unfortunately, the team at the stunning 8th floor restaurant appear to have missed their customer service training lessons so beware.
The hotel undertook a major renovation in for the 2004 Olympic Games. It was wonderfully tattered before that and much of that old world charm was stripped away but the hotel has been able to maintain its air of elegance none the less. The rooms that face the square on the 6th floor are particularly nice as they have large terraces. One of those rooms even has a bathroom with 2 sinks. A real luxury in the Greek capital.
Interior rooms are nice and quiet but get less light and witness none of the round the clock action on the square.
The lobby is a nice place to hang and people watch. I like the seats on the far wall facing the front door. Notice the GB signature scent. Very nice and available for purchase in their chic shop on the corner.
The ground floor Winter Garden restaurant is the power coffee/lunch destination in Athens. Try their Iced Greek Mountain Tea (Tsai Tou Vounou). The waitress may tell you they don’t have it but just insist because they do. The bar in the Winter Garden is a nice spot for an evening cocktail.
In the better weather months the eighth floor bar/restaurant is the place to be. I am going to tell you where you should ask to be seated because no one that works there will. Seats facing the Acropolis are very nice but you can also sit out on the far side of the restaurant with a view of Lycabettos Hill. Food is mediocre and expensive so just have a drink and a bowl of assorted warm nuts. Don’t even think about having a serious conversation with someone there because you will be interrupted by the staff at the most inopportune moment, I guarantee it, i.e. save the marriage proposal for somewhere else. All part of its Greek charm just don’t let it ruin your special occasion.
The GB has a good web site if you would like to check it out. A small roof top pool, a good salon for a quick blow-out and a decent spa with some good treatments.
Do not miss their excellent shop to take home some of their delicious signature food items, the GBs intoxicating lobby scent in a bottle and their big, beautiful monogrammed pillows.