Hotel Grande Bretagne Athens Greece: Send Your Grandma

July 13, 2012

The Hotel Grande Bretagne is an old school luxury hotel chock full of marble staircases, chandeliers, and slightly impersonal service. Rumor has it this is the best hotel in Athens (which is a great place to visit even in the 100+ degree heat of July). Boutique hotels have not yet sprouted here.

On arrival in the afternoon, I was upgraded from a junior suite to a regular suite (room 225). Though the suite itself is nicely appointed, it is old fashioned and has no view at all. I guess the plus is that it is quiet, but a view of the Acropolis (available from the restaurant) would be nice. I asked the front desk to look into a room with a view and their one room swap suggestion was a severe disappointment. I would have been smarter for them just to say no. Like I said, “impersonal service” which is the sort of thing you expect at last generation luxury hotels.

Here is the room.

The living room section of the suite (situated off the marble floored foyer where the closet is).

A comfortable and over dressed bed. Chandeliers in every room but the bathroom.

Granted having a welcome gift in your room is nice, but this time it was generic, addressed to nobody from nobody in particular. The Starwood people don’t seem to want to get to know their non-loyalty related guests.

A nice but generic welcome of Ouzo and black olives.

The all important bathroom. Nice shower cubicle with multiple showerheads was a bit on the small side in actual use. The water here has a slight sulfer smell.

Shower cube with a hypotenuse door.

Bathtub. Never used (as always on this blog).

Possibly the biggest problem with the Grande Bretagna is the Starwood idiocy of paid internet service with charges/usernames for each device. Ridiculous. I overheard a 16 year old girl in the hallway complaining to her mom, “yeah and they are uber stingy with their internet.” Get with the program guys, you’re putting your entire chain on the same level as Indianapolis! Plus the net service once you do authenticate sucks.

Tiny fuzzy flat screens playing self-congratulatory tape loops do not make you hip. The W people need to take a look around for high irony.

What happens when you try to make an old school luxury hotel hip? Awful things like this.

Then again the restaurant on the 8th floor is very good (breakfast is a great spread), and the view can’t be beat. The bar is serviceable and makes an OK drink, but they need to use real pineapple juice in their zombies. (No real mixology discovered in Athens this trip…the Speakeasy was too far away.) The 7th floor outside pool is very refreshing on a 106 degree afternoon.

The view from the terrace restaurant on the 8th floor can’t be beat.

Of course, Athens is Athens. And though it is hotter than the dickens in July (over 100 every day and 106 just at the moment), it is a great place to visit.

A side trip to Aegina was particularly noteworthy. Great place for a hot walk up the hill and a cold beer by the ocean.

Hovercraft to and from Aegina takes 40 minutes (the boat must go 20 knots).

Up the hill in Aegina.

Finally, the highlight of this visit (and the capstone of several exquisite dining experiences with Jacob) was dinner at Spondi—one time the best restaurant in Athens. Supremely good lamb. Superb flavors very carefully constructed. Everything was world class. (My waiter here at the not too shabby itself 8th floor restaurant informs me that Funky Gourmet is now number one. Oh well, guess I’ll have to come back.)

Cycling back around to shower heads, we’ll have to award the Grande Bretagne four showerheads. Better net and a bit more hip would do me.

3 Responses to “Hotel Grande Bretagne Athens Greece: Send Your Grandma”

  1. […] This last trip, I flew through Frankfurt and had a long layover both going and coming. The United Arrivals facility no longer exists, and the Lufthansa lounges are so crowded that it is difficult to find a seat. The wifi systems are likewise utterly overloaded. So much so that it took me 40 minutes to get on the net to post this. (Maybe it’s an evil censorship plan?) […]

  2. […] a two week delay (including a trip to Athens on United), no fly July has finally […]

  3. showertaker Says:

    Turns out that Funky Gourmet is the best restaurant in Athens, hands down. It may even be the best restaurant in the world.

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