Ah, Athens! Antiquity, mythology, architecture, culture, and democracy! Most all of it started in this magnificent city, and when you visit here, you’ll need to be centrally located in order to see everything Athens has in store.
Syntagma Square is the center of Athens, totally restored, with a brand new underground metro system waiting just below the surface… the best way to take you anywhere in style! When you come to Syntagma Square, bring a coin, toss it in the fountain and make a wish. They say that if you do that, someday you’ll come back to Athens! Or… was that the Trevi Fountain in Rome? Facing the square, the Parliament House is where to see the Changing of the Guard every hour… but Sundays are when the real show happens! It’s a full parade.
Also on the square, is one of the most historical buildings in Athens… here, anyone who’s anyone has walked through the front door! The Grande Bretagne Hotel has been the most luxurious hotel in Athens for over a century, hosting almost every celebrity and world leader to visit Greece for decades.
With its location on Syntagma Square, next to the Parliament Building, the last hundred years of Greek history has literally unfolded at the doorstep of the Grand Bretagne. This hotel opened its doors in 1872. It was originally a private residence, and then it grew into a hotel of about 380 rooms.
It has been opened continuously since 1872, other than the 14 months it had to be closed during renovations. The history of this hotel has been one of those histories that represents the history of Greece because they’ve had governments that have stayed here, temporary governments, royalty, even the German and British armies have had their headquarters here during war time.
With the start of a new millennium, the Grand Bretagne, once again, leads the pack. The total restoration included not only the cosmetic refurbishment, but the addition of amenities, services facilities and in-room technology that will take the hotel well into the future.
They were very careful to restore this hotel by modernizing the amenities that the traveler of today needs, as well as, by maintaining the classical values of this hotel, which is the history, and the architecture. So when you walk around the hotel, you will find the lobby, or large royal suite which has antiques representing the period of the history of the hotel to the modern spa downstairs, to the very ornate Royal Suite fit for the VIP’s that come here.
The Royal Suite is one of the few similarly named suites that have actually hosted members of royalty from around the world. Authentic antiques provide an elegant backdrop for meetings or receptions, with a bedroom that’s not only elegant but exceptionally comfortable. And, if you’ve ever seen a bathroom fit for a king, this would definitely be the one! Not to mention a blue marble soaking tub that any queen would envy!
Each of the hotel’s 35 suites are perfect for entertaining or relaxing, each with flat screen TV’s and large separate parlors. Soundproof guestrooms and suites offer all the comforts and amenities of any five star-plus hotel, with the latest in room electronic controls for air conditioning, television and draperies.
Traditional décor is in keeping with the historical restoration, but with the latest technology for in-room convenience. Each room has direct dial phones with high speed internet connections, interactive televisions with international satellite channels, and fully stocked minibar refrigerators. Marble bathrooms are new and modern, with terrycloth bathrobes, hairdryers, and complimentary Hermes toiletries.
The Royal Orleans also offers the Touche Bar, the classic neighborhood bar on Royal Street, where both food and drinks are served. I say try a famous New Orleans Bloody Mary with hot beans… You’re gonna love it!
The hotel was totally restored for the Olympics, and you won’t believe the spa they have here now. It’s incredible! They took a different approach from most spas. They are more of the holistic more body and soul rejuvenation than catering to luxury. Part of the pool area has what is called the heat experience, which contains different rooms that are not your typical sauna or steam rooms.
Also, part of the spa has a small atrium, an open air atrium, actually, that gives you the feeling that you are in an outdoor environment rather than indoor, even though you are in the middle of the city. Massages and treatments are available and a great way to combat fatigue or jet lag, but the highlight is the pool, with its high tech lighting that recreates the day from dawn to dusk… both overhead and underwater. A whirlpool is located at one end, as is the “water environment” simulating water massages, like tropical rain and snow showers.
Once rejuvenated, you can take advantage of the hotel’s dining options. They have three restaurants presently, the first has existed for the last one hundred something years and makes up the corner of the hotel. And, the name? The Hotel Bretagne Corner Restaurant, or the HB Corner, for short.
It’s a French brasserie and it, too, was restored to its old glory. The GB Corner is famous not only for its unique ambience and excellent Mediterranean cuisine, but also for its clientele. Highly renowned Athenians meet here to partake in GB Corner’s refined environment, complete with its luxurious yet functional lighting and the unique comfort afforded by perfectly designed chairs and dinner tables arranged to allow privacy in crowd.
The GB Corner sets the standards against which people measure the best of Athens eateries. The hotel’s signature restaurant, it boasts a sophisticated, yet lively, atmosphere. Much of the mood stems from its 1900 art-deco interior design, which is essentially elegant in style and a delightful reminder of such a charming era. The GB Corner is the ultimate Mediterranean experience in a truly historic city. This is THE place to be seen in Athens.
They have an open atrium restaurant on the main floor, known as the Winter Garden, featuring lighter fare and breakfasts, located next to their ground floor bar. Their bar is one of the most fashionable places for cocktails in Athens, and serves top quality spirits and cigars.
But the best spot for dining isn’t in the hotel… it’s on top of it! The most beautiful and romantic spot in Athens is the Roof Garden Restaurant at the Grand Bretagne… what a view! This is the spot you’ll want to spend at least one evening… incredible!
Unparalleled in the capital, this magnificent roof-top restaurant, with contemporary design, provides breathtaking city views. Stunning vistas summon up a totally relaxing ambience for breakfast and dinner year round. The restaurant re-opened in June 2006, following a complete renovation. Grilled steaks, fresh seafood and the very noblest of Mediterranean cuisine are served, and guests savor the experience of watching the sun set majestically behind the ancient Acropolis, firing the imagination to thoughts of a truly classical age as they consume divine food, fit for a god!
Athens is a fabulous city… always has been… But I think you’ll agree with me… now… it’s even better! Staying at the Grand Bretagne gives you the best of the best of Athens, in history, architecture and wonderful accommodations.