The ancient city of Athens should be on any history and architecture buff’s bucket list. Ditto if you love food and wine, and specifically the cuisine of Greece. Athens is the seventh largest city in Europe, yet it is notably bereft of true boutique luxury hotels, with one alluring exception: A77 Suites by Andronis.
The assemblage of A-list accommodations is a member of of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) network, a collection of more than 500 small, independently-owned, exclusive hotels in more than 90 countries, known for their elegant accommodations, award-winning spas, and acclaimed dining venues, each one utterly one-of-a-kind.
A77 Suites occupies a prime position in historic Plaka, the desirable neighborhood lying in the shadow of the Acropolis, the ancient, iconic citadel the presides over the city. The building housing A77 Suites dates back to the early 19th century and boasts high ceilings, blue-painted shutters and classical Greek motifs and other architectural details denoting that it once belonged to one of the city’s wealthiest families.
“The charm of old Athens is still palpable today, coming through in every little corner and every little nook of Plaka’s alleyways,” the hotel notes. “᾽Plaka᾽ literally means marble slab in modern Greek, and the etymology of the area’s has been a subject of controversy amongst historians. According to popular opinion Plaka was named after the word ‘old’ in a long-standing yet almost extinct dialect.”
A77 Suites’ neoclassical building, which now houses the city’s chicest clothing boutique on its ground floor, has been restored to its former glory and transformed into a “state-of-the-art collection of luxurious suites that boast minimalist design and exquisite materials…. characterized by exceptional finesse and embodying the everlasting Athenian aesthetic.”
The interiors feature marble, wood, and brass decorative elements complimenting the architectural elements and molding, while an array of modern art provides contrast and a touch of contemporary flair. There are 12 luxury suites in all, designed to be an “urban sanctuary that immerses you into a tale of tangible history” and “revives the city’s neoclassical soul.”
In addition to “bridging the past and present of Athens,” A77 Suites also “aspires to fully embody the ancient Greek hospitality ideal which prescribed that hosting guests must be both a pleasure and duty.” Hence they are treated not as strangers, “but with heartfelt care as if they were the closest of friends.”
Our two favorite suites are the Iconic Suite and Courtyard Suite. The former has a large private outdoor terrace, fully furnished and complete with Jacuzzi with sensational views of the Acropolis, something numerous suites in the collection can lay claim to; though gazing upon the ancient edifice from a hot tub is not to be missed. The walk-in rain shower isn’t half bad either.
The Courtyard Suite meanwhile with its stone walls and floors and wooden beamed ceiling gives the feeling of inhabiting a true time capsule of antiquity. It features a spacious furnished courtyard that acts as an outdoor living room, that opens from the main room to give an aura of expansive comfort and privacy. And it too has a walk-in rain shower.
Yes Athens has large, crowded luxury hotels with all the five-star amenities you’d expect. But none of them has the elegance, charm and feel of visiting a private residence that A77 Suites offers so adeptly. And it’s place in Plaka means that all of the city’s best restaurants and shops are a literal stone’s throw away.
Cocktails in the courtyard, anyone…?