There are a handful of luxury hotels around the world that are synonymous with the cities in which they are located and the Hotel Grande Bretagne, Athens is one of those. Standing grandly across from the Greek Parliament at Syntagma Square, this elegant hotel opened in 1874 and has witnessed the tumultuous history of Greece, surviving to see the famous Evzones (elite Greek National Guard) change guard and to look up at the Acropolis and its famous Parthenon, perhaps the city’s most powerful emblem.
Seven stories high and today offering 320 rooms and 58 suites, the Hotel Grand Bretagne exudes old world charm and classicism, with suite guests and rooms on the six and seventh floor enjoying butler service. There are seven restaurants, lounges and bars on site with one of the most popular being the GB Roof Garden Restaurant with magnificent views over the city and the Acropolis, whilst another is the Winter Garden City Lounge with its classic columns and stained-glass roof, the perfect place to enjoy Afternoon Tea.
For pampering, head to the award-winning GB Spa for a myriad of treatments, wraps and massages alongside manicures and pedicures. The Spa also includes an Amethyst Grotto, Herbal Steam Baths, Saunas, a Laconium for relaxation, an Ice Fountain, a Serail Mud Chamber and Foot Spa Reflexology. Other facilities include the GB Hair Spa & Nail Salon and Barber Corner. For those who like to work out whilst travelling, there is a fully equipped Fitness Centre and both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool.
Situated right in the heart of Europe’s oldest capital on Syntagma Square, the Hotel Grande Bretagne enjoys spectacular views of the fabled Acropolis, Parliament, Lycabettus Hill and the original Olympic Stadium. The property is within easy walking distance of both exclusive shopping and the business districts whilst museums are also within easy reach.
For those who would like to experience the vast history of Athens on foot, there are a number of tours available with professional guides or perhaps an Athens Food Tour would be more to your taste. Beyond Athens, it is possible to drive along the coastal roads, past sandy coves and lovely beaches, to Cape Sounion and the spectacular Temple of Poseidon; sail off to Hydra, Poros and Aegina, tour Delphi or visit Argolis, Mycenae and the ancient theatre of Asklepios at Epidaurus, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Other ancient attractions include Lycabettus Hill now thankfully with a funicular railway; the Thission, one of the most intact temples of ancient Greece; the most famous Agora in Green at the foot of the Acropolis; the Zappeion – the first building constructed to serve Olympic needs; the Panathenaic Stadium – the first Olympic Stadium of Athens built in 330 BC and used for the first Modern Olympic Games in 1896; the Temple of Zeus, 700 metres south of Syntagma Square and the Acropolis.
Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (ATH) lies around 35 kilometres south, a 30-minute road journey or the state-of-the-art public metro system offers a convenient service between the airport, coming close by the hotel. It is worth noting that each of the three train lines of the metro system feature extraordinary antiques and archeological remnants from the city’s excavations so are well worth a visit. The nearest station to the property is Syntagma Station. For drivers, there is ample parking off-site.
Elegant and classic is the best way to describe the décor of the guest accommodation at the Hotel Grand Bretagne. The property is packed full of sumptuous fabrics, gilt armchairs, antique furnishings and original artwork with modern technology on hand, just taking a back seat.
Every guest room enjoys The Luxury Collection Bed; floor to ceiling windows framed by heavy draped curtains; opulent marble en suite bathrooms and views out over Acropolis Hill and Syntagma Square. There are well stocked minibars; bottles of water; flat screen televisions with satellite channels; CD stereos; iPod docks; in room safes; kettle and tea facilities; Espresso coffee machines; hairdryers; ironing boards and irons.
Guest rooms (25 – 30 square metres) follow a similar design plan with a neutral cream and gold colour scheme, high ceilings, decorative features, swagged curtains and marble bathrooms with Gilchrist & Soames products. Views are of the courtyard, the city or the Acropolis with some rooms featuring balconies.
The 6th and 7th floors are designated butler floors and together with every suite, feature personalised butler service with an expedited check-in on the sixth floor with a welcome drink offers on arrival.
There are eight suite categories at the Hotel Grande Bretagne ranging in size from 40 square metres to 400 square metres including four premier categories – the Executive Acropolis Suites, a Penthouse, a Presidential and a Royal Suite.
The 55 square metre Executive Acropolis Suites are located on the sixth and seventh floors and feature extensive private terraces and outdoor seating looking out over Athens’ historic landmarks. Featuring cream and gold colour schemes, these suites feature a mix of antiques, silks, heavy draped curtains and custom designed armoires housing televisions. The marble bathrooms have separate walk-in rainfall showers with steam features, deep bathtubs with twin vanities and Acqua di Parma bath products.
The 350 square metre Two Bedroom Penthouse Suite features a large outdoor terrace with its own infinity pool with sun loungers, parasols and al fresco dining for up to ten guests, looking out over the Parthenon and the urban cityscape. With floor to ceiling windows flooding the suite with daylight, there is also a spacious living room replete with antiques and oriental rugs, a fireplace and a dining room seating up to eight people with a private kitchen close by. Both bedrooms feature The Luxury Collection King Bed and are furnished with antiques and luxurious fabrics with the ensuites enjoying sunken tubs. Each of the three marble bathrooms feature rainfall showers and twin vanities.
The 200 square metre Presidential Suite is suitably impressive with intricate panelling, columns; inlaid parquet floors; extravagantly luxurious silk drape curtains; crystal chandeliers and antiques galore. There are velvet and gilt armchairs, plump sofas, a dining room accommodating up to 12 guests with a pantry and kitchen available for a private chef. There is an original marble fireplace in the master bedroom with a master control panel controlling the entertainment centre, curtains and lighting. The black marble bathroom has a large massage jet bathtub with a separate steam room and rainfall shower. There are twin vanities plus Acqua di Parma bath products on hand alongside plush bathrobes, towels and slippers.
If you are planning to live it large in Athens, then the Hotel Grande Bretagne features the only Royal Suite in town, spread out over 400 square metres on the hotel’s fifth floor. Sumptuously decorated in silks and luxury fabrics and featuring intricate cornicing and museum calibre furnishings, the Royal Suite offers a spacious master bedroom with walk-in closets and a separate dressing room; a private sitting room; a private gym with LifeFitness equipment and a sauna a; media room; a dining room seating up to 14 guests comfortably and a beautiful living room filled with remarkable antiques, crystal chandeliers, original artworks and a grand piano. The master bathroom is its own tour de force with a centrepiece bathtub with massage jets, a separate steam shower, twin vanities, a flat screen television and Acqua di Parma bath products. Exclusive to Royal Suite guests, there is access to a well-stocked wine cellar with a choice of over 300 vintages and a traditional humidor for cigar lovers. Obviously, there are views out over the city from every vantage point and balcony.
The Hotel Grande Bretagne is part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection who work with Luggage Forward, allowing luggage to be forwarded to the property waiting for their arrival. The service includes storage and an unpacking and packing service.
For pampering, try out the urban GB Spa offering a wide range of treatments, wraps, facials and massages either in suite or in the spa area. For looking your best, the hotel also offers the GB Hair Spa & Nail Salon for makeup services, self-tanning, mani-pedis, waxing and hair styling & treatments and Barber Corner. Other facilities include a Fitness Studio for hotel guests only with a variety of cardiovascular and resistance equipment, an ESPA couple’s suite, the Amethyst Grotto with Eucalyptus oils to help with colds, a Herbal Steam Bath, Sauna, Laconium for relaxation, an invigorating Ice Fountain, Foot Spa Reflexology to revive tired legs, a relaxation room and a Serail Mud Chamber. Products used are from the Swiss brand Valmont for face treatments and ESPA.
For fitness, there are both indoor and outdoor swimming pools at the Hotel Grande Bretagne. The 65 square metre indoor salt-water heated pool is situated within the spa area, a serene space for laps whilst the other 50 square metre pool is on the seventh-floor rooftop with picture perfect views of Athens in the summer months.
The Lobby Shop offers a range of items including jewellery, clothing and knickknacks as well newspapers and magasines alongside a selection of hotel branded private label items including honeys, marmalades, body oils, fragrances and more.
The GB Corner Gifts and Flavours offers an authentic range of GB Products, clothing from noted brand Zeus + Dione and an exclusive variety of delicacies by French Pastry Chef Arnaud Larher.
For golfers, the Glyfada Golf Club of Athens is 16.3 kilometres away
The Hotel Grande Bretagne is aptly named as it is very, very grand from its imposing façade which just cannot be ignored right through to its spacious, marble floored lobby with its custom rugs, Doric columns, antiques and artworks. It is so special that, due to public demand, they even run “museum tours” of the property.
Through its doors, the great and the good have come – and continue to come - from royalty, diplomats and statesmen to celebrities, musicians and film stars, keen to experience its unbeatable location, facilities and welcoming service. When the Olympic Games were revived for the first time in 1896, where else would the dignitaries stay? Built as a rich man’s extravagant private residence, gradually evolving over time into its current structure, the Hotel Grande Bretagne is one of those handful of hotels where you never need to add a geographic location, it is known simply by its name – because everyone knows that it is the most famous hotel in Athens.
Imagine sitting on the terrace of the GB Roof Garden restaurant and looking out from the modern world back to ancient Greece and the city’s Acropolis and Parthenon lit up and silhouetted against the night sky. This has to be the best view of any restaurant, anywhere.
Located on the eighth floor with floor to ceiling openings allowing unfettered access to the monument, Lycabettus Hill and the Greek Parliament at Syntagma Square, the menus devised by Executive Chef Asterios Koustoudis follow a Mediterranean theme with the freshest ingredients used well by imaginative hands.
The Winter Garden City Lounge by contrast is an elegant space of Edwardian style, situated next to the lobby. With patterned marble floors and imposing columns lending a pleasing symmetry to the space, the overhead stained-glass ceiling and greenery add a graceful style to enjoy light bites, restorative beverages or Afternoon Tea, served on the finest porcelain, with polished silverware and glittering crystal glasses. Lucky locals can also take home a Tea Me Away takeaway tea.
The 18th century tapestry of Alexander the Great’s entrance into Gavgamila is the highlight of Alexander’s Bar, hung behind the long black marble counter, a stream of premium spirits on display, many exclusive to the Hotel Grande Bretagne. The drinks menu includes rare choices such as a single malt Macallan series from 1937, 1940, 1952, 1969, 1973 and the Louis XIII Black Pearl edition. There is also a complete range of Hennessey cognacs with the bartenders happy to blend any exotic or classic cocktail – nothing fazes them. Try the signature cocktail – Mandarin Napoleon Select – a blend of Dubonnet Rouge, Grand Marnier, gin, and Sicilian tangerine oil.
For cigar lovers, head to Alexander’s Cigar Lounge, located in the inner garden of the hotel, the perfect place to enjoy fine cigars, wines, and liquors. Alternatively, The Atrium of Alexander’s Lounge is a hidden garden oasis filled with olive trees, laurels, cypress trees and flowers, perfect for summer drinks and a light snack of tacos or nachos, inspired by Latin America.
The seventh floor GB Pool Bar & Grill operates a Greek menu during the summer months from April to October, offering cityscape views of Lycabettus Hill and shady pergolas with surrounding aromatic plants alongside the deep blue pool. The venue also shows vintage cinematic greats and blockbusters accompanied by popcorn, ice creams, wraps, pizzas and drinks. For a laid-back vibe, head to the hotel’s Bar 8 for al fresco drinks overlooking Lycabettus Hill and Athens, perhaps trying one of the eight different versions of the classic Martini.
For atmospheric wine tastings, try The Wine Library located on the mezzanine floor with wooden “bookcases” showcasing all of the hotel’s 3,500 wine labels.
The Hotel Grande Bretagne is committed to operating as a socially responsible organisation. Since 2006, the hotel has been actively recycling; renovated the third floor of the property in a “green” manner, making these rooms more earth friendly with organic amenities on offer; uses only biodegradable chemicals for cleaning, has installed low wattage, energy saving lighting throughout the hotel and uses natural gas for cooking in the kitchens. The property also uses renewable energy sources wherever possible.
The Hotel Grande Bretagne participates within the “Green Room” initiative of Marriott International, allowing guests to be active participants in sustainability and as an extension of the brand’s community programme, has participated in tree planting initiatives in conjunction with partners such as SKAI. They also help with beach cleaning on a regular basis and other far-reaching programmes, supporting UNICEF and numerous other fund-raising events in the city. They also operate a new generation programme internship programme employing between 20 to 30 young people each season.
BusinessClass.com helps you find the best rates for any hotel by comparing the prices of all leading hotel suppliers in a single search. Find the best rates for the Hotel Grande Bretagne by searching at the top of this page.