Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Athens
What We Love
- Seventh-floor pool terrace and rooftop bar and restaurant, supplying guests with views of the Acropolis
- Convenient location on Athens’s central Syntagma (Constitution) Square, within walking distance of many top sights and steps from the metro
- Extensive spa facilities, including an ample Life Fitness gym and heated indoor pool
- READ MORE: A vacation guide to the Greek Islands
What To Know
- High-speed Internet costs 16 euros a day, 25 euros for two days and 35 euros for a week
- The seasonal outdoor pool and its surrounding terrace are open from April to October only
- The classic, opulent design, while tasteful, may not be to the liking of those who prefer a more modern aesthetic
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Kids Club
- Room Service
This historic hotel in the capital of the Western world’s first empire impresses with its grandeur. The marble-clad exterior gives way to a vast, white-columned lobby, its floors covered with intricate marble inlay and its walls adorned with gilt mirrors and oil paintings. Just beyond, natural light floods a palm court, while upstairs the plush materials (silk, damask, velvet and the like) in the 320 guestrooms and suites wouldn’t be out of place in a regal residence — which is appropriate, as the hotel was originally built in the middle of the 19th century as the Athens home of an aristocratic Greek family.
Bed and Bath
Decorated in a palette of creams, pale yellows and warm taupes, the Grand Bretagne’s rooms feel stately, with silk swag drapes, crystal chandeliers and historical prints and maps hanging on the walls. Each room also includes brass-fitted end tables and a desk, and a combined wardrobe and television cabinet (some also have small step-out balconies). In the bathrooms, marble is the material of choice, from wall to wall and floor to ceiling; you’ll also find a separate shower and tub, as well as products from the British brand Gilchrist & Soames.
The splurge-worthy spa includes a heated indoor pool and Life Fitness equipment in the gym. But the pièce de résistance is the rooftop outdoor pool, which is surrounded by cushioned lounge chairs on a perfectly private landscaped terrace, and the rooftop alfresco bar and restaurant, which offer views of the ancient city sights. A cigar bar and business center, hair salon and gift shop round out the appeal.
In the Area
Sitting right on centrally located Syntagma (Constitution) Square, the hotel is less than a 15-minute walk from the Acropolis Museum, with the ruins of the Parthenon itself just beyond. Even closer to the hotel are the National Gardens, presidential palace and the offices of the prime minister. As for shopping, guests are a short walk from Voukourestiou Street, where the boutiques from the major international brands are, and about 15 minutes from Kolonaki, the city’s high street. Bars and restaurants abound, and because the hotel is near one of the main metro stops, the rest of the city is easy to access too.
How to Get There
Wonderful three nights at the hotel Grande Bretagne. Breathtaking views of the acropolis from the rooftop restaurant. Staff are wonderfully accomodating and the cocktails in the cigar lounge are brilliantly crafted. The location is great too with museums and restaurants just a short walk away. Highly recommended.
We stayed here for four nights and really enjoyed it. Although the room decoration was rather ornate, it was beautifully done, very comfortable, enough plugs, nespresso machine, tea making facilities and large bathroom. Our room also had a balcony. Breakfast in the rooftop dining room was excellent with a great view of the Acropolis. We also ate dinner there twice and it was great. The service everywhere in the hotel was impeccable. Great!
More about the headline below.
We did two stays at the Hotel Grand Bretagne. The first was an overnight stay before beginning a Silversea cruise. The second a two day stay after the cruise to see a bit of Athens. We stayed in an Executive Acropolis Suite on the second stay and a room whose title I don't know on the first stay. The Executive Acropolis Suite is lovely, with furnishings consistent with the style of the hotel. The balcony is generously sized.
The strength of the hotel was service. You will need to use the do not disturb sign if you want to take a nap. There was a man who replaced the roses. Another man who serviced the Nespresso machine. Another man who replaced any of the chocolates and water you might have eaten or drank. Housekeeping was there as soon as you left in the morning, and as soon as you left for dinner. We were welcomed with a complimentary bottle of wine.
Hotel is beautiful, well maintained and in a perfect location. Employees are uniformly profession, speak English, and are helpful. The bellmen at the front door were ready with a taxi when you need one.
We tried both room service and the restaurant. Both were terrific with great food beautifully and professionally presented.
I do have a suggestion for Marriott. Improve your room descriptions. I think it would lead to upgrades. It would have with us. We are somewhat price indifferent to get what we want. But by the same token, we don’t like paying more than we should for no incremental value. We were unsuccessful in balancing those competing values in booking this reservation, based on the room descriptions on Marriott’s website.
Let me backup to level set and describe two disappointments we experienced in the last six months. We had booked the Behren Suite at Hotel de Rome in Berlin. The room itself was wonderful, but service was horrid. And the restaurant was a disaster.
Then we went to the Fairmont San Francisco and rented their Cambridge Suite. Another disaster. The room was huge, but was decorated as early starter home, and service was once again abysmal. Room service breakfast was at least good.
Anyway, our takeaway is that if you move up the food chain unnecessarily, the deliverables probably won’t match your expectations. So, we have decided to stop renting rooms just because they cost more. Our needs on this trip were as follows: the night before our cruise, we were arriving at the hotel after 6:00 pm and leaving first thing in the morning, so all we needed was a bedroom. But since it was our first trip to Athens, we wanted a view of the Acropolis. A room described as a Deluxe Acropolis room sounded exactly like what we needed. We were shocked when we got to the room, and the Acropolis was nowhere to be seen. Apparently, we needed a butler room (I think--it is still not clear to me) to see the Acropolis. We didn’t need a butler for a stay of a few hours, so it never occurred to us to rent that room. Guys, the expression is “under promise and over deliver,” not the reverse. If the website had been clear, we would have rented the room we wanted, instead of the disappointing room. Everything worked out in the end, but our frustration could have been avoided if we had not been misled by the deceptive name, Deluxe Acropolis Room.
For our two night stay we needed a suite. So, applying the lessons we learned in Berlin and San Francisco, we rented the Grand Acropolis Suite. If we had known that what we really wanted was an Executive Acropolis Suite, we would have rented that room. Again, everything worked out. But once again, why didn’t Marriott make this easy, instead of confusing.
In the end everything was to our satisfaction (and then some), but we would have preferred to simply checked-in and been delighted. Now, unfortunately, when renting rooms in the Luxury Collection, we will be leery.
We will unquestionably return to Bretagne on our next visit to Athens (although, rather than throwing darts with my eyes covered on room selection, I will call the hotel and describe what I want for advice on the room to rent).