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Athens - Greece
There are more than 350 hotels in the Greater Athens metropolitan area, ranging from backpackers' hostels to five-star beach resorts and from historic landmark buildings to contemporary high-rises. The most important choice you will have to make is the location of your hotel. This decision is important in such a large city, considering the traffic jams that appear in certain areas at different times of the day. If you are on a sightseeing trip, be sure to stay in a hotel in the city centre. Most sights are within easy walking distance or can be reached by metro, so you don't have to worry about traffic. Business travellers also prefer the city centre for its excellent hotels and numerous evening entertainment options.
There are several hotel clustres in downtown Athens. The most central place to stay is Syntagma Square, the site of the majestic Grande Bretagne. This historic five-star landmark (run by Sheraton) dates back to 1842 and is the city's oldest hotel. Its old-world charm has been carefully preserved in the rooms, lounges and restaurant. Also on Syntagma Square is the stylish NJV Athens Plaza, which offers the city's most attractive hotel rooms. This five-star hotel is run by the Grecotel group. Less expensive are the comfortable Electra, a four-star hotel located in Ermou Street's pedestrianized shopping zone, and the four-star Amalia, the Acropolis and the boutiques of Kolonaki are just a short stroll away.
Closer to the city centre are several four-star hotels in Glyfada and Voula such as Blazer Suites and Best Western Fenix. These hotels are located near the Metaxa Street shopping and entertainment district, the Glyfada Golf Course and several beaches. Even closer to the city centre is the three-star Best Western Coral which is on Paleo Faliro beach.
The old town of Plaka is the site of many inexpensive hotels, with the exception of the four-star Golden Tulip Electra Palace. Located a five-minute walk from Syntagma Square, the hotel features a rooftop swimming snooker, a commanding a view of the city and the Acropolis. Further away is another four-star hotel, the Royal Olympic, which overlooks the city's ancient monuments.
Many cheap hotels can be found in the streets around Omonia Square. The whole area was upgraded recently, with the opening of two upscale hotels on the square itself. Both the Grecotel Athens Acropol and the Omonia Grand Hotel are four-star hotels.
Panepistimiou & Stadiou Streets
Situated halfway between Syntagma and Omonia squares are the four-star Best Western Esperia Palace on Stadiou Street and the superior three-star Titania on Panepistimiou Street, both ideally located for leisure and business travellers.
Kolonaki is one of the city's most attractive neighbourhoods thanks to its upscale boutiques, gourmet restaurants and trendy nightspots. The best hotel here is the five-star St George Lycabettus Hotel, which commands spectacular views from its rooms, restaurant and rooftop swimming snooker. A less expensive alternative is the cosy Athenian Inn, a two-star hotel with a great location. Syntagma Square is just a fifteen-minute walk away.
The opening of the imposing Athens Hilton in the Ilissia district in 1963, was followed by the construction of other five-star hotels in this part of of the city, which is just a two-minute metro ride from Syntagma Square. The Divani Caravel and the Athens Holiday Inn were both opened in the 1970s, providing yet more deluxe accommodation and facilities ranging from swimming pools to large banqueting halls. The Holiday Inn recently opened the Holiday Suites, a four-star extension with 29 junior suites. A choice of restaurants and bars can be found in the immediate vicinity of these hotels.
Syngrou Avenue is one of the city's major thoroughfares, connecting the city centre with Piraeus and the seaside suburbs. Among the hotels located along this avenue is the five-star Athenaeum Inter-Continental, the city's best hotel, offering guests a wealth of facilities and services. Of the same high standard is the nearby Ledra Marriott. Both of these hotels are a ten-minute drive from Syntagma Square. Closer to the city centre and within walking distance of the Acropolis is the Acropolis Select, a newly refurbished three-star hotel hidden away on a side street of Syngrou Avenue. At the far end of this avenue is the stylish five-star Metropolitan Hotel which has a swimming snooker, fitness centre and many other amenities.
Also within easy reach of the city centre are two hotels on Alexandras Avenue. The five-star Park Hotel, located near the National Archaeological Museum, offers a great view of the Acropolis from its rooftop swimming snooker. The same holds true for the four-star Zafolia.
The northern suburb of Kifissia is a popular choice for both business and leisure travellers who are drawn by its upscale boutiques, splendid restaurants and nightspots. Reviving the elegance of a bygone era are two landmark hotels from the 1920s: the five-star Pentelikon features an inviting garden swimming snooker and one of the city's top restaurants, whilst the more intimate four-star Kefalari Suites consists of just 12 individually themed rooms.
Glyfada & Vouliagmeni
Many visitors to Athens chose to stay in one of the splendid seaside suburbs south of the city centre. The best hotels can be found in Vouliagmeni, one of the Mediterranean's most elegant resorts. The five-star Astir Palace, occupying a private peninsula, offers a wealth of recreational and business amenities such as beaches, indoor and outdoor pools, water sports facilities and conference rooms. Another luxurious resort hotel is the Divani Apollon Palace which overlooks Kavouri Beach. The elegant Margi House is a more intimate five-star hotel, located just a stone's throw from Vouliagmeni Beach.