Athenaeum InterContinental Athens
89-93 Syngrou Avenue, Athens, Greece, 11745
- Recommended for:
- Business travellers, Foodies, Mature travellers, Singles, Art, No fuss
Expert review of Athenaeum InterContinental Athens
Despite its unpromising location on an unattractive highway linking the city centre and the coast, this is a cut above your average international hotel chain. I don't know of any other Intercontinental where you can find a giant fluorescent blue man doing a cartwheel in the lobby. But owner Dakis Ioannou also happens to be one of Greece's most prominent and provocative collectors of contemporary art. The 350 art works maybe cutting edge, but safe bedrooms and plenty of business facilities are designed to appeal more to corporate travellers.
The view over the roaring traffic cruising along Syngrou Avenue ain't pretty. But top-floor rooms do have distant views of the Parthenon or the sea. It's only a ten-minute drive to the city centre or the sea, and there's a metro not too far away.
Even standard rooms are generous in size - although not all of them have been renovated. I wouldn't bother paying the premium for the blue-hued Club Rooms on the 8th and 9th floors, unless access to the (bland) private business lounge is essential. Instead, I'd ask for one of the newly renovated (autumn 2010) Deluxe rooms, which feel fresher and more modern. All rooms have free, fast wi-fi.
Although the chef seems to change with surprising frequency, the 10th floor Premiere restaurant has consistently won Greek gourmet awards since it opened in 2006. Typical dishes are sea bass with ratatouille, chorizo, and parsley pesto, grouper on leek chutney with citrus vinaigrette, roast suckling pig with caramelised roots and oregano gravy, and almond tart with cherry and mango sorbet. But it's not cheap - set menus start from 60 euros for three courses to 100 euros for five courses (without wine - there are over 500 labels to choose from). Simpler and more affordable Mediterranean fare is served in cafezoe - a bright, sleek space designed by Tony Chi, which doubles as the breakfast room. The enormous breakfast buffet features over 100 items, including lots of local products. I can't resist the loukoumades (miniature doughnuts dipped in honey) - although hardly a healthy start to the day. Snacks and drinks are served all day in the Cafe Vienna lobby lounge and pool bar. Tobar is small, dimly lit space with a retro-futuristic decor that doesn't quite work.
You get much more extensive sports and spa facilities than most hotels in Athens. There's a glossy 140 square-metre gym with Technogym equipment, an outdoor pool (open May - Oct 9am-8pm), plus a glamorous I-Spa with a holistic ethos and Asian-inspired design. Treatments range from Thai massage to Monoi-flower facials and marine-based Phytomer body-wraps.
Refreshingly, the Intercontinental seems almost over-staffed (whereas most Athenian hotels are understaffed). Service is generally polished, occasionally patchy.
Mainly business travellers and middle-aged Americans, peppered with the occasional artist (like the Brazilian Campana brothers, who are designing Ioannou's trendier New Hotel in Syntagma Square.)
Since the hotel caters mainly to business travellers, you can often get very competitive weekend packages.
The supplement for Club rooms is usually around 50-70 euros, depending on seasonal availability.
More information on Athenaeum InterContinental Athens:
- Price from:
- 89-93 Syngrou Avenue, Athens, Greece, 11745
- Free tags / Keywords:
- Modern art collection, business, Spa, fine dining
- Business Centre, Fitness Centre, High-Speed Internet, Parking, Pets Allowed, Restaurant, Room Service, Swimming Pool
- Syngrou Avenue