Royal Olympic Hotel
28-32 Athanasiou Diakou St, Athens, Greece, 117 43
- Recommended for:
- Business travellers, Couples, Culture vultures, Families with teenagers, Mature travellers, Great views / scenery, Sightseeing, Special occasions
Expert review of Royal Olympic Hotel
Glitzy, gilded, lavish – this five-star hotel is straight out of a Middle Eastern style manual. It’s a family-run property, so the service can be patchy. But you don’t come for the interiors or the staff – you come for the magnificent views of the city’s landmarks from the roof terrace and many of the rooms.
Overlooking both the Temple of Zeus – the largest temple in Greece – and the Parthenon, the location gives the (mistaken) impression that Athens is a city of well- tended parks and perfectly preserved antiquities. Although it’s on a main road, it’s relatively quiet compared to neighbouring hotels. The new Acropolis Museum and Acropolis Metro station are just across the street, though you can pretty much walk everywhere in the city centre.
Over-the-top design will appal minimalists, but appeal to maximalists! Faux period furnishing is all brocade drapes and gold trimmings. Large beds are comfortable, but couples should beware of a preponderance of twin beds. Mottled marble bathtubs are impressive, although the plumbing can be a bit dodgy. I’d splash out on one of the 45 Athenian Panorama rooms, which have phenomenal views.
The enormous marble lobby is also over the top, with Chesterfield sofas, plump armchairs, and lavish floral arrangements. There are several seating areas to choose from, all with free (but slow) WiFi. The hotel is spread over several wings, each served by a different lift, which can make navigating the property a little tricky.
Owner Ioannis Papadimitriou has immodestly named the Ioannis rooftop bar and restaurant after himself. The fussy décor rather distracts from the glorious views. Breakfast options change daily and include plenty of Greek specialties and fresh pastries baked in-house. Dinner is an expensive affair, with a Mediterranean menu prepared by Kostas Tsigas, official chef of the Athens 2004 Olympics. I didn’t begrudge the overpriced cocktails at the rooftop bar, which has an ingenious mirrored backdrop reflecting the Temple of Zeus.The bar is open until 2am, but time your visit for the unforgettable sunset. Guests in standard (‘Executive’) rooms have to eat breakfast in the ground-floor Abbey restaurant, with an incongruous monastic-medieval design.
The decent-sized pool is tucked away in the interior courtyard, which creates a delicious sense of privacy. I especially like the cosy library stocked, with volumes on Greek history and culture, and with picture windows of the park. The gym is small and average, but a new fitness centre and spa are currently in the works.
Harried service (especially in the restaurant) is a bit of a let-down in such lavish surroundings. Unusually for a five-star property, there is no concierge.
Lovers of bling. Mostly Americans, Russians and Australians.
Stump up for a Deluxe or Athenian Panorama room. Standard rooms overlooking the pool are a little tired, especially the bathrooms, and guests don’t have access to the delightful roof terrace at breakfast. Avoid rooms close to lifts, which are noisy.
More information on Royal Olympic Hotel:
- Price from:
- 28-32 Athanasiou Diakou St, Athens, Greece, 117 43
- Free tags / Keywords:
- Acropolis views, luxury, pool, Rooftop restaurant
- Business Centre, Fitness Centre, High-Speed Internet, Parking, Restaurant, Room Service, Swimming Pool