Astir Palace Resort

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Address: 40 Apollonos Street, Vouliagmeni, Athens, 166 71, Greece

Star rating:
5 star hotel

4.5

Exclusive seaside resort popular with the Athenian jetset.

This is where I’d stay if I wanted to escape from the frantic pace of Athens for a day without the hassle of travelling anywhere. This luxury seaside complex was the setting for countless black and white Greek movies in the 1960s. After a €70 million makeover by Starwood, the Astir Palace is a technicolour vision of contemporary coastal glamour. The resort combines three five-star hotels: the Westin Athens, the Arion Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, and 58 fabulous beach bungalows. My favourite are the private (and very exclusive) bungalows, which were classily renovated in 2008. (The rest of the resort has been gradually getting a makeover since 2003.) Greece's first W hotel is due to open here in 2012 - although the original opening date was scheduled for 2004! 

Location
4.6
90%
Eating/drinking
4.3
90%
Leisure facilities
4.3
90%
Service
3.9
90%
Value for money
3.8
90%
Bedrooms
4.4
90%
Public areas
4.4
90%

Location

A prime slice of the Athenian Riviera on a pine-fringed peninsula overlooking Vouliagmeni marina and Kavouri bay. But it’s a 45-minute drive to the city centre outside rush hour.

Bedrooms

Most rooms have astonishing sea views. Some have bathtubs with glass windows so you can wallow in the endless blue horizon. The glossy, chain-hotel interiors jar slightly with the original 1960s architecture, but it’s a big improvement on the tired spaces before the renovation. If money is no object, book a beach bungalow – glamorous open-plan suites in natural tones and nautical stripes. 12 of the bungalows have their own plunge pools if you can’t be bothered to trot down to the private beach.

Public areas

Gleaming marble lobbies, buzzing pool and beach bars, and various seaside terraces.

Eating and drinking

Half a dozen restaurants and bars are scattered around the resort, from Polynesian cuisine to continental buffets. Matsuhisa Athens, designed by David Rockwell, has been Athens’ hottest summer spot for dinner since opening in 2009. The cocktails are almost as spectacular as the sunsets.

Leisure facilities

Three private beaches, a fitness centre, water-sports galore, and four floodlit tennis courts. I’m a big fan of the Anne Semonin facials in the Arion spa, with six treatment rooms and a hydrotherapy pool overlooking the bay. There's a kids club but, bizarrely, even guests have to pay to access it.

Service

Inconsistent and occasionally offhand –a hangover from the hotel’s days as a Xenia property run by the Greek National Tourist Organisation, when the staff were notoriously rude.

Who stays there

Back in the 1960s, Sinatra, Onassis, and Bardot frolicked here. These days you are more likely to find ship-owners, socialites and honeymooners.

Amenities

  • Business Centre
  • Fitness Centre
  • High-Speed Internet
  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restaurant
  • Room Service
  • Swimming Pool

Recommended for

  • Couples
  • Families with teenagers
  • Honeymooners
  • Sporty types
  • Escaping the crowds
  • Great views / scenery
  • Romance
  • Chilling out

Pros & Cons

  • Feel like you’re on an island without leaving the city
  • Right on the sandy beach
  • Majestic sunsets
  • Wedding parties can disrupt the tranquillity
  • 25km from the city centre
  • Service is a mixed bag
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