Leafy, affluent Kifissia, about 45-minutes’ drive from downtown Athens, brims with expensive boutiques and restaurants. The northern suburbs are a business hub, so this is a handy location for corporate trips – less convenient for leisure travellers.
With symbols instead of room numbers, flip-flops instead of slippers, coloured glass pods instead of bathrooms, the 51 candy-coloured rooms are anything but conventional. Karim Rashid designed everything from the pink marshmallow armchairs to the psychedelic carpets. The coloured glass windows and panels around the bathrooms make you feel a little exposed. Beds are super comfortable and you can adjust the lighting to suit your mood (if you can figure out all the knobs).
The horizontal lobby is a ripple of black sofas shaped like pouting lips. In the retro-futuristic restaurant, a star-studded ‘Belly’ protrudes from the ceiling above a life-size self-portrait of artist Jeff Koons fondling his ex-wife, porn star Cicciolina.
Eating and drinking
In the poolside bar, you can stare at sunbathing babes and eye-popping art while sipping signature cocktails like Tequilitos (tequila, Cointreau, orange and pink grapefruit) and Frozen Alexanders. The trendy restaurant fuses Mediterranean dishes with Asian flavours – polenta-crusted shrimp souvlaki, salmon with citrus couscous, and galaktoboureko (fyllo pastry filled with warm custard and served with apricot sorbet). The Semiramis recently introduced a Sunday brunch menu (1-4.30pm), which is a hit with locals. It's not cheap at 35 euros, but you do get a Mimosa or a Bellini with your waffles and bagels.
There’s a well-equipped gym with a steam room if you can peel yourself off the sun-loungers around the colourful, kidney-shaped pool. The papaya shakes at the pool bar are addictive.
Even the young, keen, casually dressed staff sometimes find all the gizmos and gimmicks confusing.
Who stays there
Adventurous business travellers rub shoulders with fashionistas and the occasional scary celebrity (Naomi Campbell and Björk have stayed).
It's worth paying the extra charge for a pool bungalow, with a private patio for secluded sunbathing.
- Business Centre
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Business travellers
- Families with teenagers
- Seasoned travellers
- Stag / hen parties
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- A real buzz in the restaurant and pool bar
- The art collection is museum quality
- A schlep from the city centre
- Coloured glass walls compromise privacy
- All those lurid hues can wear you down