Morning all! So I’ve just spent the last twenty minutes rewriting my travel bucket list. I’m constantly ticking places off and adding new ones. I truly feel like this is the list that never ends. Earlier this year when I had written my 2018 bucket list, Greece was at the top. Santorini to be exact, closely followed by Athens and all the other Greek Islands. So when I opened my inbox and saw that I had an email from St George Lycabettus Hotel inviting us to experience a relaxing weekend in Athens, I was beyond excited!
Arrival… Greek music and a view you can’t beat
Exhausted from our early morning flight, Luca and I grabbed our bags and made our way to the train station. I was struggling to stay awake, but at the same time, I couldn’t stop thinking “WE’RE ACTUALLY HERE!” Athens, a city I’d heard so much about, the history, the culture, the FOOD!! I couldn’t wait to start exploring. Sleep would just have to wait.
As we made our way into the city we began discussing our day’s plans. Well, that was until I heard a hum of music coming from behind us, getting noticeably louder and louder the closer it got. Turning around to locate the source, I immediately spotted an elderly man walking through the carriage with an accordion strapped to his chest, blissfully playing away. The music had such a happy and relaxing vibe to it, I absolutely loved it. What a great introduction to Athens! As he passed us, I could see he had a young boy with him (I’m guessing his son), who was holding an empty cup for passengers to put money in. The majority of people around us simply ignored the man and the boy, which made me think it’s probably quite common and an easy way for some to make money, but either way, I enjoyed the tunes.
After 30 minutes on the train we arrived at our stop, Evangelismos. As we exited the station and began the short walk to our accommodation I could feel the Athens heat pleasantly soaking into my skin. As we approached the base of the hotel, excitement filled me, as I could already see part of the Acropolis. Now if you want to live like a Greek goddess for a day and wake up to the perfect view of Athens, then St George Lycabettus Hotel is definitely the place to be.
Not only is this boutique hotel a visual treat, but it’s also historical. Perched on Athens highest vantage points, Lycabettus Hill, the hotel has been running since 1974. Mythologically, a rock carried by the goddess Athena, slipped from her hand when a crow gave her a message of bad news. Thus, creating Mount Lycabettus or Lycabettus Hill as it’s more commonly known today.
Checking In… a room with a view
It took me a whole two seconds to drop my bags and run to our balcony. I was more than eager to see what our view looked like. And let me just say, words can’t even describe how amazing it was. Because not only could I see an overview of the city, but there it was in plain site… the Acropolis. Knowing I’d be waking up to prefect views of a piece of history every morning, made me one happy woman.
Known as one of the best hotels in Athens, you can certainly feel it the minute you step into the rooms. From modern furnishings, to old photographs of Athens adorning the walls, to bathrooms with Mediterranean inspired tile work, the mix of old and new make it the perfect home away from home.
There’s a variety of rooms and suites to accommodate all budget types, but my favourite by far, is the eco room. All the furniture in these rooms are made from 100% natural materials. I’m all for helping the environment whenever I can and I love that this hotel is so luxurious whilst being environmentally friendly at the same time.
Hotel Offerings… the little extras
Before heading out for the day we wanted to check out the rest of the hotel and see what they had to offer. And well, they had all the amenities you’d expect from a luxury hotel. A rooftop pool and bar, fitness centre, spa, private screening room, and they even had their own in house art gallery! What really stood out to me though was the fitness centre. It had a specialised pilates and yoga studio, designed where one can work out individually or in private groups of 2-4 people. Now that’s the ultimate luxury.
During the day you’ll be surrounded by beautiful flowers and greenery, then at night, the hotel transforms into an urban oasis. And who can forget the spa. A blissful escape to relaxation with massages, face and body treatments, you can even choose to have it on the rooftop overlooking the city.
City Exploring… finding hidden gems
Athens is one of the world’s greatest walking cities. And just a short distance from the hotel is the neighborhood of Kolonaki. Full of cafes, restaurants and boutique shops, this area is the whole package with its al-fresco vibrancy and friendly nature of the locals.
What I loved most as we walked and ate, was finding hidden gems. Walking through small streets that didn’t look like they were going anywhere, seeing the beauty of craftsmanship in the simple yet exquisitely designed houses, it was truly amazing. We didn’t have a set itinerary for this trip, we simply went where our hearts desired at the time.
As we made our way from the city centre up to the Acropolis, I was completely mesmerised by the magnitude and detail of the ancient ruins before me. We decided not to pay the entry fee to go inside (the queue was ridiculously long), so instead we made our way to a nearby viewing point, which I found to be more than enough to satisfy my my historical hunger.
Dinner Time… authentic Mediterranean cuisine
My favourite part of our stay was definitely the food. Authentic Mediterranean flavours that melt in your mouth… mmmm I’m drooling just thinking about it. With uninterrupted views of Athens, there was no question where we were choosing to dine for our first night. Back at the hotel. As we walked through the sliding doors that emerged onto a grand outdoor terrace, with Athens illuminated in the background, and sun setting over the Acropolis, there was truly no better place to be.
Each dish we ordered was better than the next. Even the salad tasted out of this world. From the incredible flavour combinations of each dish to the friendly staff, it was by far my favourite dining experience in Athens. If I could go back in time just to have this food again, I would!
Day Two… breakfast with a view
After getting up early to watch the sunrise over the city, it was time for breakfast. Hotel breakfast are usually the thing I look forward to the least during my trips away, simply because I find them to be average and uninspiring. I try and go to local cafes instead, but since our dinner was so amazing, we thought we’d give breakfast a go.
And I’m so glad we did! To date, it’s the best hotel breakfast I’ve ever had. Filling my plate with an abundance of pastries, fruit, bread and hot items like eggs, I sat down with the the most breathtaking view in front of me. There is no other stay in Athens with such impressive, sweeping views of the city, that reach out far to the Attica coast and the port of Piraeus.
More Exploring… markets, cafes and onto Cyprus
As this trip was only a weekend one for us, a stopover on our way to Cyprus, we wanted to make the most of it. So that meant more exploring and enjoying the sunshine as much as we could. We again, had no set plans, so just wondered the streets and were pleasantly surprised when we came across a local market. From paintings and clothing, to jewellery and handcrafted pottery, it seemed to have a bit of everything. I very rarely buy things at markets (usually because I never have cash on me) but I do love to look!
The rest of the day consisted of cafe time, taking way too many photos, and soaking up the sun, before we headed back to the airport. Between our stay at St George Lycabettus Hotel and the natural beauty that is Athens, our trip to Greece exceeded my expectations. Next up for us is Cyprus and if Athens is anything to go by, I know it will be incredible!
Special thank you to St George Lycabettus Hotel for making my visit possible and providing an incredible experience for my first time in Athens – as always my opinions are my own.