One of the latest additions to both the Athens hospitality scene and Design Hotels™, AthensWas set in the very heart of the most historically rich square mile of Athens is a chic and elegant hotel that encompasses congeniality that is carefully nurtured.
AthensWas, situated on the most beautiful, cobbled pedestrian walkway called Plaka, right next to the National Gardens in Athens, opened in April 2015. Surrounding the hotel is a virtual plethora of restaurants, shops, museums, art galleries, Ouzo taverns and various points of interest, that too at walking distance. This makes AthensWas whose architecture is markedly from the classic modernism genre an ideal destination for both the leisure travellers and history junkies.
Modernism is known to have revived the timeless allure of the Doric order, one of the three orders of ancient Greek or classical architecture synonymous with clear-cut, unfussy architectural forms; here it is seen to be referenced in a most distinctive way.
Stavros Papayiannis founder of the design studio, Stage design, infused this hotel with his design magic which artfully resonates with the city’s rich timeworn past while capturing the zeitgeist of the modern day capital, all within the foothills of the iconic Acropolis.
The frontage of the hotel has the look of a pavement restaurant, which helps it fit in with the omnipresent character of the street. The street view as seen through the ceiling high glass doors, adds to the architecture of the lobby and the transparency becomes an open invite to passersby. Congeniality begins at the reception desk itself where the management takes the time to carefully listen to your requests and offer you a variety of rentals and price ranges to suit your needs. Transportation to the islands near Athens too is conveniently organised on the hotel premises itself.
Dotted throughout the hotel’s straight-lined, contemporary and marbled interiors are one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture from famous modern-day design houses such as Le Corbusier, Ettore Sottsass, Michael Graves, and Konstantin Grcic. Also found accessorising the spaces is wall art that alludes to ancient Greek forms and architecture. The all pervasive feel though is one of serenity and comfort enhanced by superb service and hospitality.
The hotel was originally built as an apartment building in the year 2006. This fact has led to the existence of spacious guestrooms and suites with large attached balconies with charming wrought iron furniture and scented plants that seem to beckon one to kick back and relax here with a cup of coffee or a book.
The view of the Athenian landscape and the leafy lane below in spite of the multitude of restaurants and passersby provides a serene vibe.
The design sensibility is minimalistic and chic and composed of an assortment of Greek marble and walnut wood it encompasses the whole property. Marble in various types and colours has been used abundantly throughout the communal staircases, walls, and floors as well as the bathrooms and verandas.
The rooms are carpeted and the coloured walls help tie up the cosy yet elegant look. The illumination all across the hotel space is subtle and mostly concealed; this has been courtesy the industrial designer Konstantin Grcic, winner of many international design awards.
Even though small, this mere 21 room hotel which is defined by large, light-filled spaces and the imaginative use of glass walls is not short on any creature comforts. The rooms are furnished in a classically refined style and the Flos lights here accessorise them with their chic looks. The presence of a bar in the suites, accompanied by the mini-bar and a sink even allows one a spot of entertaining.
Of the many features to shout about at AthensWas’, one is the location that allows one to conveniently visit historical must-dos of the city like the Acropolis, the Acropolis museum and the Syntagma square. Hot, made-to-order meals that also include typical Greek dishes, is one more. However the starring centerpiece of the hotel is without doubt the magnificent terrace on top of the hotel.
The full view of the Acropolis with the Parthenon all lit up and at almost touching distance, from here has to be seen to be believed. Also visible from the terrace is the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the old Olympic Stadium, as well as the larger cityscape. Here the breezes caress, the authentic Mediterranean cuisine whose simplicity is underlined in order to allow the freshness of the ingredients to come through, tantalises and the views simply boggle the mind.
A hotel stay is always about a little adventure, a place where you create emotions that remain with you for a long time to come. AthensWas with its chic and well equipped, spacious guest rooms, its location, hotel amenities and hospitality is designed to make memories in comfort. It fits almost everyone’s travelling needs whether it is exploring or relaxing or anything else in between.
Text By Mala Bajaj
Photographs Courtesy Design Hotels™