We are about to begin our exciting three week cruise vacation with a three day stay in Athens, Greece. Upon arrival at the airport, we were pleasantly surprised – Clean, comfortable and a breeze to gather our luggage and exit to our waiting transportation to the hotel. During our 40 minute drive from the airport, we experienced mixed feelings about the city. Athens is several thousand years old, yes, thousands. In many areas, it was worn down, dilapidated and dirty – but we expected that from a city that is so large and has such a long history. Despite that, we expected more.
We drove over a large hill that overlooked the city and loved seeing the Cyprus trees, the undeveloped area quickly became building on top of building. At times, it just felt dirty…not just old. Then as we reached the city center, all of a sudden the largest amphitheater I’ve ever seen popped up out of no where. The first Olympics were held here. Then through trees, we saw the remains of the Temple of Zeus – Athens largest temple honoring the God. All this, amongst the city traffic and old buildings, intrigued us as we neared our hotel.
As I normally do, I downplayed our hotel to my wife, exclaiming that I hoped that it would be “OK” and in a “decent” area. As we drove closer to the hotel, I knew that she would be surprised, especially after seeing several, less desirable options. We arrived at the Royal Olympic Hotel and were immediately greeted by a doorman and bellman who took our luggage promptly inside. My wife was completely surprised as she entered the beautiful lobby outfitted with dark woods, glass, grand chandeliers and an attentive front desk staff.
As Ingrid opened the door to our 6th floor room (only the rooftop restaurant was above us), she was hoping we’d have a good view of the ruins across the street. What she did not expect was to see that one of our room walls was nothing but one expansive window with the ultimate view of the Temple of Zeus directly across the street. We quickly walked out onto the 20 foot long balcony outfitted with two large comfortable reclining chairs. Just to our left, there it was – the Acropolis, towering above the city of Athens.
Our Deluxe Panoramic View room was spacious and comfortable. It had a huge completely marble bathroom with a separate soaking tub for those days following visits to the ruins. In addition to the spectacular views from our balcony, our 450 sq. ft. room featured a king bed, flat screen TV, separate seating area, wet bar and huge closets. Since one wall was just windows, the room was equipped with great black out curtains and everything was controlled by a simple console on either side of the bed. The hotel also features a cozy outdoor pool area, spa and several lounges along with the rooftop restaurant and bar.
We settled in, enjoying the complimentary bottle of wine from the hotel on our balcony, after all this was just the beginning to a wonderful three week cruise vacation.
For more information on the Royal Olympic Hotel, Athens or any travel planning services, be sure to contact us.
Photo credits Elite Travel Planners