Mount Lycabettus which is where you’ll find Saint George Lycabettus Hotel has quite a lot going for it. For one thing, it’s the highest point in Athens so you can imagine what the views are like, and it’s mythical past is not to be sneered at either having been the property of Athena at one time, the goddess from whence the city takes its name.
The area around the mountain is equally impressive; some say Kolonaki is the Athens equivalent of Paris’ Montmartre District, the shops and homes reflecting a rather up market feel. In the midst of all this lies the St.George Lycabettus Hotel, a family owned luxury property that has most probably, the finest view of the Acropolis that money can buy. This is not just a jewel in the crown but the whole box of treasure in my view.
Athens has one or two other luxury properties that would give their right arms to match a view such as this and the St.George Lycabettus Hotel milks it for all its worth. The breakfast room and main restaurant Le Grand Balcon is on the top floor for example, providing a stunning panorama of the city and the Pantheon from wherever you sit; the perfect start or end to your day.
Then of course there are the bedrooms. If you treat yourself to an exterior room you’ll have a balcony with a view almost matching the restaurant. That said, the rooms are a little on the small side, but when you consider most of the space is taken up by a huge bed swathed in crisp linen, then I suppose it’s not a bad compromise.
The lounge areas are comfortable and particularly cosy at night when the glow of candles abounds.
For a boutique style hotel, the St.George Lycabettus Hotel throws in a few added bonuses you wouldn’t expect; a roof top pool in the summer months, providing some welcome respite from the Athens heat, an art gallery, gym and spa in the basement and Frame, one of the hottest nightspots in town. And it’s the kind of hotel that’s small enough for the staff to get to know you, but also hold its own against the grander competition just down the hill in Syntagma Square.
Although the popular spots of Athens like Plaka, Psiri and the ancient monuments are all easily within walking distance, the quiet leafy oasis of Kolonaki with its cafes, fashion boutiques and little squares is a haven to return to after a busy day.
I was at the St George over the New Year festivities and standing there with my fellow revellers (many of them locals) high up on the terrace of the Le Grand Balcon watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks lighting up the city, I felt a little privileged. It was, dare I say it, a moment to savour, particularly after a momentous economic year of struggle. Mind you, the savouring was all the more sweet at the sumptuous buffet breakfast they provided from 5am for those who needed some energy replenishment.
Athena knew what she was doing when she left this mountain here, and The St.George Lycabettus Hotel should treat you with equal reverence.
I like the sound of this hotel. How much is it?
Rooms with an Acropolis view from €130