History, Art, and Architecture
When you enter the mighty lobby it seems as if Greece has never known a financial crisis. This hotel, which has for many years stood as a monument to the city and an institution of our industry, is located in the very centre of Athens. Syntagma Square is literally a hop from the Greek parliament; it is also the site where for the past couple of years Greeks have been wrestling with their democracy and the recession. The architecture of the hotel and the meaning it has for the city makes it stand out in this strictly business district, full of banks, restaurants and cafes. Even today, the high-fliers of society like to spend a night in the Grand Bretagne, a hotel that has been host to many important events in Greek history. Guest names can be read like a 20th and 21st century who’s who table of contents. Very impressive.
Practically every main Athenian street leads to Syntagma square – the pure centre of the city that is easily accessible by metro (which was built for the Olympics). From here all of the major tourist attractions are reachable by foot, but public tranport is also available for those who prefer/need it. From the city centre to the airport takes about 40 minutes and Athenian taxi services are also well organised, if somewhat pricey at times.
COLD APPETIZER - Architecture and Aesthetics
The imposing presence of the hotel comes from it once being a residential building before being transformed into what it is today. Its last big renovation was at the turn of the century, when the Athens Olympics arrived in town. The classical art-deco architecture was kept intact, but it was redesigned and upgraded with modern solutions. Elegant marble bathrooms were added to the hotel rooms, while still keeping the classical style of furniture, all rounded off by superb lighting. Unobtrusive pastel colours, which give the space a feeling of intimacy, are prevalent in the hotel. Fresh flowers, excellent artwork and an attention to detail can be felt at every turn and can keep you occupied for quite some time. In terms of design detail the GB Spa is outstanding, which with its small atrium gives the impression of entering an oasis right in the middle of a bustling city.
WARM APPETIZER - Staff and catering
The staff’s impressive energy is not exactly the most formal of affairs, but they take care of every guest in a relaxed and genuinely kind way. In such institutions high quality hotel services are taken for granted and so cleanliness can be felt right throughout the hotel. The breakfast is an abundance of delights and will get your taste buds flowing early in the morning. A special experience is the rooftop restaurant that offers carefully chosen and original dishes, and of course the Mediteranean cuisine, fresh ingredients and an excellent wine list wouldn’t be complete without stunning views of the Athenian acropolis. A lounge bar where you can sample a wide array of cocktails is a perfect match to this offer, which has been designed to perfection including fine ceramics and is carried out with a professional approach. The terrace and the entire gastronomic experience in the hotel is a true culinary oasis in the middle of Athens, even for the most demanding of guests.
MAIN DISH - Conference hotel service
Intimate comfort and isolation from the hustle and bustle of the outside world isimmediately felt in the rooms. It’s as if every room tells its own story, and with such exquisite interior design you certainly won’t forget it in a hurry. As can probably be told by the name, the highest level of comfort is available in The Royal Suite, which can also be transformed into a small conference room. The hotel’s congress centre is all about shifting the importance towards the well-being of participants and it is likely one of the most prominent congress facilities in Athens. The hall can be divided into three smaller ones and the maximum capacity for a standing reception is 500, or a seated banquet 390 participants. The Grand Ballroom creates an extravagant impression with its rare objets d’art, crystal chandeliers, velvet draperies, and splendid antiquities from Christie’s and Sotheby’s. The new wing of the hotel houses the Golden Room, a hall with a capacity for up to 380 guests in banquet. With all of this infrastructure in place they also haven’t overlooked or compromised on having flawless techniques and catering standards at the highest level.
DESSERT – THE EXTRAS
GB Spa – a holistic oasis that will replenish energy and bring travellers weary from meetings a balance of spirit and body.
FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES
The only negative side to a hotel of this category is the price. It is completely appropriate if judged against quality, but it can dissuade corporate partners who might have a limited budget.
TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES
Churchill’s Room—a unique 23-square-metre dining room that caters to small functions for up to 12 people— that is located on the ground floor.
OVERALL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY
Hotel Grand Bretagne is in a world of its own and definitely falls into the top league of regional hotels. It is a hotel institution, which will never disappoint. The highest standards in comfort, cuisine and overall pleasure wrapped inside a package that still defines the standards of what quality should feel like in Athens. The initial concept of a personalized hotel soon became an oasis of peace and tranquility amid the rhythm of a wild metropolis. A big plus is the option of combining conference halls and hotel capacities with its subsidiary hotel, King George, and thus opening up possibilities for larger groups. A thing to mention among its congress jewels is The Cellar – it features original art, 17th-century furniture and a collection of 3,000 bottles of wine. It is suitable for groups of 14 guests, who will be part of an amazing congress service. The combination of halls, lifestyle and top-notch service places the hotel in the elite group of European city congress hotels.
FINAL GRADE: 4.85 GOLD CITY MEETING HOTEL
GOLD final score from 4.81 to 5.00
SILVER final score from 4.61 to 4.80
BRONZE final score from 4.41 to 4.60