luxe - Baby Grand Hotel, Athens
Written by Jane Foster
The Baby Grand Hotel, centrally located in Athens, Greece, is fabulously funky and fun,
a refreshingly eccentric mix of cool urban vibe and quirky creativity.
In a 19th-century neo-classical building, one block from Omonia Square and metro station, this slick but quirky 4-star boutique hotel has 76 rooms and suites, each individually decorated by a graffiti artist.
The surprises begin in the first floor reception area, where two vintage white Mini Coopers serve as check-in desks. Opposite reception, the Moлt & Chandon Champagne lounge bar features big, black leather sofas and tiger’s-head wall lamps.
But best of all are the rooms, decorated with colourful urban street art by ten Greek and international graffiti artists. Each floor is themed, and every room has one entire wall painted in that theme. On the third floor you’ll encounter superheroes such as Spiderman, Superman, and the Smurfs, while the fifth and sixth floors are themed landscapes – idyllic mountains, waterfalls, jungles, and oceans with leaping dolphins. Some rooms have a fake stuffed tiger lying across the bed, while on a more practical note you also get flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, and a slick, modern bathroom.
Barbecued meat specialties are served in the ground-floor shabby-chic Meat Me restaurant; and to unwind there’s a spa in the basement with turquoise blue-and-green perspex details, a gym, sauna, and plunge pool.
National Archaeological Museum
A ten-minute walk north of the Baby Grand, the National Archaeological Museum displays the world’s finest collection of ancient and classical Greek art. This vast, light, and airy building is packed with treasures such
as the Mycena-ean Collection
(a horde of finely-crafted gold work dating from between the 16th and 11th centuries BC) and the Bronze Collection (including an imposing bronze statue of Poseidon from 460 BC).
A 20-minute walk south
of the hotel, following the pedestrian-only shopping street of Aiolou, you’ll reach Athens’ most visited attraction: the awe-inspiring Acropolis. Rising high above the modern city, it was known to the ancients as the ‘sacred rock’.
It is crowned by the ruins of three 5th-century BC temples, the largest and best-known being the Parthenon. Built entirely from white marble and supported by 46 Doric columns, the Parthenon was intended as a sanctuary for the goddess of wisdom, Athena, after whom the city
is named. Be sure to bring
a camera – from up here on high you also have sweeping views over Athens and the Saronic Gulf.
Nearby, the high-tech all-glass New Acropolis Museum, designed by Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi, opened in summer 2009. Another must-see, it displays classical statues and friezes from the Acropolis site.
Connect Athens, Greece ✈ Distance: 2,973 km ✈ Flight Time: 4 hours, 55 minutes ✈ Frequency: 2 flights a day
Baby Grand Hotel