Thierry Mugler soaps in the marble bathrooms, “his & her” terrycloth robes and fuzzy slippers, murano glass chandeliers in every room… it’s no wonder that Grecotel’s pride of Syntagma Square, the King George Palace is NileGuide’s number one choice for a romantic hotel in Athens. I spent an afternoon exploring the hotel’s corridors and boudoirs with Georgia Boosalis, director of sales for Grecotel, an effervescent lady with the slightest tinge of a Minnesotan accent. She opened terraces that look directly upon the bustle of Syntagma Square, Parliament, and the Acropolis, pointed out original artwork and the aforementioned Murano glass chandeliers, then lead me to the exclusive elevator that goes directly to the hotel’s 9th floor climax, the Royal Suite, whose view of the sacred rock is one that’s been enjoyed by Madonna, Beyonce, and most recently, Ozzie Osbourne who is thankfully well beyond his days of busting up hotel rooms.
“How is it smelling like roses in here?” I asked, seeing nothing but a few well placed single orchids in glass vases.
Georgia assured me it was a well-guarded secret of house cleaning.
Drawn in by the original murals painted by LA artist Konstantin Kakanias, whimsical illustrations from Mrs. Tependris Just Before the Olympic Games in Athens, Georgia called me to the back. ”I want you to ignore the room’s decoration and look at this,” she said as she thrust open the doors of the balcony.
My inner-Texan said out loud, “Boy howdy!” The private pool floats in kissing distance of the Parthenon.
The restaurant at the top of the King George Palace, Tudor Hall, has a proportionately high number of tables for two on the veranda. Georgia assured me it was no coincidence and that the restaurant is one of the top choices for a romantic dining spot regardless of being a guest of the King George.
The hotel is running a Valentine’s Day Special that includes one night’s stay plus dinner for €250. Considering a typical dinner at the Tudor Hall runs €70 a person, that brings the room to just €110: a rose-scented bargain. I asked Georgia if the hotel was doing anything else that reflected sensitivity to the economic crisis.
“We live in a bad neighborhood. We’re used to crisis.”
She explained that with Greece’s proximity to the Middle East, there have been so many dry spells that Athens hotels are used to tightening their belts. She praises the government for lowering hotel taxes and the Grecotel chain for their flexibility, saying that they’re willing to negotiate prices and accommodate spontaneous decisions made by the guest. Proud of the hotel’s more boutique atmosphere than some of the other five star hotels on the block, she feels that the hotel’s ability to know people by their names and treat them as special is the reason this hotel keeps it chin high in tough times.
See the King George Palace along with its competition on NileGuide’s top ten list of most romantic hotels in Athens.