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Hotel Check: Academia of Athens

Athens, Greece

BEST FOR: Spectacular personality with plenty regional flair

DON’T MISS: The weekly gatherings with a local academic to discuss – well, everything.

PRICE: Internet rates for a traditional room start at $202

CONTACT Academia of Athens, 38 Akadimias, Omirou Street, Athina 106 72, Greece. Tel +30-21-0367-0000.

VERDICT: This boutique hotel offers plenty of local character plus an excellent city-center position that works for both business and leisure travelers.

Background: What makes each Autograph Collection hotel so special is that the brand’s motto holds true: “It’s exactly like nothing else.” That’s probably why guests have a hard time describing their stay at an Autograph Collection hotel. What travelers love about the Academia of Athens, however, is the property has spectacular personality all its own including a strong focus on education and enrichment (quite fitting for the Greek capital).

Where is it? Close to many of the main shopping and dining areas in town, this is one of the few American brand hotels in the city center. It takes only a few minutes to reach the nearest metro station or Syntagma Square. Popular pedestrian shopping streets and the famous Plaka area are all within a close walk of the front entrance.

What’s it like? For such a small property, the Academia offers plenty of local character in the form of quotes on the walls from famous Greek philosophers, and books and artifacts located throughout the hotel. As part of Autograph Collection’s “mark of craft,” a signature experience that represents the destination of each hotel, this property offers weekly soirees where guests can engage in hour-long chats with a local professor on a variety of topics ranging from philosophy to love and life balance. How positively Greek!

Rooms: Sizeable, attractive and pleasant, the guest rooms show clean lines and modern fixtures. Plush mattresses with duvets are accompanied by pillow menus and convenient power outlets on either side of the bed. The choice of views can vary wildly between city streets, neighboring buildings, and for those lucky few on the top floors, the Acropolis. Likewise, guestrooms also vary in their layout, with nearly half offering traditional bathrooms behind sliding doors while the rest have bathrooms that are divided from the guest room by glass panels. These panels feature technology that allows them to be switched to opaque at the touch of a button. Each bathroom stocks a supply of Molton Brown toiletries sporting a scent created specifically for the hotel.

Food and Drink: Plato Bar in the lobby serves cocktails and coffee specialties while Symposium serves all-day menus starting with a deluxe breakfast spread including cold cuts, fresh fruit and Greek cheeses, and an a la carte menu with smoothies and a wide variety of egg dishes. Later in the day, the menu focuses on Greek cuisine with a modern twist. Soon to open is the rooftop restaurant, which will serve panoramic views as well as creative and modern Greek fare.

 Meetings and Fitness: Wireless Internet is complimentary and a convenient business center is near reception. The basement has modern workout equipment, plenty of bottled water and towels and a heated lap pool for aquatic exercise.