NEW Hotel, Athens, Greece
Though it’s set in a 50s building, the NEW Hotel is far from dated. Within walking distance of Athens’ headline ruins (read: the Acropolis and the Parthenon) and the cultural Monastiraki district, it’s a design-forward haven for those who appreciate a mishmash of past and present.
31 January, 2020
From democracy and philosophy to sport and drama, the ancient Greeks bestowed many gifts on western society, not least Athens itself, a city akin to popping candy for the senses. Roam the crumbling streets here and you'll be met not only with centuries' worth of mind-boggling human history but also a thriving creative scene that fizzles, a phoenix risen from the ashes of economic crisis. It's an exhilarating mix for curious minds; one that propels you head first into an acute state of exploration.
Consequently, places such as the centrally located NEW Hotel are a haven, offering somewhere comfortable to rest weary feet after days spent plodding around as many historical sites (and vintage shops) as time permits. One of the city's most contemporary hotels, NEW is luxurious but with a surprisingly avant-garde twist. The celebrated Brazilian design duo behind the hotel's aesthetic, Humberto and Fernando Campana, have repurposed vintage furniture to create statement art in many of the hotel's rooms and communal spaces. The result is a hotel with a distinctly unique feel - a reminder of the city's optimistic march towards the future as much as its storied past.
Each of the 79 rooms has a contrasting feel, though the themes of Greek folklore, the evil eye and postcards from old Athens are a uniting presence. Brightly coloured walls in various shades are accented with bamboo furniture. Bathrooms, meanwhile, are delightfully kitsch, with golden taps and showerheads and cubic-style sinks. Larger rooms have balconies primed for observing the bustle below.
What's for breakfast?
An unmitigated feast, of course. Fill up on continental options such as charcuterie and cheese or British favourites including scrambled eggs and sausages. Of course, you could plump for the healthy option of fresh fruit and yoghurt. Bread is baked fresh daily and à la carte options are also available, so take the not-so-subtle hint and fill your boots before setting off in search of mythological adventure. In Greece, after all, one mustn't leave the table with anything less than a full stomach.
How about lunch and dinner?
There are two restaurants. NEW Taste on the ground floor serves a Mediterranean-inspired selection of salads, pasta, meat and fish, and there's an extensive weekend brunch menu featuring pancakes, croque monsieurs, burgers and a range of punchy bloody marys with plenty of kick. But it's for Art Lounge on the hotel's rooftop that accolades really roll in, not least because of its incredible views of the Acropolis and the glittering city below. Try the homemade pitta bread and the trilogy of Greek dips followed by rack of lamb or grilled salmon. And remember to leave room for the supersized desserts - the tiramisu is a thing of creamy beauty.
Is there a bar?
Head up to Art Lounge for sundowners - the most magical time to see the city's ruins is when they're silhouetted against a roaring sky.
There's a small spa with massage options, a 24-hour fitness centre and 24-hour room service.
Things I should know…
The hotel's penthouse is a knockout, from where guests can soak up some of the finest panoramic views in the entire city.
Within a short walk I can find
The creaking ruins of an ancient civilisation - the Acropolis and the Parthenon are only a 15-minute walk away. The tourist district of Plaka is also nearby, as is Monastiraki, the newly emerged hub of the city's effervescent cultural scene. The National Gardens lie a few blocks downtown and you're also very well connected to the rest of the city, as Syntagma metro station is just a five-minute walk away. There are also great connections to Athens International Airport.