F Scott Fitzgerald would surely raise his coupe of Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle to this 2021-opened Athenian homage to The Great Gatsby, the novelist's 1925-published depiction of the flamboyance and excess of the Jazz Age. Outside, clouds of verdant foliage cascade from Juliet balconies across the creamy-white, six-storey former police building, while, at pavement level, canary-yellow taxis drop off and pick up people who look like they belong in a Kooples ad. On entering, beyond the initial wow-factor of the flower-bedecked lobby, guests will discover that the management has ruthlessly done away with floor numbers - a first indication of an ethos of playfulness that runs through the veins of this glossy-yet-approachable design-driven stay. Having enjoyed a warm, welcoming and super-speedy check-in, we wrap our fingers tightly around our pastel-pink key card - "Hello stranger" - leap for the lift, and press "L", for "Lavish".
Exploring the compact, 33-key boutique stay won't take long, but this centrally located, Lekka Street address packs a big punch, considering its diminutive size. A not insignificant asset is the residents-only rooftop terrace, Cloud 9: think hypnotic flickering flames from the fire, fluffy pillows upon which to rest your head as you gaze up at the stars, an open-air film screening room and a sublime drinks list. We suggest ordering a fruity cocktail and gazing out towards the silhouette of the Acropolis while adopting the unreadable expression of a Machiavellian 1920s playboy.
In-hotel dining can sometimes feel like settling, but not here, where, at Gatsby Restaurant, a Mediterranean-leaning menu of bistro classics and fresh Greek specialities deserves to be lingered over. On our visit, a nuanced beetroot, walnut and Gorgonzola soup was as gorgeous to look at as it was delicious, as was a towering Portobello mushroom-based extravagance of a starter, while the cheeseburger was a juicy crowd-pleaser, the handmade potato chips with Parmesan sprinkles, simply amazing, and the feta-, olive- and caper-scattered salad a masterclass in its genre. Desserts are epic. White chocolate panna cotta on a chocolate crumb strewn with candy-sweet strawberries and edible flowers, anyone?
Throw in a basement wellness area (press "B", for "Balboa"), with its own boxing ring (because, as the hotel's website puts it "bruises are hot in a kinky way"), and the fact that you're within 600m of Monastiraki Square and the dazzling vintage stores of Psiri, and this might just be the Athens go-to you've been looking for all your life. Whether you're in the Greek capital for business, pleasure, or a bit of both, just don't be surprised if, on checking out, you find yourself taking one, last look at the lobby's floral froth, clock one last "ting" of the lift going down, the happy purr of voices from the bar, and realise that having to leave this rabbit hole of aesthetic zen is something of a tragedy in itself. As Fitzgerald's Nick Carraway would put it: "Angry, and half in love with her, and tremendously sorry, I turned away."
Art deco flourishes add substance to pale, sleek guest rooms equipped with cutting-edge technology. (Goodbye, having to get out of bed to let room service in - there's a button for that!). We love the baby-pink velvet headboards, golden wardrobes and swish, fight-ready cotton robes, the thoughtfully curated drawer full of munchies, well-stocked minibar (particularly the tub of Caprice choco-praline wafer cigars), balcony and rosy-hued, harlequin-tiled bathrooms complete with beautifully packaged Ortigia products. Water babies should book a Cool Corner Suite, for an ultra-glam freestanding tub. Want more, more, more? Secure the Gatsby Suite, and conduct your affairs from the comfort of your own outdoor Jacuzzi.
What's for breakfast?
An à la carte menu promising everything your hungry heart could desire, from Nutella-swirled pancakes and house-made granola to eggs every way, smoked salmon and grilled meats - all delicious, and all served until noon. So civilised.
How about lunch and dinner?
Restaurant Gatsby excels at convivial all-day dining. Turn up in jeans or an awards ceremony-worthy dress: either way, you'll be well looked after, fed and watered. On warmer nights, decamp to the streetside patio.
While there's no spa, the hotel does have a treatment room, gym, boxing ring and personal trainer, Tina - available on request. Bedrooms have A/C, a smart TV, minibar, free bottled water, Amazon Alexa speaker, Nespresso coffee machine and Ortigia bath products. WiFi is strong and fast throughout.
How about their green credentials?
The property's restoration was led by acclaimed Greek architects WOA, to complement the heritage of the neighbourhood, and with a design that is simple, elegant and eco-friendly. Much of the Gatsby Restaurant menu is made with produce sourced from a select handful of small, local suppliers, and the now-usual "we'll only do your laundry if you ask" policy is in place.
What about accessibility?
The communal areas are accessible for wheelchair users and there's a lift to all floors. Some of the Juliet Petit rooms have been adapted.
Things I should know
Sudden party invite? Babysitting can be arranged with at least four hours' notice (from around £10 an hour).
Within a short walk I can find...
Everything. Pick up rare 1970s slacks and blouses, butter-soft Eighties leather skirts and an entire stable's-worth of suede and fringed denim at Kilo Shop, No.120 Ermou Street. Later, drink in some world-class mixology at Mario Basso's understated Voulis Street nightspot, Barreldier, where barrel-aged spirits meet bartending at its best, all to a killer soundtrack, then end the night dancing (in 1970s vintage) to an intimate set by legendary DJ Christo Z at cocktail bar The Blind Beggar.
Doubles cost from £150 per night on a B&B basis.