Athens is fast-becoming the choice destination for a European city break among savvy travellers. A bustling metropolis with an impressive history, delicious food and fabulous climate, Athens is ideal for a long weekend trip all-year round.
Why go to Athens now
Having recovered a lot from its dark years of financial crisis, Athens nowadays is bouncing back with a new wave of youthful creativity and entrepreneurship. Pop-up hip restaurants, art galleries and museums, the regeneration of previously forgotten neighbourhoods, as well as new boutique hotels popping up everyday like mushrooms, make this the best time to visit the city.
The Athens Utopia Ermou Hotel
One of the most promising such new hotel arrivals is the Athens Utopia Hotel, right in the heart of the city. First opened in the summer of 2019, I had the privilege to be among the first to stay there and experience all that this new urban abode in Athens has to offer.
Just minutes on foot from Syntagma square, the new hotel is located at the corner of Ermou and Evaggelistrias streets, the city’s main shopping district. With many eateries, museums and transportation options nearby, it’s an excellent base for an Athens city break.
Very easy to spot among the shops by its distinct entrance with the greenery, the hotel occupies the the top floors of a truly unique and elegant building with rounded corners. As a result, some of the rooms are also rounded and have circular beds!
With just 28 bright and modern rooms, Athens Utopia Ermou feels like an upbeat, sunny and colourful oasis from the buzz of the city below. Even though the hotel errs on the minimalist side, it never feels stark. Its simplicity is actually quite calming and refreshing.
The decor is unmistakably youthful, with many little details that the digital generation will particularly appreciate, such as power plugs next to the bed and Smart TVs. Nevertheless, the hotel’s upbeat atmosphere, bright rooms and friendly staff will make all visitors feel welcome!
Moreover, the hotel concierge is very helpful in suggesting and helping arrange (at additional cost) activities such as walking tours, bike tours, car & bike hire, airport pick up & drop off, and even themed dinner nights! Being a 4-star city hotel they have no spa or gym facilities on site, but the can arrange for a massage in your room. They will also do your laundry, dry cleaning and even babysitting (all at extra cost), so that you can take a break from being a parent and enjoy your night out in the heart of Athens.
A Room with a View
If Athens Utopia Ermou has one signature element then it would be its gorgeous views of the Acropolis from most of its rooms and the rooftop bar.
The hotel has 28 bright and airy rooms, ranging from the “Classic Double” (24 sq. m. / 258 sq. ft.) to the Junior Suite (34 sq. m. / 366 sq. ft.). I got to stay in the Junior Suite and what impressed me immediately upon entering was the big windows and the view of the Acropolis.
The modern style of the rooms, in tones of light grey with a pop of colour, is surprisingly welcoming and reassuring to the weary traveller.
As I was about to leave my luggage by the fuchsia pink sofa, I noticed a welcome tray of fresh fruit and a bottle of wine on the nearby table. Usually I’m not a fan of fruit, but as I hadn’t eaten lunch yet, I decided to give them a try. They were delicious! I ended up cleaning the bowl of strawberries and several of the clementines.
The large bed was the highlight of the room. On the firmer side but comfy, it had plenty of pillows and there were also plush bathrobes and slippers on it. I loved the power plug next to the bedside, as I could easily keep my my mobile handy while it charged.
The bathroom of the Junior Suite was spacious, with a large mirror, plenty of toiletries and even oral hygiene kits, with toothbrushes and tiny toothpastes. Very convenient for someone like me who practically always forgets to pack her toothbrush! The Junior Suite bathroom also has a walk-in shower with both rain-type and regular faucets and a toiled in a separate corner.
After spending the afternoon and most of the evening “exploring” the area (read: shopping, eating, taking photos and then more shopping), I was pretty tired. So unfortunately I skipped the opportunity to have a cocktail with a view of the illuminated Acropolis at the hotel’s rooftop bar. Instead, I had a shower and called it an early night.
The hotel was mostly quiet and the atmosphere in the room pleasant, with only the occasional disruption from the lift’s announcement system. The room also has blackout curtains and I slept so comfortably that I nearly missed the breakfast next morning!
Food & Drink
Although the hotel doesn’t have (yet) a full restaurant on site, it has a lovely rooftop café bar, offering a buffet breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. (which is a little early for a night owl like me, but I’ve come to accept this in hotels as a fact of life).
The breakfast buffet is plentiful, with a great variety of hot and cold offerings. The service is fast, friendly and efficient. There are scrambled eggs, omelette, crispy bacon, sausages, different kinds of bread, cakes, croissant, homebaked sweet and savoury Greek pies, traditional Greek tahini halva and spoon sweets, fresh fruit, vegetables and more. There’s filter coffee, tea and milk available but you can also ask at the bar to prepare a cappuccino or espresso for you.
- The central Athens location
- The happy, bright and colourful decor
- The gorgeous views of the Acropolis from (most) rooms
- Lounging at the rooftop café, enjoying the view and the sun like a cat ^_^
- The friendly and helpful staff
- The wonderful breakfast with the best view in the city
What to see nearby
Another thing I loved about this hotel is how very convenient is its location for both sightseeing and shopping. Moreover, as it is in between two major Metro stations (Monastiraki and Syntagma), it is easy to to get to and from the El. Venizelos airport, the port of Piraeus and practically connect with the whole of Athens.
- The Acropolis
- The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Annunciation (simply known locally as the “Metropolis”)
- Plaka (and Anafiotika) and the Monastiraki Flea Market
- The Church of Panagia Kapnikarea
- The Ancient Agora
- The Benaki Museum
Places to eat (tried and tested)
- Le Greche, best handmade Italian gelato in town
- Thanasis, for kebabs, loved by tourists and locals alike
- The Pie Shop, best handmade hand pies with an international flair
- Tazza Athens, a themed bistro and wine bar with sophisticated cuisine
- Estrella, for amazing brunch
- Kostas Souvlaki (simply the best souvlaki in town)
Athens Utopia Ermou
Disclaimer: My stay at Athens Utopia Hotel was complimentary but all opinions are my own.