Name: Divani Apollon Palace & Thalasso
When you think of Athens, beaches don’t immediately come to mind; no, you picture a rich history with beautifully preserved ancient ruins (and mouthfuls of souvlaki). But if you’re interested in all the city has to offer, with no inclinations to stay in the thick of it, this is where you need to be. Located in the Kavouri suburb, just 30 minutes from the heart of Athens, lies the Davani Apollon Palace & Thalasso. The property is situated on prime, beach-front land, in what some locals call “the Beverly Hills of Athens.” The hotel features 280 rooms – among them are seven corner suites with sweeping sea-views, and one presidential for those looking for something extra special. Like much of Greece’s tourism activities, the property’s outdoor pools and beach-front fish restaurant are only open seasonally. No need to worry however, their other features (such as their world-class spa) ensure you don’t miss the time outdoors.
Thanks to recent renovations completed in 2015/16, each of the suites at the Divani Apollon beautifully weave together five-star luxury with modernity, while adding a dash of old-world charm. From the moment you enter, you notice the easy-to-navigate control panels. These control every light in the room, as well as the do-not-disturb functions; not to mention, they can raise and lower your blinds with the push of a button. The executive suites, where we stayed, feature an elegant work space, equipped with a printer and fax machine as well as an abundance of writing materials. The highlight of our suite however – not including the breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea from the balcony – was the bathroom. The marble finishings are reminiscent of old-world charm and luxury, though there’s nothing “old” about it at all. The centerpiece is a standalone, jetted, soaking tub, which is nestled along the side wall just behind the full-length double-vanity. On the other side is a separate shower, with a peace-inducing rainfall shower-head. It is worth noting that all the rooms at this hotel have a sea view.
Without a doubt, the spa is the backbone of the property. Not only does it attract the thousands of hotel guests who visit from around the world, but also many locals who pay for its exclusive membership. Voted as the best spa in Greece, the third best in Europe and the eighth best in the world, not a stone was left unturned – no pun intended – when it came to planning this 3,500 m2 oasis. More than a dozen treatment rooms are separated by category: Dry rooms for massages, wet rooms for facials and wraps, and specialty rooms for anything from tanning beds to thalaxion treatments. Our personal favorite was the “affusion” – a four-handed massage, given under a constant rain of healing sea water. Beyond the treatment rooms was a new, state-of-the-art gym, featuring free weights, a range of machines, and an aerobics room with regularly scheduled classes. Nothing though, can compare to the Thalassotherapy pool. The heated sea water embraces you to relax and unwind, as the 16 unique hydro-massage stations reprogram your muscles in ways you never thought possible. At the end, after standing below the four pounding waterfalls, take a resistance walk or swim against the pressure of hi-speed jets. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, you can end the visit with a quick stop at the sauna before heading upstairs for dinner and drinks.
Bar & Restaurants
The Divani Apollon has no shortage of places to eat and drink. They feature one full-time restaurant, one seasonal restaurant, one lounge and one bar. The full-service restaurant, Anemos, is where guests can enjoy a beautiful buffet breakfast each morning with both Greek and international fair. At night, they offer a dimly-lit romantic atmosphere, though the menu can be slightly limiting. Adjacent, just beyond the lobby, is the Atlantis Lounge; this is a much less formal option, but the food is delicious and the options are seemingly endless – they’ve also got a full bar! But if you’re looking to drink, you want to head to the A+D bar which is tucked away at the very front of the hotel beside the lounge. Every night from 20:30 until midnight you can drop in, have a smoke and enjoy the live piano music. The drinks are fantastic and the light-fare menu is surprisingly good.
While some people prefer to stay in the heart of the city, I am one who enjoys peace and quiet. This property offers the perfect combination: Beautiful sea views in a luxury, residential neighborhood, and still only 30 minutes from all of the “must-sees” in downtown Athens. Overall, a big win!
Disclosure: Most of our property, service & product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced by any sponsor.