Fresh Hotel

Psiri - Omonia, Athens, Greece Book from Book from £97 per night

Central Athens’ first card-carrying design hotel is fresh in every sense: vibrant, original and a little cheeky
Fresh, indeed. This was the hotel that brought the design concept to central Athens. From the vibrant scarlet and lilac lobby, with its low-slung black leather couches, floor-to-ceiling glass walls and oval petal light hovering above it all, it is instantly clear that designer Tassos Zepos had a ball. This is white-grey minimalism shot through with streaks of fluorescent colour – lime green, shocking pink – and a liberal dose of fun. Bedrooms have disappearing mirrors, Starck chairs, tiny pebbled gardens, a wheeled chair that looks like a pram for Mies van der Rohe. On the roof, there's a tented perimeter bar, sparkling plunge pool and cushy couches with a front row view of the city. Look past the concrete roofs and satellite dishes and there's the Acropolis.

Now the big question for any design hotel: is it fashion over function? We didn't think so, thanks to orthopaedic beds, soundproofing and cymbal-sized showers. When we visited again in 2013, the hotel was just as hip, opening an exciting ground-floor visual and performance art gallery – and holding up in terms of comfort and friendly service.

Highs

  • The rooftop lounge-bar and plunge pool (open May-October) makes this one of the cooler destinations in Athens; excellent food and popular with a younger crowd
  • Avant garde throughout, including a new ArtWall/Project Space on the ground floor, which hosts a new visual and/or performance art show every month
  • Good bus and metro connections nearby (Omonia square)
  • Spectacular views of the floodlit Acropolis from that top terrace
  • Gym and spa, including a sauna and massage and beauty treatments on request

Lows

  • Psiri is not the prettiest area: still up-and-coming, and a little seedy
  • It’s a good 10-minute walk to Plaka, 20 to the Acropolis
  • Bedrooms are rather small, with limited storage space; suites are roomier
  • Rooms are looking tired and décor a bit dated
  • Bigger than most i-escape hotels; check in/out feels a bit impersonal

Best time to go

Whenever work or pleasure brings you to Athens: it is open all year and prices remain constant. If you’re still at the planning stage, consider visiting Athens over a Greek holiday such as Orthodox Easter, Whitsun (7 weeks later) or ‘Clean Monday’ (7 weeks earlier), when the city empties but major sites and museums remain open. Carnival time (Feb-March) is also quite fun. It can be stiflingly hot from mid June to early September, but the roads are quieter in August when Athenians flock to the coast.

Our top tips

We spent almost a full day up on the rooftop terrace - the views over Athens are incredible and it’s a really chilled out space to swim, lounge and eat. The Skybar's serves up amazing cocktails and outstanding food - I had the best homemade squid ink tagliatelle. There was also a really nice mix of people, from youngster and hipsters to older groups and families.

Great for...

City Style
Foodie
Spa
Wedding
  • Design Hotel
  • 133
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • Over 2s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Plunge Pool
  • Sauna
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
  • Laundry service
Room: Superior Room

Rooms

Bedrooms are extremely cool but not over-designed: whites and greys offset by one or two bold strips of colours, be it bright orange, lime green, bubblegum pink or the turquoise of an Aegean bay. You get wide double (or twin) beds, chrome and leather furniture, wooden floors, plasma TVs and full-height windows (most have a balcony outside, but neither furniture nor view for sitting out). Design gurus will appreciate the Artemide bedlamps, the Eames easy-chairs, a ‘lens’ coffee table constructed of glass prisms. Although not huge (22-40 m²), rooms are cleverly laid out to maximise the limited space, but don’t expect much storage room. Above all they are clean and comfortable, with excellent soundproofing against Athens’ 24-hour traffic noise.

Bathrooms are equally funky, with coloured-glass shower screens, sleek chrome taps, marble or corian surfaces, and halogen lighting which casts an other-worldly glow into the bedroom. You’ll find top-class toiletries from Korres, fluffy slippers (and robes in Executive rooms) and huge shower-heads; only a few have tubs, but in the honeymoon suite (707) it takes centre stage in the bedroom.

Standard rooms can be twin- or double-bedded, with an armchair that folds out into a (cramped) third bed. They would be fine for a couple or 2 good friends, for a short stay. Rooms with balconies (called Superior on some websites) are available for the Standard price through i-escape. Executive rooms are a bit larger, with a private ‘micro-garden’ of pebbles and potted palms; those on the 8th floor have partial Acropolis views. The top-of-the-range suites have a sitting room with long, black-leather couch and home cinema system, and kingsize bedroom with motorised black-out blinds.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • DVD player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Plunge pool
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

The first-floor Magenta Room serves a great breakfast buffet of cold cuts (including smoked salmon), sweet cakes, delicate pastries, cereals and Greek yoghurt with honey – a vast improvement on most Athenian hotel breakfasts. (If your flight leaves early, ask for a breakfast box – a less exciting combo of a sandwich, boxed juice and piece of fruit.)

The rooftop terrace is ideal for refreshments, cocktails and light Greek and Mediterranean-inspired meals. Cool off on the cushioned couch in the shady bar area or toast the sunset on cream-coloured sofas overlooking the city. At dinner time, sun loungers on the upper-level pool deck are replaced by tables with prime views of the Acropolis. We had fresh homemade tagliatelle with squid ink, prawns and squid - really fresh and tasty. There was also an amazing salad of prosciutto, parmesan crisps, pine nuts and lemon dressing. It all comes with freshly made bread and local olives. The soundtrack is chilled, the atmosphere great.

If you want to eat out, there are lots of grit-and-groove eateries and mezedopoleia (tapas bars) in the newly gentrified Psiri district; or you can walk into Plaka (10-15 mins) for classic / touristy Greek fare.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Visit the world-famous Acropolis citadel, with its Parthenon, ancient fortifications, beautiful Caryatid statues and museum
  • Explore the ancient theatres, agora (marketplace and Byzantine chapels), stoas, Roman temples and monumental arches
  • Wander through the historic Plaka district at the foot of the Acropolis - flea markets, souvenirs, leather goods, pottery, tavernas, cafés
  • Buy herbs, honey, sweets, nuts and - if you want - fresh fish from the food markets along Athinas street, just a couple of minutes away
  • Spend a morning at the newly-refurbished National Archaeological Museum, Greece’s most important collection of ancient statues, pottery and fragments
  • Catch an evening concert at the Roman outdoor theatre of Herod Atticus (during Athens' Summer Festival) or at the excellent Megaron Concert Hall (all year)
  • Catch the funicular from Kolonaki up the cone-shaped and unmissable Lykavittos (Lycabettus) Hill - or puff your way up the trails through the pines (there are plenty of stops along the way to grab a bite). From the top you get spectacular panoramas across the city, sweeping down to Salamis and the Saronic Gulf
  • Take a taxi to Kaisariani or Daphne monasteries (both about 30 minutes away), on the slopes of Hymettus / Aigaleo hills
  • Take a taxi or drive (45 mins) to Sounion to watch sunset from the spectacularly placed temple of Poseidon
  • Take an early train to Piraeus and hydrofoil (1 hr) to Aegina for a day visiting the island’s elegant town, its temple at Afea and its beaches; or to the nearby islet of Angistri

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Live music
    • Museums / galleries
    • Nightlife
    • Shopping / markets
    • Swimming
  • Kids

    Children over 2 are welcome but it's not really a family hotel. Standard and Executive rooms have sofabeds.

    Best for:

    Children (4-12 years)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Extra Beds Available

    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    Based on 6 independent reviews from i-escape guests

    7/10
    Room
    8/10
    Food
    9/10
    Service
    9/10
    Value
    8/10
    Overall

    The roof top was great. The rest of the hotel is average. The street where the hotel is located is fairly ugly, but it's a short walk to Plaka and Monasteriki.

    7/10,

    A great base from which to explore Athens on foot. The hotel is stylish and the rooms, although on the smaller size, are well designed and comfortable. I particularly liked the Korres toiletries. The hotel has a great breakfast buffet, and the rooftop pool, bar and restaurant are a fantastic place to relax, with good views of the Acropolis. Service was friendly and efficient. Although the area appears a little run down, it felt safe to walk around at night and the hotel is close to a number of good restaurants and bars.

    10/10,

    Awesome hotel with amazing rooftop pool and bar. Great food, cocktails and staff.

    10/10,

    The pool area was great!!!

    8/10,

    Very good value for money in a central location with a nice terrace. We will come back.

    9/10,

    Loved the sun terrace. Tiny view of the Acropolis, in the gaps between the "urban"/ dilapidated building. Which made it funny!
    The room was very small, glad I was on my own.
    Area not easy to walk around at night, by myself. But taxis were friendly and plentiful. The Acropolis museum, with a guided tour is stunning.

    8/10,

    {{ review.rating }}/10, {{ review.firstName }}Anonymous{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},

    Rates for Fresh Hotel