Andy Mossack enjoys the stunning views from The Alex, a boutique hotel on the Athens Riviera.
It is quite remarkable that just ten minutes from the centre of Athens you can be a world away out by the Mediterranean on the Athens Riviera. It’s certainly worth contemplating for anyone thinking of coming to Athens to stay for a few days. Being in the centre may have its advantages, but so does being on the coast, and The Alex perched high up on Monte Kastella above the lovely horseshoe harbour of Mikrolimano is a perfect base.
This recently opened boutique hotel, part of the 5-star Santikos Collection, is a contemporary haven from the hustle and bustle of downtown Athens. The simple minimalist design belies the real attraction of this place which becomes clear the minute you step inside. There’s a cosy warmth here which no architect can replicate as it is all about social interaction. A great front of house team, on point, doing what they do best and that’s making you feel a welcome guest in their house.
Of course, having a spectacular rooftop view is the icing on the cake. The 180-degree bird’s eye view from the Nest restaurant and bar stretches along the coast on one side while the Acropolis stands sentinel above the city on the other. Come summer this is an open-air space, but for now, in December, it’s behind floor to ceiling glass, but that doesn’t diminish the impact. It is a jaw on the floor moment.
But If you can tear yourself away from the view for a moment and focus on the food, you won’t be disappointed either. Breakfast includes a tray of freshly warmed pastries and breads with cheeses and cold cuts and made to order hot dishes. There’s a range of all-day fare after 11am but come nightfall, the lights twinkle far below, the vibe’s laid-back clubby and the bistro menu beckons.
With plenty of competition down by the harbour, lined with traditional seafood restaurants, the Nest offers a contemporary alternative. Impressive salads that Greeks do so well; the beetroot salad with feta cream, valerian, rocket, almond flakes and garlic flavoured crostini €10 was a standout as was Greek burrata, aubergine and courgette pickles and tomato marmalade €14. The mains utilise Greek pasta in various forms such as trachanoto and striftoudia but the slow-cooked chicken fillet with buckwheat and baby vegetables €22 was a winner for me.
There are 34 guestrooms ranging in size from 23 sqm basic up to 40 sqm suites. The rooms are compact and unfussy, in line with the minimalist style, and very comfortable with most having balconies. My bathroom had a very impressive grey stone shower and matching sink with luxury toiletries. Although the sea views are not quite as awe-inspiring as the rooftop, they’re still very watchable from the comfort of a balcony chair and a nice glass of red.
The Alex has a prime spot on the lofty Monte Kastella neighbourhood, probably the most desirable area of Piraeus, filled with neo-classical mansions (a few crumbling now) and townhouses and apartments. It’s just a few minutes walk down to Mikrolimano Harbour and there’s a very fancy marina a few minutes further on towards Piraeus.
It’s a 10-minute walk to the nearest station where you could take a train two stops into the centre of Athens or a lazy tram all along the coast and around the bay where there are some lovely beach areas to explore.
The Alex offers a genuine alternative to basing yourself in the centre of Athens, and for me the draw of returning to a Mediterranean Sea breeze and that knock out view is incredibly appealing.
Tell me more about The Alex Hotel on the Athens Riviera
Alex Hotel, Alexandrou Papanastasiou Avenue 109, Piraeus, 18533 Greece
T:+30-210-4175108 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rooms from €80 per night depending on the time of year.
Olympic Holidays is offering 7 nights at The Alex from £525 per person based on 2 people travelling. The package includes 7 nights’ bed and breakfast in a double room with flights from London Stansted airport (other UK airports available). Departures are available on 14th July 2022, this includes a 42% saving (£390pp), Price was £915 per person. Call Olympic Holidays 0208 492 6868 or click here