Hotel Reviews: Four Seasons Astir Palace, Athens

There’s something quintessentially quixotic about Four Seasons’ reimagining of Astir Palace.


A cornerstone of the allegorical Athens Riviera, the iconic hotel grandly saw it all during its heydey in the sixties, whence it was more than just a place to sleep for prolific personalities from Frank Sinatra to Brigitte Bardot, who created the stuff of legend when she posed for photographers on a private beach (within the complex)  in a wide brimmed hat and a diminutive pink bikini. There was always a room reserved for Aristotle Onassis, while Barack Obama was one of the last guests before Astir Palace closed for a spectacular renovation, reopening in time for Summer 2019 – under the unparalleled stewardship of Four Seasons.

img_9499
View From Our Room in Arion

To say that the sprawling resort is a destination in its own right, would be an understatement. Cloistered within the pine-peppered peninsula –  on the underrated southern tip of the Greek capital – the new Four Seasons is an idyllic oasis where our day’s the most pressing decision is, pool first or beach.

We’re here for the week, hunkered down in a sea-facing room in Arion, one of the two buildings within the complex.

The other, Nafsika, is more lofty and certainly far livelier, with luxury boutiques and a colossal lounge bedecked with the glossy interiors characteristic of Martin Brudnizki (the designer behind Annabel’s, Sexy Fish and Brasserie of Light in London). Nafsika is also quite distinctly geared towards families with tots in tow; whilst Arion has a more toned-down, grown-up edge that instantly resonates with us. Think contemporary-chic aesthetics lifted by a retro twist.

The iconic bungalows which were once a landmark of Astir Palace have also been restored to a new-age glory, with almost half (thirty) boasting their own private pool and most leading down to an intimate cove, lapped by the cyan-hued sea.

NAFSIKA
AVRA Lounge, Nafsika

Our room has a sybaritic sense of style with lavish touches a-plenty, from the marble-drenched bathroom (with a luxuriant bathtub positioned to render the dreamiest vista of the Riviera) to a titanic TV which fades into a mirror one when you need one. The breezy balcony is of course, a highlight. It’s large enough for R.R.M. to indulge in sunset yoga as I loll in my cosy chair, leafing through an easy read.

As for the bed, it’s one of the softest we’ve slept in, so much so that we consecutively hit snooze on the alarm intended to wake us up in time to make the most of Four Seasons’ all-encompassing facilities.

img_9467

img_9469

Luckily breakfast is served until almost noon and is worth eventually hotfooting it out of bed for.

There’s an Italian-inspired spread in Mercato, the modish trattoria in Nafsika; whilst Pelagos is a sophisticated setting for traditional Greek dishes, executed with a modern finesse. As dazzling as Brudnizki’s interiors are, we always settle ourselves on the outside terrace,  fashioned in almost cruise-like manner with its dramatic views of the Aegean which have inspired Pelagos’ menu.

img_9437
Terrace, Pelagos

The Acropolis is just a 45 minute drive away, as is the port which can ferry us to the fabled islands along the Saronic Gulf. Not to mention, the bucket list brimming with attractions within the seaside suburb of Vouliagmeni in which the hotel is situated.

Unsurprisingly, we find ourselves blissfully ensconced within the resort for most of the week, revelling in all there is to do… which is nothing really, save flitting between the spectacular salt-water pools and private beaches; grazing on ceviche (at the poolside grill, Helios) and saganaki (at the beach-side Greek Taverna 37); and sipping Rosé (perched on the waterfront terrace, AVRA) until we’re finally lulled into a sun-drenched stupor in one of the many cabanas that speckle the lengthy boardwalk connecting the different pockets of the property.

The rose-tinted glow of a Greek sunset is a breathtaking sight on which to wind down any evening, especially when seen from the infinity bar at Matsuhisa – a Nobu franchise majoring in the chef’s signature Japanese-Peruvian dishes.

img_0045

cadfdf70-8148-416b-baa1-5a480fc7aa7b

img_0097

Then there’s the Spa, with restorative treatments rooted in the teachings of Hipprocrates, clinical techniques and mineral-rich oils created with herbs grown on the grounds of the hotel. The soothing waters of the hydrotherapy pool – with its glass-fronted sea views – have a healing quality to them, while we discover the hamam and aromatherapy grotto to be just as cathartic.

All 303 rooms (including the 61 bungalows) are occupied during our visit, yet the expansive space offers an inimitable air of intimacy wherever we wander.

In true Four Seasons fashion, service is unimpeachable, unhurried and endearingly-warm. An overwhelming majority of the 700-strong staff (including the dapper Canadian-Greek General Manager, Sam Ioannidis) are fiercely-proud Greek diaspora, who have returned to their homeland to play a part in a thrilling new Chapter that sees the rejuvenation and revival of the Athens Riviera.

img_9803

Needless to say, it’s all  perfectly photogenic of course. If a picture is worth a thousand words, perhaps I’ll let a few of my visual memories bespeak of the elysian experience which has inspired us to make a tradition of revisiting this corner of paradise. 

img_0025

img_9947

img_9625

img_9873

img_0061

img_9522

img_9693

img_0760


Four Seasons Astir Palace, Apollonos 40, Vouliagmeni 166 71, Greece | https://www.fourseasons.com/athens/


We booked our stay independently at Four Seasons Astir Palace. All views expressed in this article are mine and mine alone, as are the photographs published (please do not reproduce without permission). 


Follow more of our Greek adventures on Instagram | You can also sign up to my newsletter here, for a bi-monthly bulletin on the latest word in food, travel, culture, life and style.

Author: The Foodie Diaries

A food travel & lifestyle journal, chronicling my culinary and other adventures around town.

One thought

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s