After reading about Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens, Greece featured recently in The Wanderlist - a byline written by Greek-American entrepreneur, publicist, designer and our founder Andria Mitsakos - in PORTER Magazine's summer issue, we wanted to take you on a behind-the-scenes tour of this glam hotel she once called home.
So, join us this WanderWednesday on our visit to Athens where we asked Andria to share a bit more of her beloved hotel and city - consider it as a bonus addition to her piece in PORTER.
HOTEL GRANDE BRETAGNE
Nice welcome to the heartbeat of Athens
One of my rooms at Hotel Grande Bretagne
Fight jet-lag in the multi-awarded GB Spa where you can select through an opulent variety of signature treatments & massages.
I love walking by this bar with its refined18th century tapestry
Then head up to GB Rooftop Bar for majestic sunsets and views of the Acropolis while sipping on your favorite libation - or ask Spyros to make you a martini the way Andria Mitsakos likes it.
TO DO IN ATHENS
SITES TO SEE:
I love the Islamic Art Museum, which is probably the most overlooked museum in Athens. It houses one of Europe’s best collections of Islamic textiles and ceramics, and it’s the source for constant inspiration for me from colour and texture to prints. It also has a great rooftop cafe for coffee, tea and homemade sweets (order the orange cake).
The Numismatic Museum has one of the world’s grandest collections of ancient coins.
Then The Cycladic Museum is a favourite as well. Start on the top floor to get the best education in the city on ancient Greece. It will take you about 20 minutes to visit this level, which also features a fantastic installation cast by my friend Makis Gazis who did an incredible job using real photos of people to show life in the ancient city. Then make your way down to discover the mystery of the Cycladic culture, which, is so incredibly thrilling because you’re looking at a civilisation that is over 3,000-years-old yet their designs were incredibly contemporary; it absolutely thrills me. The café is lovely here for coffee or lunch – I always order the veggie fritatta.
While the Acropolis is a must see, I always tell visitors to walk down my street Dionysiou Areopagitou – and walk up Filopappou Hill, so you can get a true, ancient glimpse of the city. Gazing at Acropolis from here is magical.
Best view of the city? While we have loads of off-the-radar rooftop spots, I love Hotel Grand Bretagne’s rooftop bar as it was my temporary home for a while. The view from St. George Lycabettus is remarkable as well, especially at sunset.
RESTAURANTS TO SAVOR:
Nice-n-Easy in Kolonaki, owned by Dimtiris Christorforidis and Christos Athanasiades, who are visionaries in the country’s farm-to-table movement. Dimitris was the first to open an organic restaurant in Greece after living in Los Angeles most of his adult life. People thought he was crazy, but he worked hard and persevered and now owns two successful restaurants in Athens, a new Italian restaurant Frankie, and upcoming restaurant on Astir Beach, Athens Riviera and four in Mykonos including the new SantAnna, a beach club which launched summer 2017 and opening next month for season.
The best restaurant for fresh seafood in Athens is Papadakis Restaurant. Also in Kolonaki, you will have a delicious evening, especially if you get my standing order: house wine, sautéed prawns as appetizer, the Paros chickpeas which are slowcooked for 15 hours and served with tarama salad. Papadakis is by Greek celebrity chef Argiro Barbargou - known throughout Greece as the ‘First Lady of Greek Cuisine.’ Argiro was born in Paros, where her family heads the beautiful traditional Papadakis Hotel.
SPRING FLOWERS AND FLAWLESS BEAUTY:
The National Gardens are in the centre of the city. They are beautiful and serene and full of wild green parrots. The new Renzo Piano-designed Stavros Niarchos Foundation is also a gorgeous space to reflect near the sea.
I love to indulge and book an appointment with Dimitra Goula - a modern-day alchemist who has created her eponymous artisanal, luxury skincare house as an answer to individuals looking for singularly holistic beauty.
A country blessed with an abundant wild agriculture, Greece serves as the source for the ingredients used to make Dimitra Goula products, which are sold exclusively in her Athens institute, from her website shipped via dry ice, and select retailers. The line must be kept refrigerated and uses the highest-grade organic ingredients; 100% natural with 0% preservatives, 0% colorings, and 0% perfume. Every product is made to order and have a preparation date and an expiration date of three to six months, so really, when in Athens, book an appointment for a flawless look.
Credit: @wanderlista at Dimitra Goula
SHOP CITY STYLE FAVORITES FOR SUMMER:
Orsalia Parthenis : Andria's go-to for chic city basics and beautiful silhouettes for both island and city life.
LALAoUNIS is the country’s most iconic luxury jewelery house and luckily for me they also have a museum - Ilias LALAoUNIS Jewellery Museum - around the corner from The Acropolis. They have fabulous stackable bracelets, which make perfect gifts, and I always treat myself to one LALAoUNIS piece at the start of summer.
Best Wanderlista bag for a day in the city:
The Stella bag, which is named after my mother (also a bestseller item listed in the Wanderlista's Mother's Day Guide). It has three compartments so fits quite a lot and can be shoulder or cross-body. Hands-free is key in Athens.
Available in other colors.
READ MORE IN PORTER MAGAZINE, NOW ON NEWSSTANDS
Cover and page extracted from @portermagazine with permission
All images of Athens and Hotel Grande Bretagne used here, unless specified otherwise, are credited to Hotel Grande Bretagne.
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