Category: Hotel of the week

New luxury design hotel to open in historic center of Athens

AthensWas Hotel

An image from the AthensWas Hotel Facebook page. The hotel is expecting to open its doors in early April.

 

New digs: A new “luxury design” hotel is preparing to open its doors next month on one of the top tourist thoroughfares in the historic center of Athens — the Dionysiou Areopagitou pedestrian walkway below the Acropolis.

The AthensWas Hotel is scheduled to open April 2. It’s the newest hospitality venture of the Anemi Hotels Group, which operates the luxury Anemi Hotel near Karavostassi port on Folegandros island.

AthensWas will occupy a completely refurbished neoclassical building at 5 Dionysiou Areopagitou, a pedestrian street that passes such iconic attractions as the Acropolis, the Parthenon,  and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in the heart of the city’s monument-rich Ancient Athens district. The walkway — which is a hugely popular strolling route for Athenians as well as tourists — starts near Hadrian’s Arch and continues past the entrance to the Acropolis, where it becomes Apostolou Pavlou Street. From there it winds over to Ermou Street in the Monastiraki neighbourhood. (Click here to read a Visit Greece tourism article that provides more information about the pedestrian walkway and the attractions nearby.)

 

Launch date announced by sister hotel in Folegandros

AthensWas Hotel quietly launched its Facebook page in February, but that contains only the hotel address, telephone number, and the image I posted above, which appears to be the reception lobby. Two days ago, the Anemi Hotel Facebook page announced that AthensWas will be opening April 2, and provided a link to the new AthensWas website, which includes photos and details of the features for its various rooms, suites, and facilities.

According to the website, the hotel’s lobby lounge restaurant will feature “traditional flavours from Greece, the rest of the Mediterranean, and Asia, but all of them remastered to chime with the concept of ‘all-day modern comfort food.'” Guests will enjoy “truly astounding” views from the rooftop bar and restaurant terrace, which will be open from May through October, weather permitting. “The Acropolis looks more magnificent from up here than from anywhere else, because it looks like it might through a magnifying glass,” the website says. The hotel will have a fitness room, meeting room and business center as well.

 

Contact hotel for special opening offers

A banner on the website says “special launch rates” are now being offered; however, no further details are provided, and clicking on a “book now” button simply opens a contact form through which requests for further details may be sent directly to the hotel.

I emailed the hotel to request more information plus any available media photos of the hotel exterior, but I have not yet heard back. I will update this post when and if AthensWas does respond to my message.

Click here to visit the AthensWas website.

 

AthensWas Hotel

This image, from the AthensWas website, shows one of the suite interiors

 

AthensWas Hotel

The AthensWas Hotel location is marked with the red symbol on this map from Google. The Acropolis, one of the world’s top historic and archaeological attractions, is shown in the upper left quarter of the map.

 

I wish I was going here for dinner!

Alati seafood restaurant

I love the high arched ceiling and rustic stone walls of the dining room at Alati, a new seafood restaurant that has just opened at the Vedema Resort on Santorini. Located in Megalochori village, the Starwood Luxury Collection member resort consists of suites and villas in 45 coquette houses built around a 400-year-old winery. This photo of Alati’s stunning interior caught my eye when it was posted on the Vedema Resort Facebook page today. To see more of the exclusive resort, which follows “a barefoot chic philosophy,” check out this 1 minute 46-second promotional video (below) from the Vedema website.

 

Aenaon Villas’ traditional design blends beautifully into Santorini’s spellbinding caldera landscape

Aenaon Villas Santorini

Aenaon Villas sits nestled against the side of a rugged cliff on Santorini’s spectacular caldera. Designed in traditional Cycladic architecture, Aenaon’s seven luxury villas boast breathtaking views of nearby Thirasia island (upper left)

 

 

Aenaon Villas swimming pool views of the Santorini caldera

as well as Imerovigli village and Skaros Rock (upper left), the Nea Kameni volcano island (top center) and of course the mesmerizing blue waters of the Aegean Sea. Click on the image to view a larger-size photo.

 

 

Perfect fit: Spectacular scenery and magnificent views are the top two natural attractions that always take my breath away on Santorini.  But the island’s outstanding architecture can leave me almost as speechless — particularly some of the traditionally-designed homes and hotels perched precariously on the crests and sides of the precipitous caldera cliffs.

In fact, one of the things I enjoy most about walking the scenic clifftop path from Fira to Oia is admiring the architecture and design of buildings we pass along the way. I am absolutely fascinated by the sight of hotel suites, terraces and infinity swimming pools built into the sides of sheer cliff walls that rise hundreds of feet above the sea. I am also amazed to see villas and boutique hotels under construction on cliffside real estate I would have considered to be unlikely places for new building development.

 

Captivating views on the Fira to Oia cliff walk

We haven’t done a cliff walk since our last visit to Santorini in 2006, but I know I will blown away by the natural and man-made scenery whenever we return to take the hike again. The views of the caldera, the sea, the Nea Kameni volcano and nearby Thirasia island are timeless, and will eternally be captivating. The four cliffside villages (Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia) will still be impressive, too. And some new (since our last visit) developments along the caldera — like Aenaon Villas near Imerovigli — will be waiting to “wow” me.

A complex of seven luxurious villas, Aenaon was built in 2009 and occupies a superb vantage point along the cliff path between Imerovigli and Oia. Its traditional Cycladic architecture, designed by Giorgos Zacharopoulos, features natural elements including boulders and stone walls that enable the villas to blend perfectly into their surroundings. Though they’re certainly eye-catching and beguiling, the brilliant white buildings don’t detract from the spectacular scenery or appear out of place — they actually complement the rocky, rugged terrain and add drama to the location’s imposing landscape.

 

Killer views from terraces and the infinity pool

But Aenaon isn’t just beautiful buildings with killer views from the villas, terraces, infinity pool and other points on the property. According to travellers who have reviewed the villas on sites like TripAdvisor.com, Aenaon is a “paradise” and a place “dreams are made of.” As of May 10, Aenaon was the #1 B&B and Inn property on the TripAdvisor chart for Imerovigli (out of 23 listings). It had 297 reviews, 293 of which rated it “excellent” and the other four “very good.”

Below is a series of photos of Aenaon Villas which proprietors Giorgos and Alexandra have kindly permitted me to republish on my blog. Check the Aenaon Villas website for further information about the villas as well as more stunning photos of the property, including the interiors of the suites. The website includes a chart listing rates for the four main travel seasons that Aenaon is open, and has a section where you can check availability and book online. Dozens more beautiful photos of the villas can be seen on the Aenaon Villas Facebook page, or by clicking on this link to the Aenaon Villas Pinterest profile.

 

 View toward the villas from the infinity pool at Aenaon Villas in Santorini

An evening view of the villas from the terrace next to the infinity pool. Click the image to view a full-size photo.

 

 

Aenaon Villas Santorini

A panoramic view from the infinity pool terrace at sunset

 

 

Aenaon Villas Santorini

Villa view from the far side of the infinity pool

 

 

Aenaon Villas  Santorini

Villa Elidami, one of the seven luxury villas at Aenaon

 

 

Aenaon Villas Santorini

I love the sharp colour contrasts between the brown volcanic landscape, the cobalt sky, the turquoise pool water and the stark white buildings and grounds

 

 

Aenaon Villas Santorini

This photo by Vangelis Beltzenitis captures the infinity pool and terrace at sunset. The pool and deck offer jaw-dropping views of Imerovigli village and Skaros Rock (left) as well as the volcanic isles Nea Kameni and Palia Kameni (center).

 

 

Aenaon Villas

Swimming pool and terrace view toward Thirasia island

 

 

Aenaon Villas

I could admire the scenery from one of those lounge chairs for hours on end

 

 

Aenaon Villas

The caldera cliffs loom large to the south of the infinity pool

 

 

Aenaon Villas

This photo by Vangelis Beltzenitis shows two of the beautiful pools and a view of the marvellous caldera scenery

 

 

Aenaon Villas

Photographer Louisa Nikolaidou captured this side view of Aenaon Villas with part of Oia village visible in the background.

 

 

Aenaon Villas

The entrance to a quiet courtyard sitting area

 

 

Aenaon Villas

Another view from the swimming pool

 

 

Aenaon Villas

A Vangelis Beltzenitis photo capturing the sky, one of the villas, and some of the surrounding landscape

 

 

Aenaon Villas

Twilight view from the seaview terrace

 

 

Aenaon Villas

Twilight view of one of the villas

 

 

Aenaon Villas

The villas and a large stone wall behind the swimming pool

 

 

Aenaon Villas

A breathtaking view from the swimming pool at sunset

 

 

Aenaon Villas

This photo of a surreal cloud formation passing above the infinity pool was posted on the Aenaon Villas Facebook page on May 3

 

 

Giorgos and Alexandra from Aenaon Villas

Giorgos and Alexandra are the proprietors and hosts at Aenaon Villas 

 

 

Aenaon Villas

Succulent vegetation on the rugged landscape beside the villas

 

 

Aenaon Villas

Just one of the many exhilarating views from Aenaon Villas

 

 

Aenaon Villas

This is my favourite photo of Aenaon Villas because it highlights the buildings’ traditional Cycladic architecture while clouds provide a dramatic backdrop. The villa complex was designed by Giorgos Zacharopoulos.

 

 

Spring colours at Epi Studios on Paros

Epi Studios Matsas Windmill Paros

A bougainvillea-covered trellis shades a window at the Epi Studios Matsas Windmill hotel in Naoussa village on Paros

 

 

Colourful corner: It finally feels like spring in Toronto today, but we’ve got still got a few weeks to go before spring flowers begin to bloom. Gardens, yards and parks are foul-smelling, muddy swaths of brown and grey as remaining patches of dirt-covered snow and ice gradually melt away.

To get a glimpse of greenery and spring flowers in the meantime, I’ve been looking through photos from my May 2012 visit to Paros, where vibrant gardens and landscaping around whitewashed houses provided picture-postcard scenes throughout Naoussa village.

One corner in Naoussa was particularly colourful thanks to the bougainvillea,  flowers, bushes and trees growing on the grounds of Epi Studios Matsas Windmill, a hotel complex of 18 kitchen-equipped studios a short walk from Ag Anargyroi beach.

 

Not much information available online

Out of curiosity, I searched online for information about the hotel, to see what the rooms look like and find out what it costs to stay there.

Surprisingly, I couldn’t find a website for the property — only dozens of listings for it on booking sites like Expedia, otel.com, dhr and others. Although the listings include some photos showing the traditionally-decorated rooms, I couldn’t find prices — all the dates I entered into the various different search fields showed no availability. And there aren’t many online reviews providing descriptions of what it’s like to stay there. For instance, the Epi Studios listing on TripAdvisor.com only has four reviews, the most recent of which was posted in 2010.

Nonetheless, Epi Studios is still a picturesque place to see if you happen to stay elsewhere in Naoussa and take a walk around the town, as the photos below indicate.

 

Street view of the Matsas Windmill and adjacent hotel buildings at Epi Studios

Street view of Epi Studios Matsas Windmill

 

 

Street view of the Epi Studios building and Matsas Windmill

Another street view of the Epi Studios and Matsas Windmill

 

 

Epi Studios Matsas Windmill

Bougainvillea clings to the wall beside the Epi Studios sign

 

 

Epi Studios Matsas Windmill

Flowering shrubs add more bursts of colour in the gardens at Epi Studios

 

 

Epi Studios Matsas Windmill

A view of the Matsas Windmill, which stands proudly near the corner of an intersection in Naoussa village

 

 

The most colourful hotel in the Cyclades

Sun of Mykonos Studios

Eye-popping colours greet guests at the Sun of Mykonos Studios in the Klouvas area of Mykonos island, as this image from the studios’ Facebook page illustrates

 

 

Kaleidoscope of colour: A brightly painted hotel on Mykonos catches plenty of attention from motorists driving the highway from Mykonos Town to Ano Mera village and many of the island’s famous beaches.

With its bold red, blue, orange, yellow and green doors, shutters, handrails and decor accents, along with landscaped grounds bursting with brilliant bougainvillea blooms, geraniums and other flowers, Sun of Mykonos Studios is a veritable kaleidoscope of colour that turns the heads of many people passing by on the island’s busy main highway.

But I’m surprised that its reasonable rates don’t stop more people in their tracks or draw a waiting list a mile long.

Although Mykonos is one of the most expensive tourist destinations in Greece, Sun of Mykonos offers 35 air conditioned studios at amazingly affordable rates.

From September 1 to 15 of this year, for example, the standard nightly rate for a double room was €40, while a triple was €60 and an apartment for 4 persons was just €80. Even in August, which is the ultimate peak season for travel to the Greek Islands, a room was still available for €85 per night.

 

Sun of Mykonos Studios

The Sun of Mykonos Studios has a swimming pool with sunbeds and a poolside bar. The property is only 900 meters from Ftelia beach.

 

 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2