Room with the Classic Greecian View
There are many reasons we travel, sometime it's simply to soak up some sun and recharge our batteries but one of the main and enduring reasons we head to exotic climbs is to immerse ourselves in a different culture, and if we are very lucky take in a stunning view. That's exactly what my recent break brought me, a scintillating and indulgent stay in the very heart of the birthplace of modern western civilisation, Athens. With the views from my hotel so good they're still firmly etched on my minds eye.
Hotel Grand Bretagne, with its prime location in Syntagma Square, next to the Parliament building, has the ritual changing of the Evzone guard occurring virtually on the doorstep of a hotel that for over a century's been welcoming royalty, international celebrities and diplomats. Having originally been established for guests on the 'Grand Tour', here tradition and excellence work effortless alongside modern luxuries and indulgences in this city oasis. It's the tallest building in the city so its views of the Acropolis simply take your breath away!
Then there the spa - the perfect antidote to a days sight seeing! We loved the numerous saunas, steam rooms and in particular its reflexology foot massaging basins which I have to say, after a day pounding the sights and streets of this city, were a very welcome treat.
Of course this is a city renowned for having an overabundance of ancient archaeological sites, little wonder as it claims more than 3,000 years of continuous civilisation. But what I hadn't anticipated was revelling in a city where the contemporary and ancient sit so happily together.
With the Olympic Games about to come to London a 'must do' is a visit to the place where it all began, the Panathinaiko or Panathenaic Stadium an athletic stadium that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Reconstructed from the remains of the ancient Greek stadium, the Panathinaiko is the only major stadium in the world built entirely of white marble) and is one of the oldest stadiums in the world. It's breathtaking and can be seen from the Hotel Grand Bretagne roof top. Just head up for breakfast and cast your glance left to see this and right to catch the Parthenon - I'm sure you'll be impressed.
And from bastions of Greek traditions to those of our own - for the most indulgent treat break up a day's sight seeing back at the hotel with a venture to its stunning winter garden restaurant and enjoy their afternoon tea. Simply divine! Another top tip is a visit to the Sunday flea market at Monastiraki Square which, just like this city, really is well worth a visit!