Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Athens: Divani Apollon Palace & Spa
At the beginning of September I have been given the opportunity to stay at one of the Divani Collection Hotels in Vouliagmeni, 20km south of Athens. The region is known as a luxury escape for people from Athens, a really pricy area for real estate (among the most expensive in Greece and Europe) but also relaxing and sought-after place to be.
I went to this place with high curiosity as the area had been praised by a friend of mine who is a tourist guide and who had been there before me, and I came to find this:
There were these pools outside (with supplementary indoor pool and spa area),...and one of the pools outside was with salty water - this reminded me of the swimming-pool in Monaco on the Port Hercule - I used to love these kind of pools because 1. you know they are extremely clean while 2. still giving the impression you are swimming in the sea. And if you felt that wasn't right, that wasn't the real deal for you, you could just grab your towel and walk another 15 meters to the beach across the street from the hotel, a private beach for hotel guests.
I took these pictures below from the balcony of a room where a friend of mine was staying. This shows that next to the pool area you have a grass area. I must admit, I have never seen grass like this in all the 10 times I have been to Greece, and I have been there in April and September as well before, but this here at the Divani Hotel was a real treat! It invited me and some friends to some mini-golfing or playing many other games, such as football, however, I wouldn't advise high heels there, the earth below the grass was so soft that even in my ballerina shoes I felt like sinking there.
At the pool bar you could get a drink, but also towels (which I found to be really soft and comfy).
What you see there as being the first floor is actually level zero where my friends and I had breakfast and lunch. The food variety was great - from salad version of all kinds, including the Greek salad to international (Italian, French, Indian to just name a few) and Greek main dishes (Pitas and Mousaka were amongst my favourites) to all kind of sweet goodies but also fruits of the season as well as canned fruits.
This picture of me was taken short time before getting on the shuttle bus to the airport - which is 30minutes away.
Before I take you "into my room", here is the view I had every morning - the quiet sea was so relaxing and at nights the moon would reflect nicely into the water, being accompanied by ships in the distance.
Coming back to the room on the 7th (and top) floor which I got, I must describe the bathroom, which I adored - a lot of light and a lot of space - only for me!!! The icing on the cake was this mirror, of which I know my mother would have been a fan. She owns a magnifying mirror herself, which is really useful if you want to put on the make-up without wearing glasses, but this one had an extra: the light. You could turn on the light which was on the frame of the mirror and see.....just see....everything!
From basic hotel rules, if you leave your towel on the floor you want it to be replaced, whereas your bed sheets will always be replaced. Next to the sink I found this wheel which was a smarter (and maybe more eco-friendly) way of communicating with the maids what I wanted to be replaced and cleaned - towels and sheets included.
I usually don't use the shower gels/shampoos or anything else extra provided by the hotels I go to, but these "babies" were smelling so luring that I had to try them - and I was extremely satisfied.
On the table in front of the bed, inside the room, I found this catalog of "The Leading Hotels of the World" - that's when I realized why the service in the rooms and outside as well as the comfort were so flawless - for my friends in Monaco, you can compare with Hotel de Paris, Hotel Hermitage or Hotel Metropole (except for the architecture, which is more modern in the Divani Hotel).
Before I finish this entry, I must say that I had read some more and some less positive reviews on TripAdvisor before arriving at the hotel, that people could hear through walls or that their pillows were not good enough. I must say: yes - there can be some noise heard from the corridors, but only if you live in a vacuum or a place far from civilization, you can be deranged by it. I slept one night with my window open because I wanted to hear the sea and the wind blow - once I closed my window I felt too isolated.
As for the bed - I just love hard-comfy beds like that one. The pillows were just right - and if I would have needed extra one - there were some in the wardrobe!
What I appreciated the most in my stay at this hotel were the small services which were around small details but which made a difference: the fact that when I got upstairs from a busy day from the conference the curtains were pulled and my bed was ready for me to jump in - and the breakfast list as well as a candy wished me "Good Night!" and "Good Morning" (in a way) - that all made a difference: it made me smile and feel good. And isn't this what we all long for?