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Herodion Hotel, Athens, Greece

We stayed at the Herodion Hotel for 4 nights whilst in Athens for the Athens Classic Marathon. Before we go into details, here’s a short film that I made on arriving at the hotel. It’s not meant to be a glossy film showing the accommodation at it’s best, just an honest first impression on what the average visitor might encounter on arrival.

Location - The Herodion Hotel is at 4 Rovertou Galli Street, a 10 minute walk at most from the Acropolis Metro Station, and 20 minute walk to the Acropolis ruins. I reached the Acropolis Metro Station direct from the airport, it cost 8 Euro and took less than an hour, with one simple change of trains at Syntagma Station. From Acropolis Station you head down the street, with the new museum on your right, then take the first right. This street then becomes Rovertou Galli Street after about 300 metres. The hotel is on the right, just as the road begins to climb.

The bus stop to Cape Sounion is a 15 minute walk from the hotel, and the Plaka, Athens’ old town, is all around, although it’s main centre is the other side of the Acropolis hill, a pleasant 25 minute walk away through narrow streets. The new Acropolis Museum, which houses sculptures from the Parthenon and is well worth a visit, is right next to the hotel. And most importantly, if you are in town for the marathon race, the hotel is well place for attending the Athens Marathon expo (which is a 15 minute walk away in the National Gardens) and the race itself (buses to the start leave from Syntagma Square, a 20 minute walk away, and the finish line is also 20 minute walk from the hotel).

The hills to the west of the Acropolis are an easy 25 minutes walk from the hotel. They offer great views of the ruins/sunset.

Check In/Reception – Check in is after midday; the receptionist had my reservation to hand and I was checked in within 5 minutes. Note, you’ll need a credit card to check in as security. The relaxing area between reception and bar was beautifully decorated in a very calm, classic style. Plenty of wood furniture, comfy cusions, reading material and complimentary fruit here. There were always staff in this area too, discreet but there if you needed them. All of them spoke very good English. In fact, this was something I noticed in all of Athens, there was never any issue with making myself understood.

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The Room - My room’s main feature and selling point, the thing that caught my attention immediately, was the view through the double glazed windows of the Acropolis and in particular the Parthenon. It was superb, day or night.

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The room was fitted out with a King sized double bed, a TV with several satellite channels (including the BBC world service), a safe, mini bar, wooden chair and desk, air condition, ambient low level lighting and double insulated windows. There was also a good signal for the Wi Fi, which was free in the room. It was fast, I uploaded the film for this review in under 90 minutes (can take 4 times that long on slow connections).

The bed was firm and comfortable, and the linen was changed anytime I asked for the room to be made up (I only asked once during my 4 day stay, but the option was to have it changed daily).

The room wallpaper was interesting. Made from cloth and soft to the touch, it would ‘give’ a little when I leaned on it. Gave the whole room a very cosy feel.

The bathroom was well equiped and spotless. The bath was large (I’m 6ft tall with long legs but I could stretch out in it) and the hot water was there instantly (well, 15 seconds after you turned on the tap). The toiletries were renewed daily, as were the towels.

There is a school between the hotel and the Acropolis, so during the day there is a little noise from the kids in the playground at break time 9but I was mostly out sightseeing at that time). There was very little car noise. Considering this is downtown Athens, the area is actually remarkable quiet. Often all I heard were the church bells, which rang early evening most days.

Talking about noise though, my neighbour did have a habit of showering very early morning (4am!) and the sound of hot water working its way to his taps would wake me. There’s a vent at foot level by the room door, so I guess the noise got into my room this way. So, I’d advise you take some ear plugs if you’re a light sleeper.

As nice as the room was, and I did find it to be very comfortable, I’ll have to say that the view provided me with my lingering memory. Wow, what a sight it was.

The Restaurants – A buffet style breakfast was included in the room rate and was available from 7 until 10am every day. There was a decent mix of food styles, with traditional Greek items such as yoghurt, honey, olives, feta and a large array of pastries laid out alongside more continental items like fried/scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, orange juice, muesli and croissant.

The yoghurt was the creamiest I’d tasted in years, a real treat, and I loved it spooned over peaches and diced fruit, topped with a dob of blackberry jam and drizzled with local honey.

The fried eggs were cooked just right, in my opinion. Hard enough so you could spoon them onto your plate but soft so that when you cut into them the yolks they ran, and they’re weren’t very greasy either.

The breads – there was a large choice, home baked loaves, granary rolls and softer ‘rings’ – were all fresh, my favourite being the soft, white rings, that went well with boiled eggs, tomatoes and spreadable cheese.

I was very happy with the breakfast at the Herodion. The food quality was extremely high, the choice large and the dishes were refilled before they were empty so you could always have what you wanted. The staff were also very chatty here, and genuinely friendly, greeting you each morning with a few gentle questions about what you planned to do that day, that sort of thing. I liked that.

The Roof Gardens - An exit on the 4th Floor takes you out onto the 2 tier roof gardens. Both have brilliant views of the Acropolis, the museum and the city centre. The 4th floor has an olive garden, a sunbathing deck and 2 warm outdoor jacuzzis which are operated by a card you get at reception. The 5th floor is purely a sundeck.

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Both roof gardens really do offer a lovely, quiet space to relax and soak up the sun, and of course somewhere from which to appreciate those magnificent views.

In Summary - The Herodion Hotel has a great location for both general sightseeing and for attending the Athens Marathon expo (which is a 15 minute walk away in the National Gardens) and the race itself (buses to the start leave from Syntagma Square, a 20 minute walk away, and the finish line is also 20 minute walk from the hotel). If you want to do any training runs before the marathon race, there is a nice route that starts just around the corner from the hotel that takes you along the pedestrianised road up onto Philopappus Hill.

The breakfast is of a very high standard, the staff are genuinely friendly and helpful, and my room was well equiped, quiet and had an amazing view of the Acropolis. The hotel is also a very reasonable price if you’re staying in November (the time of the marathon), when the double room rate is around 98 Euro.

It’s a large, international standard hotel with plenty of capacity, yet the staff manage to retain the friendly, personal atmosphere that you’re more likely to find in a smaller, family run hotel, and to me this is very welcome.

Because of all these plus points (and the fact that my early showering neighbour was my only minus point!) we say that the Herodion Hotel is Very Highly Recommended.

For more information on the Herodion Hotel, please email herodion@herodion.gr or click www.herodion.com

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