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Philippos Hotel, Athens, Greece

We stayed at the well-priced Philippos Hotel for 3 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 Philippos Hotel is at 3 Mitseon Street, Acropolis, a 10 minute walk 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. After about 300 metres, at the crossroads, look left. The Philippos Hotel is 100 metres down this street on the right.

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 just up the street from the hotel, and visible from some of the rooms. And most importantly, if you are in town for the marathon race, the hotel is well placed for attending the Athens Marathon expo (which is a 15 minute walk away in the National Gardens) and the race itself (free 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 resevation 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 to the left of reception was beautifully decorated in a classic, airy style. Plenty of comfy furniture, reading material and computers to use free of charge 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 - Apart from being very large, my room’s main feature and selling point, the thing that caught my attention immediately, was the view from the balcony of the Acropolis and in particular the Parthenon. It was superb.

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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, comfy sofa and air condition.

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 our 3 day stay, but the option was to have it changed daily).

The balcony, as you can see in the video, was huge, as was the corridor that led from the reception room, which housed the phone and another sofa, to the bedroom.

The bathroom was well equiped and spotless. The shower was forceful 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 was very little car noise; considering this is downtown Athens, the area is actually remarkable quiet.

I had a look at a twin room on the floor below mine. It was just as well appointed and the balcony was a little bigger with sunbeds supplied, although it had a view of the Acropolis Museum rather than the Acropolis itself.

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 boiled eggs, sausages, sandwiches, cheese, orange juice, muesli and croissant.

The yoghurt was the creamy type that the Greeks do so well, 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 restaurant also offered a well thought-out special menu created for marathon runners.

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I was very happy with the breakfast at the Philippos. 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 Roof Gardens - The Philippos does not have a roof garden of it’s own but guests can use the facilities at the owners other hotel, The Herodion, which is just 150 metres away. An exit on the 4th Floor of the Herodion 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.

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 Philippos 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 – as we’ve already stated, free buses to the start line leave from Syntagma Square, a 20 minute walk away, and the finish line at the Panathenaic Stadium is also A 20 minute walk from the hotel.

If you want to do any training runs before the marathon race, there is a lovely trail route that starts just around the corner from the hotel that takes you along the pedestrianised road up onto Philopappus Hill.

The breakfast is good, the staff are genuinely friendly 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).

It’s a large, 3 star 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 hotel, and to me this is very welcome.

Because of all these plus points we say that the Philippos Hotel is Very Highly Recommended.

For more information on the Philippos Hotel, please email phillipos@herodion.gr or click www.philipposhotel.gr

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