By Aurelia Smeltz
The Sofitel Hotel at Athens Airport is the perfect respite for travelers who need relaxation and pampering after a stimulating holiday in Greece, and before boarding the airplane for the long trip home. If you were on the mainland or the islands for two weeks or two months, you owe yourself the convenience of unwinding in an outstanding oasis of tranquility, literally steps from the airport.
It is a luxurious five-star facility with French art de recevoir and overlooks the lovely Mesoghaia (middle earth) Valley. If you are staying for a few days, a Concierge can arrange a guided tour of Athens or, if your desire is to visit the Greek islands, private transportation to Piraeus can be arranged. Do your travel plans allow you to stay for one night only? The Sofitel is your best choice, especially if you have an early morning flight. You are 50 meters from the entrance to the airport; there is no need to awaken earlier than necessary to board a shuttle bus.
I had the good fortune to be a guest at The Sofitel at the end of October. My desire was to put the enchantment of Greece in a bottle and take it with me. So…to prolong this feeling, I chose the Sofitel as my final destination.
The Sofitel is a short drive from the center of the city where you can visit the Parthenon, museums, Athens Constitution Square, Helexpo Palace exhibition center and Olympic Stadium. Or, you may choose to simply stroll through the famous Plaka shopping district. If you do not have a car, however, hop on the Suburban train line next to the hotel and in twenty minutes you will arrive at an amazing mall with high end shops and excellent restaurants.
The hotel boasts 345 rooms that are soundproofed, 2 executive floors, 12 suites, and 1 presidential suite all with Sofitel “MyBed” mattress that ensures guests’ ultimate comfort. All of these rooms are equipped with high speed internet access, a mini bar, and safe deposit box; 24-hour room service is available.
There are three restaurants and you can choose fine or casual dining. During my stay, the Karavi Restaurant on the 9th Floor had a menu that offered grilled gambas and croaker, roasted sea bass, a filet of lamb, and a breast of duck with caramelized pineapple. Starters ranged from a warm salad of seasonal vegetables to warm duck foie gras poèlè. The Karavi is noted, also, for its aperitifs.
In the lobby’s Mesoghali restaurant, there are wide choices for breakfast and lunch that range from express or a la carte selections to full buffets. (The breakfast buffet is wonderful!!). The Karavi and Mesoghali restaurants serve 24-hour Mediterranean dishes and gourmet French cuisine. The more casual Artemis bar in the lobby offers any drink you can imagine along with selections of sandwiches and appetizers; the Artemis has an outdoor terrace where I enjoyed lunch and a chat with fellow travelers.
During my second full day at the hotel, I relaxed in the well-being and spa area on the 9th floor. After a swim, it was pleasant to rest on a lounge and prepare for my homeward journey by catching up on the news in two English-language newspapers provided for guests. I had avoided newspapers and TV while on Crete and the newspapers helped prepare me for my reentry into the United States.
The spa is full-service and offers facials, massages, manicures, and pedicures. At the end of my next odyssey in Greece I plan to book a room at the Sofitel for three nights and, if you need to reach me, you will find me in the spa, indulging myself in all it has to offer. To book a room at the Sofitel, please visit its website at http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-3167-sofitel-athens-airport/index.shtml. Room prices vary according to the season.