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Athens' Grande Bretagne Hotel Owner Says Won't Be Sold

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Τhe Grande Bretagne Hotel in Syntagma Square, Athens. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Markos Houzouris)

ATHENS – Greece's most iconic hotel, the Grande Bretagne in the capital – which has housed celebrities, oligarchs, and was seized by the Nazis in World War II -  is not up for sale, the Greek company that owns it said, denying media reports.

Lampsa Hellenic Hotels issued a statement that, “There are no advanced, or preliminary, or any ‘negotiations’ whatsoever with Arab or any other investors. There is no thought, plan or program for the hotel’s sale, not as a whole or in parts,” it added.

Many Greek hotels are under crushing economic pressure because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has closed some and left most near empty with people either restricted from flying or afraid to travel.

Despite all that, the company said that it is “carrying out investments, focusing on the effort to return to normalcy and planning its future development,” the hotel the preferred spot for the wealthy and where rooms even now begin at 399 euros ($468.33) a night for the prime spot in Syntagma Square. 

Media reports speculated it was going to be sold to a Qatar-based fund for 700 million euros ($821.63 million) but no more details were given.

The  structure was built during 1842 as a house for Antonis Dimitriou, a wealthy Greek businessman from the island of Lemnos, 12 years after independence of Greece from the Ottoman Empire. 

In 1874, it was bought by Efstathios Lampsas, who restored it with an 800,000 drachma loan and named it the Grande Bretagne and it has since then been the most recognized hotel landmark in the country. 

It was renovated in 2003 at a cost of 112 million euros ($131.46 million.) it has 320 rooms rooms and suites, including a 400-square meter (4,305-square foot) suite on the the fifth floor and a roof garden restaurant with a stunning direct view of the Acropolis.