I was in Athens recently and, while I really wanted to go back to the huge suite at the Grand Hyatt, I decided to try a different points hotel to get a better idea of what was around.
Hotel Review: Academia of Athens, Marriott Autograph Hotel
Marriott actually has many Athens hotel options, especially since the merger with SPG. There are two fantastic hotels that are right in the thick of things – Hotel Grande Bretagne and King George (both Luxury Collection hotels) – but they command higher point rates (currently 55,000 but normally 60,000 points per night).
With the free night certificate that comes with some Marriott cards, you need to find a hotel that is up to a Category 5 and does not cost more than 35,000 points. Fortunately, there are a few of those that exist in Athens but I definitely would recommend the new Academia of Athens hotel for your next stay – on points or with that certificate!
Brand New Hotel!
I was there just a mere 10 days after the hotel had opened! I had a chance to talk with some of the staff members and found that they were all exceptionally proud of this new hotel and that most of them were hotel veterans (some from other brands and competitors). I have stayed at several hotels within a week or two of opening and am always interested to see how well they are doing. Well, except for the rooftop bar, the Academia of Athens is fully open and more than ready to go!
The Location – Academia of Athens Review
Athens has a very decent metro system and is actually a really nice city to get around on foot as well (though it can be a bit hilly!). The hotel is a mere 600 meters from the large and very popular center of Syntagma Square and a little over 1 mile by foot from the Acropolis.
The nearest metro stop is less than 1/4 mile away (300 meters) and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants in the nearby vicinity as well (including a McDonalds and a Starbucks – if you HAVE to have those things! But, skip the Starbucks and order from the Mikel next door – cheaper and really good coffee as well!).
Personally, I preferred the location of the Academia of Athens over the Grand Hyatt when it comes to being a pedestrian. The area around the Academia was a much more walker-friendly area. Now that Lime has scooters all over the city, you could always just hop one of those anyway!
Check-In | Academia of Athens Review
As is common with many boutique hotels, the check-in area is less cookie-cutter check-in and more like a friendly reception of sorts. The agents I spoke with were very friendly and quickly recognized by (lowly Gold) Marriott status.
The agent that checked me in took me up to the room to show me around and introduce me to some things about the hotel on the way up. I should also mention here that he hurried out of my room after making sure everything was set – not waiting for any tip.
There is a small bar area when you first enter before getting the the check-in desk. This will likely be a very popular place with people who face longer lines upon check-in.
One thing they did mention to me was that the hotel has had a very healthy booking capacity since their opening with many people staying on points. So, it does seem that many have already found out about this gem so if you plan on redeeming your certificate here, I would try to do it sooner rather than later!
Also, they brought me a nice fruit plate as a welcome gift!
The Room | Academia of Athens Review
When you stay in large cities (like Athens), it is to be expected that the rooms are going to be on the smaller side. When they aren’t, it is always a very pleasant surprise.
The room I was given at the Academia of Athens was a surprise in this regard – the floor space was not that small but the room was smaller than I would have thought. This was actually due to a very large bathroom with an awesome soaking tub, a rainforest shower area near the tub, the sink, and a separate toilet room.
The room itself, though smallish, was actually very cozy! At no point did I feel squished in here (unlike a property like the Union Square Hyatt!). I think part of this was due to the very comfortable sitting chair in the corner. It made for a nice studio apartment feel. It was a great place to sit and read with a nearby light and access to outlets. Overall, I really liked that spot!
The coffee capsules were free (take that, Grand Hyatt) as was a large complimentary bottle of water. There was a desk (not too deep), a TV, a large closet area and the bed.
I actually didn’t notice this until check-out time but there was a pillow menu on the nightstand – I have had this at other hotels and it is an awesome touch! So many hotels fail in the pillow department and I realize that I may have been just the first or second to use the pillows in this room, but they were some of the most comfortable pillows that I have had in a hotel (and I didn’t even order any!).
The view wasn’t anything that impressive but I was not expecting anything since the reservation pretty clearly mentioned that.
Tech and Outlets
One of my biggest pet peeves with most hotels, especially new hotels, is the lack of outlets. The Academia of Athens didn’t lack in this department and there were plenty (near the bed, near the coffee maker and desk) to charge in all the electronics that any couple would likely be traveling with.
Another thing I liked was the “smart” frosted glass between the soaking tub and the bedroom. There is a switch outside the bathroom that turns on the frosted look to block any view inside the bathroom or you can turn it off if you don’t care to have it on. Nice touch to give the option so you don’t feel too claustrophobic (though this bathroom was large enough to avoid that!).
Another pet peeve of mine is WiFi speeds. Since many chains have gone more for the “premium” speeds for members, speeds have actually become worse. Well, the Academia of Athens did a great job in the speed department!
The Cost | Academia of Athens Review
As I mentioned, I used a free night certificate that came with my SPG business card. It allows for up to a Category 5 that costs 35,000 points and that worked perfectly for this!
Had I not had the certificate, it would have been 35,000 points for the night – or over €250 so I though that was a pretty good deal! During the off-season, cash prices should be much better but if you are one of the millions traveling to Greece in the summer, points may be the way to go!
There are two cards that offer this certificate:
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card from Chase
The Fitness Center and Pool
I took a quick look at the fitness center before I left but wasn’t really able to take photos. They have an employee there that was showing me around and I felt a little weird about whipping out the camera to take some photos when I was in street clothes. 🙂 Both the fitness center and pool are small but they were also empty when I was there about 11am.
So, this photo is from the hotel website. The pool is not much longer on the left side than the photo shows!
Featured image from Marriott