The Radisson Blu line of Club Carlson hotels is one of the upper tier brands in the Club Carlson family. It is more on the modern, contemporary side of design. The Radisson Blu Park Athens was conveniently located and at the right price (point-wise) for a conference I was at in Athens, so I went ahead and booked it. Did it deliver what I expect from the Radisson Blu brand? Let’s dive in and check it out!
Radisson Blu Park Athens
The Radisson Blu Park Athens hotel is located right across the street from one of the largest parks in Greece (hence the Park part of the name). It is conveniently located near several public transportation options as well as just a short (mile or so) walk from the Acropolis. Just about 1/3 mile from the hotel is a nice pedestrian park area with many dining options and stores. It is the perfect spot to grab some authentic Greek food and get some basic shopping for any personal needs or snacks at the same time.
The Victoria Metro Station is just about 1/4 mile from the hotel and the metro does a good job of serving the major areas of the city that you would most likely want to go. There are also several bus stops and trolley bus stops nearby (one such is right across the busy street near the park). You can take the metro from the airport (which costs 8 euros for a one-way ticket) and use the following directions (taken from the hotel’s website) – Take Line 3 Airport-Douk (Plakentias-Monastiraki) to Monastiraki station and then change to Line 1-ISAP (Piraeus-Kifissia) toward Kifissia. Stop at Victoria station, which is only 300 metres from the hotel.
I took just one train and got off about 1 mile away from the hotel because I like to check out as much from the ground as possible. I found the trains to be very good about being on time. One thing to note: when taking the metro back to the airport, make sure you pay attention as the train will make a stop (just three stops from the airport) and shut the lights off momentarily before continuing. It will go further and then come back going the reverse way – away from the airport! You need to get off when the lights go off and cross to the other side of the track to catch the train that will go to the airport. I missed any announcement as I was busy reading and had to get off on the way back from the dead end stop. 🙂 I am not sure if this happens on every train to the airport or if this particular schedule called for that.
There is a large lobby on the right when you walk-in and has many areas to sit down in. On the left of the check-in desk is the hotel restaurant. The lobby was full every time I walked through there as they had several tour groups coming from Israel (Athens is a popular tour extension for tours to Israel).
The representatives at the front desk were incredibly kind and accommodating. I had arrived earlier in the morning (like 9AM) and mentioned that I would just like to leave my bags there and change while I went for a run. They took my bags for me and showed me the changing areas down in the fitness center. I also requested a room with a bathtub and they said it would take a little longer to get a room like that. I thought they meant later afternoon but they just meant around 2PM (instead of getting me in around 11AM which they would have done otherwise).
After I got back from my run and changed, they apologized that my room was still not ready (at the time, they were going to try and get me in around noon, so I did not know about the 2PM time yet). They took me upstairs to the top floor lounge to wait until it was ready. The lounge was quite spacious with large windows overlooking Athens (this was the 8th floor). When they came to take me to my room, they informed me that they had upgraded me to their Business Class room. I do have Club Carlson Gold status but they did not mention that at any point of the check-in process so I do not know if the upgrade was due to that or if that was the only available room with a bathtub.
The Business Class rooms are on the 6th and 7th floor and are supposed to have more room and be laid out for the business traveler. My room had a large balcony and had a great view of the Acropolis in the distance. Travel Tip: If you do stay here, make sure you ask for a room that faces the Acropolis as it is a great view at night/morning!
From the website photo, I was expecting something much larger than I actually had. Instead, it looked like they took the photo on the website with a lens that really stretched the view. 🙂 Here is a comparison:
Obviously, all hotels take nice photographs of their properties for their guests, but I just thought this comparison showed quite a stark contrast between realities. 🙂
There are several classes of rooms – the Standard Room, the Superior Room, the Business Class Room (my room), and the Junior Suite. Except for the Junior Suite (which measures in at 430 square feet), the rooms all are right around 280 square feet. They are certainly not large rooms by any stretch, even for the Suite. Compare that to my Suite at the Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki – almost twice as spacious! Of course, that is the price for staying in a hotel in the center of a larger city.
The room size was not a problem for me because I was traveling by myself and did not spend a ton of time in the room. It took advantage of all the space by squeezing a queen-sized bed, two chairs and end table, and a long, thin desk into the room.
The desk was pretty much a multipurpose surface as it played host to the TV (and DVD player, which is a nice touch), a music entertainment dock, the Nespresso machine, and lamp. It also housed the small refrigerator underneath the TV. The problem was that it put so much on the desk that I had very little room for my 13″ laptop to sit on it and provide room to work. It was way too small and cramped for my liking. The chair at the desk was also leaving something to be desired. It felt like they forgot to fill the interior of the chair with padding so it just sank in when I sat down.
I would normally not be so picky about a desk but since they classify this as a “business class” room, I would have expected a little more of a workspace.
The bed was very comfortable. I am normally not picky at all when it comes to beds, so take my words on the bed with a grain of salt. I am normally much more concerned with the pillows and these did not disappoint. I slept very well and was fully rested each morning when I woke up. I found it to be a very good sleeping experience and definitely the best part of the room, which is something that I would pick over any other aspect of a room!
The bathroom was also quite small, but the bathtub was just right for me. I like a tub with a back that actually makes it comfortable to sit in and this was just that. I was very thankful for this as my run of the morning on my arrival ended up being in the rain for a good amount of time and I was very cold and wet. A nice warm bath made me feel as good as new!
Interesting enough, the most spacious part of the whole “room” was the balcony. It was the largest balcony that I have had in a hotel room that was not a suite. I suppose it would have more appreciated on my part had it not been raining almost the entire time of my trip. Since it was raining, the water gathered all over the balcony and pooled. You could tell that was typical from the mildew stains on the wall of the balcony.
It was a decent hotel but there were a few things about the room that did not meet my expectations for a Radisson Blu. Part of it was due to housekeeping and the other part due to maintenance. On the desk, there were many crumbs all over it when I got in. Also, one of the spoons for coffee was dirty. Obviously, it was a quick job on the cleanup. I realize that they were probably in a hurry to get me in the room so that may have had something to do with it. However, I would certainly take thoroughness over getting in a room quicker.
The other negative was the condition of the vanity in the bathroom. It was very damp and slowly coming apart. Did it affect my stay negatively? No, but it is something that I would like to point out. This hotel is 38 years old and there were certainly some part of the hotel that looked like it had not been upgraded at all since that point.
I did not use the fitness center to workout in as I chose to run outside. But, I did use it to change in after my first run. The fitness center was quiet when I was down there but looked like it could have comfortably fit several people. There was a changing area with a sauna (that appeared to be broken) and showers. That was a nice touch to have the showers in the fitness center, I normally do not find hotels that offer that.
The equipment was plentiful but the treadmills certainly looked old and I was glad that I did not have to run on them.
I stayed there on points and got my second night free since I hold the Club Carlson credit card – see this post Club Carlson Nights Are Like Lay’s Potato Chips. As such, I only used points for the first night. The award rate was 38,000 Club Carlson points per night. Because of the free last night (my second night), that meant it only cost me 38,000 points all-in.
The cash rate for the room is kind of all over the place. When I was there, it was 180 euros a night, giving my points a redemption value of 1.2 cents per point. For Club Carlson points, I view that as a pretty good value. I certainly would not have paid the 180 euro price for the room. During their winter season, however, you can get a room for around $125 per night. Given its location, I would consider that a very fair price.
While I was glad I got the room for nothing out of pocket, there were a couple of things that stood out to me in the negative column. They included the much smaller room than the website portrayed, the uncomfortable desk chair, the small, crowded workdesk, and the dirty silverware in the room.
But, on the flip side, the staff I interacted with were great and very helpful. The hotel is very convenient with the public transportation options and the close proximity to dining options and the Acropolis. If you stay here, make sure it is for at least two nights to get the most out of your points.
For the Runner
The park across the street presents some great, very scenic running trails. That is great since the roads in Athens are not among the safest to run on. I did run out and about just because I like to explore, but having a running park across the street is really the best option for this location. I like that you can just cross the street to have such a place. If you want to do running in Athens, strongly consider this hotel due to that park.