Review: Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace

Review: Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace

NAME: Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace
LOCATION: Athens, Greece
DATE: June 2021
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: The Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace is a 74-acre destination in and of itself, with endless amenities, from restaurants, to pools, to beaches.
24

EXTRA PERKS AVAILABLE Enjoy breakfast, upgrades, & more

Want to take advantage of Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits, including a space available room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, a hotel credit, and more? Contact Ford ([email protected]) for more details. He may even be able to help if you already have a stay booked.

We had an extra night in Greece at the end of our trip due to the flight we booked (we found Emirates first class award space to Newark), so we decided to spend our last night at the Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace. The hotel wasn’t at all what I expected, but not in a bad way.

Basics of the Four Seasons Athens, and why it surprised me

When most people consider a vacation in Greece, they typically think of visiting one of the popular islands. For most international tourists, Athens is just a place where you connect, and maybe spend a couple of days to see the sights. However, the Four Seasons Athens gives you a totally different perspective on the area.

The Four Seasons Athens opened in its current form in 2019, though the “Astir Palace” branding has significance — in reality this is a hotel dating back to 1958, though the property underwent a very expensive renovation prior to reopening in its current form. Amazingly enough, most recently this was a dual Westin and Luxury Collection property, so suffice to say the property has been improved significantly.

This is easily one of the most over-the-top Four Seasons properties I’ve been to. This isn’t a hotel you stay at just because you want to go sightseeing, but rather it’s a destination in and of itself. The hotel is located in the Athenian Riviera (specifically, in the Vouliagmeni area), and it’s about a 30 minute drive to both Athens International Airport, and to the major sights of Athens.

The Four Seasons is on a sprawling 74-acre property, and you could vacation at this hotel for a week without getting bored. The hotel has over half a dozen restaurants, three private beaches, multiple pools, a spa and fitness center, and a generally fun vibe.

And while people will either love or hate this, I have to say that the guests at the Four Seasons Athens were probably the chicest I’ve seen anywhere in Greece. This hotel is a scene and seems to be a place for people to see and be seen. That being said, the property was still family friendly, so when I say “scene” I don’t mean partying, but rather the amount of effort people put into their appearance, fashion, etc.

Book the Four Seasons Athens with Preferred Partner benefits

The primary reason we booked this hotel is because Ford is a Four Seasons Preferred Partner travel advisor (he books clients at Four Seasons more than any other brand). He has had a lot of his clients stay here, and it always helps to experience a hotel firsthand.

We paid the publicly available rate, and booked through the Four Seasons Preferred Partner program. When booking through Preferred Partner you pay the same rate you’ll find directly on Four Seasons’ website, but you’ll receive extra perks, including the following:

  • A room upgrade, subject to availability
  • Complimentary daily breakfast, either in the restaurant or via in-room dining
  • A hotel credit to use during your stay

Four Seasons Preferred Partner is generally combinable with promotions being offered directly through Four Seasons, like a third or fourth night free offer.

Note that booking Four Seasons properties through Preferred Partner is better than booking through programs like Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. Why?

  • With Preferred Partner you have the option of room service breakfast in place of restaurant breakfast (that’s something a lot of people value)
  • Upgrades are prioritized for Preferred Partner bookings, given that it’s Four Seasons’ own proprietary program (and the value of an upgrade at a hotel like this can be significant)
  • You can combine Preferred Partner perks with virtually any rate on Four Seasons’ website (other programs don’t allow you to stack promotions in the same way)

You can’t beat getting all of these extra perks just for booking through an eligible travel advisor. Ford is of course more than happy to help anyone book Four Seasons properties through Preferred Partner, and can be reached at [email protected] He doesn’t charge any booking fees for Four Seasons properties.

As far as rates at the Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace go, they’re all over the place. This is one of the rare resorts in Greece that’s open year-round, and pricing is highly seasonal. In winter rates start at somewhere around 350 Euros per night for a standard room, while in the peak of summer rates can get as high as 1,400+ Euros per night for a standard room.

For our stay in early June we paid around 700 Euros for our one night stay, though at least it included a $100 hotel credit, breakfast, and an upgrade. Obviously that’s not cheap, but like I said, Ford books a lot of Four Seasons hotels for clients, and it pays to be able to give advice based on firsthand experience.

Four Seasons Athens lobby & check-in

The Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace has two separate buildings with rooms, in addition to dozens of standalone cottages. There’s the Arion complex and the Nafsika complex — we stayed in the former (typically entry level rooms are in that building), which is described as featuring “modernist architecture and retro-chic design.”

While the building doesn’t look that special when you drive up to it, it’s a totally different story when you go inside.

Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace exterior

The interior was simply stunning — inside the lobby and to the right was reception, then straight ahead were the elevators and a beautiful flower arrangement, and then in the back of the lobby was a gorgeous bar.

Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace lobby
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace lobby
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace lobby bar
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace lobby bar
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace lobby bar

Our check-in process was quick and friendly. We had booked an Arion Pine-View Room, and were upgraded to an Arion Sea-View Room (which would cost over 200 Euros more per night if paying cash). We were also reminded that since we booked through Preferred Partner, we’d enjoy complimentary breakfast (in-room or via room service) and a hotel credit of $100 to use as we’d like.

Four Seasons Athens Arion Sea-View Room

We were assigned room 307, which was easy to access directly from the elevator by reception. Seriously, how gorgeous is the design of this hotel?

Four Seasons Athens elevators
Four Seasons Athens elevators

Our room was 430 square feet, which is small as rooms here get. I’m going to argue that this is the most well designed hotel room of this size that I’ve ever stayed in, and I’m curious if others agree.

There was an entryway with a (nearly) full length mirror right by the door.

Four Seasons Athens seaview room entryway

The centerpiece of the room was a king size, uber-comfortable signature Four Seasons bed.

Four Seasons Athens seaview room
Four Seasons Athens seaview room
Four Seasons Athens seaview room

Across from the bed was a table with two chairs. I thought this setup was brilliant — typically for a standard room you’ll either have no seating area or a small desk, but not a dining table. This table acted as a great desk, but could also be used as a dining table. Behind the table was a TV, which also doubled as a mirror of sorts.

Four Seasons Athens seaview room sitting area & TV

Waiting on the table was a welcome amenity, consisting of a bottle of water and some fruit (admittedly not the most exciting welcome amenity).

Four Seasons Athens seaview room welcome amenity

By the window was a loveseat, which also had a table to the side that could be moved around.

Four Seasons Athens seaview room couch

In the far left of the room was a display case which housed the minibar. This had a Nespresso machine, a kettle, and drinks and snacks.

Four Seasons Athens seaview room Nespresso machine and kettle
Four Seasons Athens seaview room minibar

The bathroom was also well designed — it had double sinks, a walk-in shower, a toilet, and a soaking tub. It’s not often you see both double sinks and a separate shower and tub in a standard sized guest room.

Four Seasons Athens seaview room bathroom
Four Seasons Athens seaview room bathroom
Four Seasons Athens seaview room shower
Four Seasons Athens seaview room toilet
Four Seasons Athens seaview room bathtub

Toiletries were from Le Labo, and had a lovely scent.

Four Seasons Athens Le Labo toiletries

The room also had a patio, which had a loveseat, as well as two chairs.

Four Seasons Athens seaview room balcony
Four Seasons Athens seaview room balcony

The view was picturesque, as the room looked out over one of the hotel’s pools, the beach, and the sea (as you’d expect, based on the name).

Four Seasons Athens seaview room balcony view

The below picture also gives you a sense of the size of this property, since everything you see around the “bay” below belongs to the property.

Four Seasons Athens seaview room balcony view

The sunset views from our room were also breathtaking.

Four Seasons Athens seaview room balcony view

If there’s a more functionally and beautifully designed 430 square foot room anywhere else in the world, I’ve yet to see it. It’s not often you see a room this size have a proper dining table, a loveseat, double sinks, a separate tub and shower, etc.

Four Seasons Athens pools & beaches

The Four Seasons has three pools and a huge amount of beach and seafront space. Even though this hotel has 300+ rooms, guests have so much space to spread out. Most of the hotel’s amenities are one level down from the Arion building, and you can get between these areas by stairs or elevator.

Four Seasons Athens outdoor seating
Four Seasons Athens elevator & stairs to pools
Four Seasons Athens stairs to pools

I love how the lounge chairs are largely arranged in one or two rows along the water, so that everyone can sit close to the water.

Four Seasons Athens pool & beach deck
Four Seasons Athens pool & beach deck
Four Seasons Athens beach

The hotel has a massive bay that’s netted in, so you can safely go swimming there. Unlike other parts of Greece, the water tends to be quite calm.

Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace bay
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace bay

There’s a long walkway connecting the Arion complex to the Nafsika complex, with the latter having the pools.

Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace waterfront
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace Nafsika building

In the Nafsika complex there’s plenty more waterfront seating.

Four Seasons Astir Palace waterfront seating

There’s another netted in area for swimming.

Four Seasons Astir Palace bay swimming
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace beachfront area
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace beachfront area

Also in this area is the largest of the pools, which is gorgeous.

Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace pool
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace pool
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace pool

There’s another pool that’s elevated a bit, which is a bit smaller.

Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace pool

The above is only a portion of the pool and beach setup here, but hopefully it gives you a sense of the scale we’re talking about.

Four Seasons Athens gym

Four Seasons properties consistently have excellent gyms, and this property is no exception. The gym is in the Nafsika complex, and is both huge and has cutting edge equipment.

Four Seasons Athens Nafsika complex

Seriously, is this a gym, or is this a gym?

Four Seasons Athens gym
Four Seasons Athens gym
Four Seasons Athens gym
Four Seasons Athens gym
Four Seasons Athens gym
Four Seasons Athens gym

There was even some outdoor cardio equipment, which is always something I love to see.

Four Seasons Athens gym

Four Seasons Athens breakfast at Mercato

Breakfast at the Four Seasons is served daily from 7AM until 11:30AM at Mercato. This is easily one of the best breakfast experiences I’ve ever had, both in terms of the setting, and in terms of the quality of the selection. Mercato is located in the Nafsika building, so it was cool to check that out as well.

Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace Nafsika building
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace Nafsika building lobby

The design of Mercato was stunning, including the indoor and outdoor seating. Talk about an incredible terrace!

Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace Mercato Restaurant
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace Mercato Restaurant
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace Mercato Restaurant
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace Mercato Restaurant
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace Mercato Restaurant
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace Mercato Restaurant
Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace Mercato Restaurant

Breakfast at the Four Seasons included coffee of your choice, fresh juices, a snack tray, a buffet, and and a selection from the menu. Below is the menu.

Four Seasons Athens breakfast menu

To start, we were brought a three-tier tray, consisting of pastries, fresh fruit, and a selection of bread.

Four Seasons Athens breakfast

To drink I had a freshly squeezed orange juice and a freddo cappuccino.

Four Seasons Athens breakfast

Next up was the breakfast buffet, which featured everything from pastries, to cereal and granola, to fresh fruit, to yogurt, to cold cuts, to some hot options.

Four Seasons Athens breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Athens breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Athens breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Athens breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Athens breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Athens breakfast buffet
Four Seasons Athens breakfast buffet

Then from the menu we ordered the avocado toast and the kagianas eggs.

Four Seasons Athens breakfast
Four Seasons Athens breakfast

Not only was there a massive selection, but the quality was exceptional as well.

Four Seasons Athens lunch at Taverna 37

We had lunch at Taverna 37, which is the Four Seasons’ beachfront restaurant that’s open all day.

Four Seasons Athens Taverna 37
Four Seasons Athens Taverna 37

The restaurant has a Greek menu, which you can find below.

Four Seasons Athens Taverna 37 lunch menu
Four Seasons Athens Taverna 37 lunch menu

To eat we ordered some Greek spreads, a Greek salad, and a “Dakos” salad.

Four Seasons Athens Taverna 37 lunch
Four Seasons Athens Taverna 37 lunch
Four Seasons Athens Taverna 37 lunch

Four Seasons Athens dinner via room service

We had dinner via in-room dining. It had been a really long day, and we just wanted to go to bed early. The room service experience was great — the food arrived promptly, and the setup was as usual (many hotels have cut traditional room service, and instead serve it in to-go containers). On top of that, the food was excellent — the pizza I had was among the best I’ve had outside of Italy.

Four Seasons Athens room service dinner

Bottom line

The Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace is a spectacular property that’s a destination in and of itself, rather than just a place to stay if you want to go sightseeing. The hotel gives you the best of both worlds, as you have a historic hotel with a sense of place which has recently been renovated and taken over by Four Seasons.

The hotel has endless dining, pools, beachfront, etc. So while most people head to the Greek islands for their vacation, the Four Seasons is an amazing option as well, as the Athenian Riviera really seems to be a thing. Admittedly the hotel isn’t cheap, though, with pricing varying greatly depending on the season. If you do book the hotel, make you sure do so through Preferred Partner, so you can get a room, upgrade, complimentary breakfast, and a hotel credit.

I’m sad we only spent a night here, since there’s so much we didn’t get to do.

Has anyone stayed at the Four Seasons Athens Astir Palace? If so, what was your experience like?

Want to receive extra benefits for your stay at the Four Seasons, including a space available room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, a hotel credit, and more? Contact [email protected] for more details. He may even be able to help if you already have a stay booked.
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  1. George Couladis

    I stayed in September of 2019, loved the hotel, amenities, service, etc…you could spent the whole week there and not get board. Plus great restaurants, night clubs await within 10-15 minutes in glyfada and voulliagmeni.

  2. Anderssen

    I stayed there recently with my family twice in conjunction with an island tour. It was one of th best four seasons I stayed in and an excellent resort with great restaurants including a Matsuhisa and a Beef bar. They even pulled of invisible maid service ( where you do not ever see the cleaning crew in your room or in corridors ) which I have not experience outside Asia before. The Rooms where sound...

    I stayed there recently with my family twice in conjunction with an island tour. It was one of th best four seasons I stayed in and an excellent resort with great restaurants including a Matsuhisa and a Beef bar. They even pulled of invisible maid service ( where you do not ever see the cleaning crew in your room or in corridors ) which I have not experience outside Asia before. The Rooms where sound proofed with fat pipe a/c so no fan noice. Unlimited towels, sunscreen and water.

    Only complaints I have is the 4 day minimum stay in July August.

    and @carrie no you do not have to go up at sunrise and put items on "sunchairs" to "reserve" them, there was no need. There is plenty of space since the bay is just as nice as the pool and you do not have to get your feet sandy to dive into the water.

  3. Carrie

    The important question was not addressed ...... was access to the pool side loungers/chaise difficult? Did you encounter the early morning 'oh, I was swimming here at 5 am and left for just a moment' crowd?

    1. Raffles

      It's a Four Seasons ..... stuff like that doesn't happen at a Four Seasons.

  4. Grey

    I am sorry, but having a surcharge for sparkling wine at an included breakfast is extremely tacky. Either offer it or don't, but to offer and charge extra for it is not something I have ever seen before.

  5. Rico

    That place looks amazing, and it should for 700 euros/night. It's a little out of my budget, but would like to go back to Greece someday. I'll stick to the points hotels. Last time in Greece for me was with a backpack in 1988. I don't think I paid more than $10/night for hostel or pension lodging back then.

    1. Andrew-Stuart

      Yep, same here! I loved Greece and was lucky enough to have so many Greek friends here in Australia that I was able to stay all over Greece by sleeping on a sofa belonging to someone's Aunt, Uncle, cousin or Grandmother. Back then, splashing out for me was spending 300 Greek drachmas on a hotel in Athens that had a fan to keep the room cool!

  6. Seattle Eric

    Ben - I couldn't resist: https://www.ft.com/content/626dcf3c-818e-11e5-8095-ed1a37d1e096

    "‘Chicest’ is not a proper word — please don’t use it"

    LOL

    I think other sources allow for its use. However, it did throw me for a loop as I naturally pronounced it in my head with a soft 'c', as in 'cheesest'. I would have used 'the most chic' myself, or even 'le plus chic' to keep its roots intact.

  7. Etravelstheworld

    I stayed at this hotel when it was the Westin Astir Palace! Amazing property back then. Should’ve been a St Regis.

    My only complaint is the amount of sea urchins by the rocks next to the hotel. I was badly injured and had to be rushed to the medical tent. There were no signes or advisories. I just jumped in and they were millions of them attached to the rock ledge.

    Hopefully they fixed this issue during the remodel.

  8. Alonzo

    Wow, stunning. Always recommend people stay in Athens for 3 days. This is another reason why.

  9. SgFm

    We had a one night stay here when it was a Starwood property not long before it closed for an extended period of time. The extensive and gorgeous remodel clearly appears to do justice to what is just a fabulous location. This spot pulls at my heartstrings, and although the price has climbed considerably since our stay a few years ago, we may just splash out when we are (hopefully), visiting Greece in September!

  10. Marc

    This was the hotel for one of the mega-do's. It was a lovely hotel even back then.

  11. AT

    Completely agree with your assessment - stayed here pre-pandemic for a long weekend, and loved it. It is absolutely a place for local Athenians to see and be seen, as well.

    Think the rooms in Nafsika are a little nicer than Arion, and it's easier to access most of the hotel amenities. As for history, I believe some of the bungalows were host to the likes of Aristotle Onassis and Maria Callas back in...

    Completely agree with your assessment - stayed here pre-pandemic for a long weekend, and loved it. It is absolutely a place for local Athenians to see and be seen, as well.

    Think the rooms in Nafsika are a little nicer than Arion, and it's easier to access most of the hotel amenities. As for history, I believe some of the bungalows were host to the likes of Aristotle Onassis and Maria Callas back in the day, if we're talking about the glamour of the "jet set" era!

    Only thing to note is that while the hotel is open year-round, I think they may close off certain parts in lower seasons, particularly those famous bungalows.

  12. Paolo

    It’s a stretch calling this Athens, akin to describing The Hamptons as NYC. It looks nice enough but for that price you could have had a twice the time at The Grande Bretagne or King George, righ on Syntagma Square, on the direct subway to the airport in less than 15 minutes ( and both far more interesting historically and culturally, as well as being in the real Athens.)
    To each his own....

    1. pstm91

      Not a fair or good comparison at all. First of all, this is a resort whereas the others you mention are city hotels. Calling this the "Hamptons to New York" is ludicrous. The Hamptons are a 2-3 hour car or train ride and no one is heading into the city for a few hours of touring from there. While Athens traffic can be brutal, this is a very easy drive from the FS. I've done...

      Not a fair or good comparison at all. First of all, this is a resort whereas the others you mention are city hotels. Calling this the "Hamptons to New York" is ludicrous. The Hamptons are a 2-3 hour car or train ride and no one is heading into the city for a few hours of touring from there. While Athens traffic can be brutal, this is a very easy drive from the FS. I've done it in as little as 25 minutes very early in the morning, and the longest it's ever taken me is ~45 minutes, so it absolutely falls under an Athens property. The other hotels you listed are fantastic as well, but this is an apples to oranges comparison.

    2. Paolo

      Perhaps The Hamptons wasn’t the best comparison, but the general point remains valid: lovely though it looks, this place is out in the sticks; it’s a resort rather than a city property. It might make sense for someone contemplating a short break in Athens, combining a resort experience with relative close proximity to things in the city.
      It makes no sense at all, in my view, to combine this place with a stay in...

      Perhaps The Hamptons wasn’t the best comparison, but the general point remains valid: lovely though it looks, this place is out in the sticks; it’s a resort rather than a city property. It might make sense for someone contemplating a short break in Athens, combining a resort experience with relative close proximity to things in the city.
      It makes no sense at all, in my view, to combine this place with a stay in one of the resorts in the islands ( unless one is totally resort-oriented).
      This would make a lovely weekend or 3/4 day break, on the other hand, for those not minding the commute ( or wanting to stay on the property).
      Personally, I’d choose the GB or KG every time, but I don’t have a resort focus ( and can think of little worse than those ludicrously overpriced, ‘could-be-anywhere’ Mykonos/island resorts)

  13. Jk

    “the pizza I had was among the best I’ve had outside of Italy.“

    You really need to visit New Haven

  14. Mike

    I can’t believe you reviewed this historic property without mentioning its iconic history and the notable guests including Frank Sinatra, Brigitte Bardot, John Wayne, Heads of State and royalty.

    You don’t mention it was a dual Westin and Luxury Collection property before FS performed a major renovation.

    Worst of all you somehow manage to not mention the FS is in Vouliagmeni or refer to the area at all or it’s distance from Athens.

    1. Ben Schlappig

      @ Mike -- I appreciate you letting me know of those things. I've updated the post to reflect some of those points, thanks!

    2. JW

      Who cares whether Frank Sinatra and his cahoots stayed there, this is not Vegas and most people I know dislike these pretentious notions just for publicity.

  15. Raffles

    We did 3 nights here two years. A better way of summing it up is that I never, ever, been aware which better channelled the glamour of the 1950's 'jet set' era. The whole place - including the guests - look like they have walked out of a Slim Arons photograph.

    If you regret the loss of 'glamour' from the travel experience, you will find it alive and well here.

    Sadly you won't be able...

    We did 3 nights here two years. A better way of summing it up is that I never, ever, been aware which better channelled the glamour of the 1950's 'jet set' era. The whole place - including the guests - look like they have walked out of a Slim Arons photograph.

    If you regret the loss of 'glamour' from the travel experience, you will find it alive and well here.

    Sadly you won't be able to fly on an airline which still has a cigar lounge and which carves the meat for your meal at your seat, but still ....

    1. Ben Schlappig

      @ Raffles -- Accurately summed up!

Featured Comments Load all 24 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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pstm91

Not a fair or good comparison at all. First of all, this is a resort whereas the others you mention are city hotels. Calling this the "Hamptons to New York" is ludicrous. The Hamptons are a 2-3 hour car or train ride and no one is heading into the city for a few hours of touring from there. While Athens traffic can be brutal, this is a very easy drive from the FS. I've done it in as little as 25 minutes very early in the morning, and the longest it's ever taken me is ~45 minutes, so it absolutely falls under an Athens property. The other hotels you listed are fantastic as well, but this is an apples to oranges comparison.

Raffles

We did 3 nights here two years. A better way of summing it up is that I never, ever, been aware which better channelled the glamour of the 1950's 'jet set' era. The whole place - including the guests - look like they have walked out of a Slim Arons photograph. If you regret the loss of 'glamour' from the travel experience, you will find it alive and well here. Sadly you won't be able to fly on an airline which still has a cigar lounge and which carves the meat for your meal at your seat, but still ....

George Couladis

I stayed in September of 2019, loved the hotel, amenities, service, etc…you could spent the whole week there and not get board. Plus great restaurants, night clubs await within 10-15 minutes in glyfada and voulliagmeni.

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