Staying with the trip to Greece in October 2021 but switching gears from the Delphi posts, I’m sharing a quick review of the Athens Marriott Hotel.
I selected this hotel primarily because it was the least expensive hotel in the Marriott loyalty program that had a club lounge. I booked the cheapest room in the house knowing that status as a Marriott Lifetime Titanium member (whoo hoo) afforded free access to the lounge in the evening and the breakfast buffet in the morning. Plus, I was eligible for an upgrade to a suite or other nice room based on availability. As travel was only beginning to pick up, getting upgraded to a suite seemed like a sure thing.
Famous last words because upon arrival I was assigned what was claimed to be an upgrade, but was the worst room in a five-star Marriott property I can recall. It was called a superior room with a king bed, sofa bed, and a city view. The room was tiny even by European standards. Through clever arrangement, it managed to squeeze in the usual features.
There was a tiny work area that was passed off as a desk. A small “sofa bed” was crammed in by the window. The sofa seemed too small for sleeping. The bathroom was also undersized. It had a shower rather than a tub, which actually I don’t mind. There were few bath amenities.
For a hotel with 341 rooms and 25 suites, surely this wasn’t the best room available for Lifetime Titanium on a relatively short stay in October 2021.
While the room and lack of upgrade was disappointing the rest of the hotel wasn’t bad. The breakfast buffet had a nice variety of a la carte and buffet selections although not as nice as the hotels in Thailand that I stayed at in November 2021.
Back then, Covid precautions were in place. Guests had to use plastic gloves at the buffet and wear masks when not eating. Filling up at the buffet allowed me to save money by skipping a few lunches.
The best part of the hotel that I experienced was the club lounge.
It was open from 17:30 to 19:30 daily. A waiter provided beverage and food service consisting of light snacks, beer, wine soft drinks and spirits. With seconds and refills, the food was substantial enough that I could avoid eating out some nights.
I visited a couple of the restaurants in the area and recommend Sakis Kebob. It has been run by the same family for 100 years and is just around the corner from the hotel. Live music is offered on weekends.
The hotel has a very nice spa and fitness center that includes lockers, steam room and sauna. I think the spa bears a lot of the credit for the hotel’s five-star rating. The outdoor pool is seasonal.
The Athens Marriott is nicely located on one of Athens main thoroughfares, Syngrou Avenue, within easy walking distance of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, the Athenian Riviera, and the Eugenides Foundation planetarium, which is billed as one of the largest and best planetariums in the world.
The hotel is also adjacent to REA Maternity Hospital. That is where I was fortunate to receive a Covid PCR test with results in under two hours. That was a lifesaver on the day of my return flight to the U.S..
The Athens Marriott Hotel has some nice features but it is not where I’d stay if I return to Athens. That conclusion is based largely on the room I was assigned. Unlike airline upgrades, with hotels, guests have no idea where they stand as far as availability of and priority for upgraded rooms. That lack of transparency gives the desk clerk a lot of power and leaves room for shenanigans which is what I suspect may have happened here.
There are a lot of hotels, and if you don’t like one, you can usually go to another. I checked out of the Marriott after a few days and moved to the Athens Grand Hyatt. It was less expensive and I ended up with a much nicer room.