Main Photo: The Four Seasons Astir Palace
Date: March 2019
Location: Vouliagmeni, Athenian Riviera, Greece
Name: Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens
No. of Keys: 303 including 42 suites and 61 villas/bungalows
Owner: Astir was acquired by Jermyn Street Real Estate Fund IV LP in October 2016 in a transaction that valued Astir’s share capital at €444 million. Jermyn Street, advised by London-based AGC Equity Partners, is an investment fund whose investors comprise two sovereign state funds from Abu Dhabi and Kuwait and the Turkish Dogus Group.
Marking a new era for the historic Astir Palace and the global brand, the fully renovated hotel is located amid 74 acres (30 hectares) of lush seaside landscape on the shores of the Athenian Riviera and is the first Four Seasons hotel in Greece.
“It is a landmark day in so many ways as we welcome our first guests to the new Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens,” said General Manager Sam Ioannidis.
“So many of our people are locals or native-born Greeks returning to their homeland from around the world, or people who have deep roots in this culture and finally have the opportunity to live and work here. This heritage makes us even more excited to share with our guests,” he added.
Located on a peninsula just 30 minutes from the city centre and a half hour from Athens International Airport, Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel is considered the ideal choice for travellers who want to experience the best of ancient and modern Greece; weekenders from Athens or the region; families and couples.
Accommodation options at Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel range from light-filled rooms and suites to ultra-exclusive garden cottages. In the Arion complex, with its modernist architecture and retro-chic design, guests will find a laid-back vibe expressed in breezy rooms and suites. At Nafsika, azure sea views dominate every room and suite – including some with private pool.
For guests seeking more space and privacy, Four Seasons offers The Bungalows, originally built in the early 1960s, and now reborn with a fresh look and up-to-date amenities.
The hotel also offers three private beaches; three pools; five tennis courts; a number of watersports; an onsite basketball court and a golf club; extensive trails for jogging and walking; a fully-supervised complimentary Kids for All Seasons program; boat access; a helipad, and the Spa at Four Seasons.
Meanwhile, the hotel’s culinary offering is as diverse as Greek culture, with eight unique concepts and easy access to other marquee restaurants on the Astir Peninsula including Nobu’s Matsuhisa Athens.
Guests can also tuck into the trattoria-style Italian specialities at Mercato; share beloved Greek favorites at the beachside Taverna 37; chill poolside with tapas and cocktails at the Latin American grill Helios or enjoy a more sophisticated dining experience at Pelagos.
With a broad selection of indoor and outdoor function spaces accommodating guest lists from 70 to 700, Four Seasons continues the Astir Palace tradition of hosting productive business meetings and memorable social occasions with the added attraction of seaside accommodations for participants and guests.
The area of Vouliagmeni at the time belonged to a monastery, which started building small rental units around the lake, already renowned for the curative properties of its waters. By 1930, the monastery had built 30 rooms and gradually started adding cafes and restaurants in the vicinity, attracting the interest of investors looking to build hotels and entertainment venues. The advent of World War II, however, put all development plans on hold.
As Greece started to recover from the aftermath of the war, the state decided to focus more systematically on tourism. The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), which had been founded in 1929 but had remained largely inactive until then, was assigned a more proactive role, particularly thanks to Athens’s first direct air link to a European capital in 1950, which saw the airport at Elliniko on the southern coast welcoming the city’s first foreign guests.
The merger in 1953 of National Bank with Bank of Athens resulted in the country’s first powerful credit institution and the head of National Bank soon saw the southern coast’s potential as a prime investment opportunity.
The ASTIR company was founded in 1954 and four years later Parliament approved the peninsula’s development, commissioning the plan to architects Emmanouil Vourekas, Periklis Sakellarios, Prokopis Vasileiadis and a then young Constantinos Dekavallas.
The “People’s Vouliagmeni Plage” was inaugurated in August 1960 and soon became a favorite among Greece’s growing middle class and celebrity culture. The first 76 bungalows, or cabanas, opened in 1961 and the first water-skiing centre in 1966, a real novelty for Greece at the time. Another eight bungalows were added in 1969, while the hotels Arion, Nafsika and Aphrodite were inaugurated in 1967, 1979 and 1984 respectively. The latter has been out of operation for several years.
Price: €300m plus refurb cost
THPT Comment: The hotel, as Astir Palace was host to more celebs than we can mention, from Brigitte Badot, to Frank Sinatra, King Saud, Rudolf Nureyev to mention but a few! since it opened in 1958.
First Seen: Greek Travel Pages
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