The Arion Resort and Spa was a compromise that my wife and I worked out. I have never been a fan of the noise and crowds of Athens; yet my wife insisted on going there over the long Thanksgiving weekend. It is without a doubt one of the best compromises we have ever made.
The Arion is about a 45-minute ride south of Athens, in the "Athenian Riviera" town of Vougliameni. It is part of the Astir Palace Hotel complex and sits on a semi-private peninsula it shares with its sister properties. Starwood just took over the management of the Astir Palace properties, with the Arion falling under the Luxury Collection, and the Nafsika and Aphrodite falling under the Westin and W brands, respectively. In fact I would recommend mentioning Astir Palace Hotel to taxi drivers, as simply mentioning "Arion Resort" to our taxi driver at the Athens Airport only caused some confusion.
This is quite an amazing hotel. The Arion and its sister properties share their facilities—pools, restaurants, and other facilities at one location are open to the guests of the others. And the collection is quite extensive—several top restaurants (the Club House in its own building, the Gourmet Grill Room at the Arion, and Sao at the Nafsika); private beaches, infinity pools, fitness rooms, meeting rooms, etc… The Arion even runs a complimentary shuttle to Syntagma Square in downtown Athens, though this is not advertised anywhere (be sure to ask at the bell desk) and there is only one run in and one run back per day. As mentioned before, the Arion sits on its own peninsula, so it is an easy 15-minute walk into the town of Vougliameni itself.
Our room was much more than we expected since we had been upgraded to a deluxe sea-view room at check-in. The room was much larger than anything we have had in the past, with a large furnished balcony overlooking the cove below, a king-sized bed and a decent walk-in closet. The bathroom, which was easily ten-meters long, had a large soaking tub with a large window and view out to sea at one end and a separate rain-fall shower stall at the other.
However, our experience with the service was hit-and-miss. The desk and bell staff were very warm and helpful; the chamber staff seemed to be just adequate. On one hand we had a doorman get the license number of our taxi driver to ensure we did not get overcharged; on the other hand our evening turn-down was nothing more than a drop off of bottles of water and chocolates in our room.
I’d highly recommend the Arion to anyone wanting to travel to Athens. It offers you the flexibility of spending time in the city itself, or simply relaxing in a luxurious resort. We’ll certainly go back.
Los Angeles, California
November 28, 2006
From journal Thanksgiving... in Athens