August 6, 2004
The Sofitel staff combine Greek savvy and warmth with crisp French managerial style to waft new guests easily up to one of the hotel’s 332 rooms or 13 suites above. Sofitel always emphasizes the personal and immediate touch, and this new addition to its brand name is no exception. After a long journey from Miami via London, this traveler was given a knowing look by the portly concierge on duty before dawn and pointed over to the ground floor restaurant for a quick breakfast. The individual care and attention continued throughout several days that included assistance with ferry tickets to the islands, and advice on everything from restaurants in Athens to where the city’s best fast-service photo shop was located in town. Rooms and suites completely insulate guests from the bustle of outside traffic or aircraft; designed with an eye for both efficiency and luxury, they also convey the Gallic insistence on style. Minimalism with warmth might be one way to summarize it: lots of wood paneled surfaces, complementing beige and cream tones everywhere, strategic low key lighting, big fluffy bathrobes and the Roger & Gallet line of toiletries which this traveler has come to swear by. If you can get an executive suite on the seventh or eighth floor, however, the additional cost is certainly worth not only for the larger floor area but also the individual executive lounge and business area for guests on these levels. No question or request about the Greek capital, business services or travel issues are beyond the grasp of the young and enthusiastic staff on-hand round-the-clock at the executive reception.
Athens and its state-of-the-art airport may be among the best connected in southern Europe. While the city center is some 27 kilometers off, Venizelos is linked by both a spanking new superhighway and a metro system that connects Athens and the surrounding areas of Attica province. If you are headed in other directions, such as the islands or beaches, then the airport is just a mere five kilometers from the chic coastal enclave of Porto Rafti, and also about 20 minutes by car or coach to the port of Rafina, from where you take off by ferry or high-speed craft for the islands.
From journal Athens: Faces Of The Goddess