Just behind Syntagma Square and overlooking the picturesque streets leading to one of Athens’ prettiest and most affluent old town areas, Plaka, Electra Metropolis is part of a group of thoroughly modern urban hotels.

A 10 storey building, formerly the Ministry of Education, this has been turned into an oasis of minimalist chic, complete with a central, greenery-clad atrium style balcony feature, affording views from each floor down to the marbled lobby. Part of the lobby itself leads to a contemporary art gallery on the left and a bar at the end. Art installations add to the hotel’s atmosphere of sleek modernity, with a touch of purely Athenian history (look for the ancient city walls fragment in the Jasmine Room).

Rooms are large and ultra-comfortable and ours, on the 7th floor, was directly above a spade of cafes, boutiques and galleries. When we opened the windows, we could hear some of the jazz music being played down below and bringing the spirit of the city into our space.

Quirky bars, live music, from traditional Greek to jazz and walking through restaurant-lined residential and shopping streets, is what makes staying at the Electra such a distinct pleasure.

This being a 5 star hotel, there are of course the prerequisite spa and outdoor pool on the rooftop terrace, which has not only a good side view of the Parthenon, but also of the city itself.

Buffet breakfast is on that terrace and offers a great selection of local foods, delicious fresh fruit and Greek specialities, as well as classic fare.  Later in the day, the roof terrace doubles up as a bar (the M Bar) and a glass-walled restaurant.

A few minutes’ walk is the Electra Palace, but that’s for another visit to Athens, a city that merits a chapter in its own right.

On our way to the airport, and with a few hours to spare, we headed for the beach in ultra-wealthy Vouliagmeni and a restaurant in nearby Voula.  If you have a couple of hours,  do go to Kastelórizo for a freshly grilled squid and watch the Greeks in the park playing backgammon and cards on a nice day instead of sitting in front of computers.

Address: Mitropoleos 15, Athina 105 57

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