Athens has a wide range of accommodations, from the luxurious and opulent landmarks such as the Grande Bretagne (dating from 1878), to designer chic boutique hotels, small pensions, and basic budget hotels and hostels. Nearly all hotels were renovated and updated with modern features and amenities at the very least in 2004, and new hotels appear all the time.
Athens hotel rooms come in basically the same size as most of their European counterparts and generally smaller than their U.S. ones. Athens has a large range of accommodations, from luxury historic hotels to designer boutiques and everything else in between, nearly all of them offer the same amenities, including at the very least an Internet corner if not Wi-Fi in the room, comfortable bathrooms (again on the small size), decent beds, a minibar, and a large number of the rooms have balconies.
On the whole Athens hotels are less expensive per average than the rest of Europe and bargains can be found even during peak season.
What You'll Really Pay
The prices quoted within this guide are the hotel's rack rates, the maximum they can charge during the height of the season. Athens hotels have some of the lowest average room prices in Europe, so even during peak season you can often find good deals. Most hotels in town consider Easter through October high season; you can find discounts of 25% to 40% during low season. Interestingly enough, the opposite occurs with expensive and deluxe hotels downtown as upscale visitors tend to avoid Athens during the tourist rush of July and August, so you can find significant reductions in their prices during those 2 months. Deals can be found either by contacting the hotel directly, through online services such as Priceline.com or Expedia.com, or through a reputable local travel agency The recent economic woes in Greece have thrown the hotel industry off balance as well. Not long ago, you wouldn't have found a double in the Baby Grand Hotel (for the summer season) available for as low as 80€ and even lower online. Whether it's a sign of the bad economy or the plethora of options remains to be seen.
The best way to getting what you want is to either contact the hotel directly and inform them of the prices you have found online and negotiate from there -- most times they will match the online price.
Very Expensive 250€ and up
Inexpensive Under 80€
Getting the Best Deal
High season is considered from Easter to October with the height of the season between July and late September but deals can be found even then if you begin your search early enough. If you're making your plans last minute you can also find quite decent deals especially if you're willing to compromise and not stay in Makrigianni and the Plaka districts. At press time, the best deals were to be found in or near Omonoia Square, Metaxourgeio, and the National Archaeological Museum, all seedy parts of town that can get unpleasant, if not dangerous, after dark, so you should consider that when booking. Deals for all hotels can be found online, but it's best to contact the hotel personally and negotiate the online deal you have found or have a reputable local travel agency do the work for you. Off-peak season visitors will discover a cooler (temperature wise) Athens with less tourists, far less crowded sites and great deals.
Reservation Services: To get the best deals in town, you will need a reputable local travel agency that will do the hard work for you. Thankfully, Athens has many, but our three favorites are Fantasy Travel, 19 Filelinon (tel. 210/331-0530; www.fantasytravel.gr); CHAT Tours, 4 Stadiou (tel. 210/323-0827; www.chatours.gr); and Key Tours, 4 Kalliroïs (tel. 210/923-3166; www.keytours.gr).
Alternative Accommodations: Athens has many hotel options (including the hostels recommended), but you can also rent or swap apartments if you're in town for a longer stay. In that case, popular websites to check out would be www.expatriates.com, www.vacationrentals.com, www.craigslist.gr, www.homeaway.com, and www.worldhomeexchanges.com. As always, proceed with care, and if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.