Standing for “Y”oung, “E”nthusiastic, and “S”eductive, which aptly describes the experience they offer their guests, NEW’s décor and vibe should have been more jarring given the world-famous ruins that lay just minutes away, and the history that is unavoidable in the city of Athens. Yet, its integration of Greek arts, culture and cuisine made for the perfect respite from all the action of this ancient town. Located in the heart of it all, you are no more than a 10-minute walk away from the best of Athens.
With 79 rooms, NEW Hotel felt intimate and private, and it was easy to forget we were at the height of tourist season. At breakfast in their dining room, it was a pleasant surprise to see so many guests enjoying leisurely starts to their surely busy days. A combination of classic Greek, European and American was offered, with a variety of hearty egg dishes made-to-order. Quick tip: try the homemade sausage. You won’t be disappointed!
Their second dining room and restaurant, located on the top floor of the hotel, is elegant and sophisticated, almost reminiscent of a polo bar with its wood finishes, bookshelves and modern touches—not to mention a fine collection of whiskies and scotches. The biggest draw here, however, is the adjoining rooftop terrace with extraordinary views of Athens and the Acropolis, in shade and sun.
On the other end of the floor, sits the Penthouse Suite: a stunning accommodation featuring a terrace almost the size of the suite itself, set with a private lounge-cabana, and views that rival NEW’s rooftop restaurant’s neighboring terrace. Above the suite’s king-size bed, a window designed to look like a piece of art frames none other than the perfectly-picturesque Acropolis.
This touch of artistic design is in-line with the rest of the hotel, a member of Design Hotels of the World. Art throughout the establishment is varied, from classic to contemporary, but all pieces have one thing in common: entertainment value. On windows and glass is art by 27-year old Maja Djordevic (#FollowMaja) of Belgrade whose doodles can’t help but make you smile. In a few rooms, different scenes from Greek folklore featuring “Karagiozis”—a hunchbacked shadow-puppet figure whose underdog-turned-hero persona lands him in more mischief than glory—come to life through old shadow figures that are carved and covered with gold by local artists and mounted on guestroom walls, enveloping patrons in their own personal fairy tale.
Lighthearted goes hand-in-hand with the drama of the rest of the hotel, which is wood-forward, per the designers’ intent to bring to life the Favela Chair for which they became renowned. Favela walls and columns here are made from reclaimed wood purposefully strewn upon each other, and bring a sense of drama to the dimly-lit but youthful and vibrant hotel.
The Spa down in the hotel basement exhibits the same energy—standard spa music is traded for modern and upbeat tunes that again is a surprisingly welcome contradiction to the soothing spa treatments offered. Their Signature Massage is a mix of relaxing and invigorating, in which hot oil infused with aromatics complement the different stages of the massage and hot compresses. The other treatment for which they are well-known is the Freestyle: a custom full-body or targeted massage treatment focused on where your body needs it most.
NEW Hotel represents not a contrast but a complement to the ever-changing historic city that houses it—young, different, energized and almost symbolic of the revitalized new Athens travel lovers are experiencing in the country every day.
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