Athens is busy, Athens is loud, Athens is fascinating, and Athens is also...relaxed? We found an oasis of calm in the center of the symphony of sounds and mind-bogglingly-old treasures from the past, the Royal Olympic Hotel. This lovely find is almost hidden amongst its surroundings (oh, if you're having trouble finding it, just look for that little structure called the Temple of Zeus which incidentally is right outside its doorstep), and that's what makes it so appealing. Unassuming from the outside, with five-star elegance on the inside. It's an independently owned property, with a very hands-on owner and the result is purely warm hospitality, extreme attention to detail, and surroundings both in the public areas and the rooms that are incredibly thoughtful. It's right where you want to be- walk left and you're in the Plaka, walk across and you're at Hadrian's Gate, walk up and you're at the Acropolis. They've thought of everything, extreme detail in the rooms, a lovely courtyard pool, fabulous intriguing artwork throughout the hotel, meeting space, restaurants, FREE Wi-Fi, and even a super-quiet library. The rooftop bar is especially spectacular, with a retractable ceiling that allows you to enjoy the generously pleasant Athens evenings while looking out at a stunning lit-up work of art from thousands of years past. Best of all, the value here is tremendous- watch their website for continuous specials and keep it in mind. Athens is expensive, so save where you can without sacrificing elegance.

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