Staying With a Dog at The Sofitel Athens Airport Hotel – Greece
I have wanted to try out a Sofitel Hotel for some time now. I almost did when we went to Paris, but a change of plans landed us in a charming little “real Parisian hotel” instead. No regrets there at all. And because we tend to stay in apartments or couch surf with friends (FANS!) we actually don’t spend much time in hotels.
That makes reviewing them a challenge.
Is it dog friendly?
It’s a French line of luxury hotels … did we really need to ask?
When Mom called the central Sofitel number a charming lady answered her questions:
Mom: Is the hotel in Athens Dog Friendly?
Sofitel: Mais bien sûr Madame. But of course Mam!
Mom: Is there a charge for a dog in the room?
Sofitel: Mais enfin, non Madame, bien sûr que non! pourquoi? But Mam of course not! Why?
Ah…. The French.
Why stay at an airport hotel?
I don’t know about you but when I have more than 6 hours to spend in an airport waiting for the next flight I find it often far more relaxing to exit the airport if possible. With the Sofitel Athens Airport Hotel only 50 meters across from the arrival and departure terminals of Athens International Airport, you could say it’s truly convenient; especially since you can – from noon to 6pm – rent a room for 100 Euro. You can rest, work, shower or just have a nap in between flights. I find this an excellent proposition, and will not hesitate to make use of this option if needed.
Another reason and the one affecting us… are those dreaded but convenient, very early flights. See, even if the underground runs directly to the airport, it is still 33 km away from downtown Athens. The Attiki Odos highway provides quick access to and from, but the truth is you are looking at a good 45 minutes in a taxi, even if you have a dependable ride like George’s Taxi. This means you have to calculate that commute into your wake-up call. Ugh.
So although we are early birds, we did not relish the idea of being up any earlier than we absolutely needed to catch our flight to Sofia (Bulgaria). That is how, rather than staying at the Acropolis Hill Hotel again, when we returned from our sailing trip around the Cyclades Islands, we opted instead to stay at the Sofitel Athens Hotel. We relaxed, caught an early night and woke up refreshed to catch our flight. The plan worked like a charm!
Sofitel is a luxury line, so the Athens Airport Hotel is far more than just your average airport stop. The sense of style alone is far superior to anything the bipeds have seen in a long time. With fantastic art and Ancient Greek antique replica’s dotting the foyer and lobby, a wonderful lounge with rich red velvet modern chairs, a cool patio, pool, gym … The place is loaded with options to help you unwind. We loved the restaurant where, although dogs are not allowed indoors to eat inside they tried to accommodate us and found us a seat, in the area that was technically closed off for the evening. They set a lovely table, complete with table cloth, silverware etc. and served us with a smile even when we ordered a very light dinner for all their trouble. Fatigue has a way of making you want to eat less … but the lemon chicken soup hit the spot and we ordered seconds!
Another option for a bite to eat would have been the lounge, with the large outdoor patio. There I would have been welcomed without any issue at all. Dad was tempted because they had a nice cigar selection. But the menu at the other restaurant won us over.
What I remember the most is the attention I got when we checked in (fast and with no issues at all). The very petite Public Relations (PR) lady working the concierge desk was all enamoured with me and I even got my photo taken with her! The front desk crew all wanted a cuddle, and I must say I felt very welcomed indeed.
What was the room like?
The room was perfect. I have to tell you that everything has been designed to keep the noise of planes taking off and landing absolutely … nil. Seriously I tried to hear them and couldn’t. It was cool to look out the window and watch them take off just a few feet away and hear nothing.
Our room was spacious and clean and the mattress, pillows and duvet super comfy. The shower and bathroom were modern and wonderfully laid-out. In fact there was a bench in the shower that allowed Mom to give me a wash while she showered. That was a first! So she and I freshened up together. The hairdryer was provided and in less than a half hour I was officially clean, all signs of sand and sea salt that I had been accumulating for 2 weeks gone. I was ready to meet Radmila, Slavcho and Pepi. I was so FLUFFY!
Just before bed, the bipeds decided to take me out for an evening stroll. Just for me to pee and stretch our legs before sleep. Wonderfully, the Sofitel has a lovely garden in the front. It’s actually a roof garden above the underground parking, complete with a path, lawn and exotic plants. It was perfect. In fact because it is designed to be decorative and not really accessible, we had to climb over a short wall to get in (less than knee height). As a result once in the park I was allowed off leash and I had an awesome FRAP (Frenetic Random Activity Periods). It almost felt like the place had been built with small dogs in mind. The art, the lights, the plants, the safety … the convenience!
Although we were up at a ridiculously early hour, the breakfast buffet was set and a little table set-aside and ready for us the next morning. We had a light meal (a tad expensive) and gave back our key card and off we went. Again the staff were super sweet and wanted to know all about me (new shift) and it was fun to see that although they don’t see tons of dogs they knew exactly what to do, how to behave and how to “punch me into the system” upon check-in and check-out. Pet peeve averted!
Would we stay again?
Absolutely; although a tad pricey for us, the convenience and excellent service were worth it. The question you have to ask yourself is how much is your own time worth? Would you rather sleep and extra three hours? In our case that was a resounding yes. With a full day of ferry commute behind us and a flight ahead of us, a relaxing, stress free approach was what we wanted.
We were already “there” minutes away from our check-in gate. We didn’t need to worry about a driver, we didn’t need to be concerned over a posible car break down or traffic or something of that nature making us miss our flight. And we got to sleep as much as possible. After 2 weeks on a sailboat the spacious hotel room and bathroom were the greatest of luxuries and worth the extra cost.
In review: A dog friendly hotel that goes above expectations for an airport hotel perspective regarding style. For a high turnover hotel with guests staying an average of one night, they do a great job in keeping the facilities spotless. Note that like any hotel, food and drink is expensive. There are however, a number of cheaper alternatives across the street at the airport. Including an awesome pharmacy! (Yes at the airport! Complete with pharmacist!) For example: we paid about 1 Euro for a bottle of water (Evian) at the airport versus 6 Euro for the same bottle in our room. The staff is super friendly and helpful, even at 4:15 a.m. when we checked-out. The room was nice and big, with a large shower, and separate toilet room (yay!). If you have an early morning flight from Athens airport, or just need a quick overnight spot or have a long layover, I would highly recommend this hotel. I just wish we had taken time to check-out the pool! At Sofitel life is indeed “magnifique”.
Want to see more pics? Have you ever stayed at an Airport Hotel? What was it like?