Lagoon Instagrammers sense an inconvenience. A sea monster hides with intent. Its prey, however, is nimble on its feet and deftly climbs the steps to safety.
My five year old daughter is thoroughly enjoying the rooftop pool at the brand new – and, with rooms from around £85 a night, excellent value – the Lighthouse Athens Hotel. It’s shallow enough for her to stand on her feet, and she revels in another (much taller) guest claiming to be a mysterious creature from the depths.
Meanwhile, we parents take the window that this unannounced babysitting shift allowed us to soak up the view, which is stunning – an almost 360 degree panorama of Athens, including the famous Acropolis, which is a few kilometers away.
Ted and his family check into the Lighthouse Athens hotel, which has a ‘great’ rooftop pool (ad above)
Lighthouse Athens offers excellent value for money, with rooms from around £85 a night
The rooftop pool provides respite from the city heat. Ted’s photo above shows how the space is lined with cabins
The other smug-looking guests reclining on lounge chairs and lounging in cabanas busy themselves with selfies and soaking up the August rays, which push the mercury into the late 30s Celsius.
The cool waters of the small wooden pool provide the perfect respite.
Add a circular bar, a few hot tubs, and the ability to order light snacks, and the rooftop can lay claim — alongside the price tag — to being one of the main draws at this hip 220-room property, the fourth hotel by The hotel group Brown Hotels, born in Tel Aviv, will open in the Greek capital.
Ted finds his bedroom (similar to the one above) “a bit dark and drab”, but notes that “those who love their own reflection will no doubt be spellbound by the dark reflective surfaces that abound”
Ted recommends going for a brighter, airier balcony room (pictured above)
Lighthouse Athens is part of the Tel Aviv-born Brown Hotels Group, which operates several hotels in Athens
Egg-cellant: A quirky chair in the hotel lobby
Breakfast, served in the first-floor dining room and bar and lit by classic chandeliers, is hugely appealing too, with a huge range of tasty food and drink items to loot to fuel explorations of the city, including ouzo and vodka.
Maybe 20 years ago…
We opt for crepes cooked to order with chocolate sauce, watermelon, good coffee from a high-end Douwe Egberts machine and croissants, before taking advantage of the hotel’s convenient location in Omonia Square, which has a metro station just three stops from Akropoli. – the station for the Acropolis. The monument is also accessible on foot or a short taxi ride.
We commit to getting up early and reaching the ancient site before the midday sun and the crowds and failing miserably, instead hoping on a subway train around 11:30 a.m. and climbing the slopes to the pillared Parthenon and to the other glorious monuments and shrines of the ancient city – built in the 5th century BC – amid crowds and under the heat of torches.
Despite the discomfort, it’s still a truly memorable experience and the cooling waters of the lighthouse rooftop pool work their magic afterwards.
Our room, however, does not delight me.
Those who love their own reflection will no doubt be bewitched by the dark reflective surfaces that abound – the walls behind and in front of the bed are mirrored, as well as the black door and bathroom divider wall.
A sulky’s paradise, but ironically given the name of the hotel I find it a bit dark and drab – the only natural light comes from a small window in one corner (and the view is of a crumbling building in side) and artificially creates a relaxing glow is tricky. The lights are mostly non-dimmable spots.
The minimalist nature of the bathroom is also frustrating. There is a huge sink but no shelves or cupboards for toiletries and the like. He stands alone.
Breakfast at Lighthouse Athens is served in the first-floor dining room and bar (above)
The lighthouse breakfast (left) is “extremely enticing”, says Ted, with “a huge range of tasty food and drink items to loot to fuel city explorations, including ouzo and vodka” ( to the right)
The Athens Lighthouse is in Omonia Square, which has a metro station just three stops from Akropoli – the Acropolis station
Eye-catching furniture in the hotel lobby, which is about two miles from the Acropolis
The distinctive exterior of the Athens Lighthouse
And there’s no overhead shower, just a hose in the corner.
Still, we sleep well on the sumptuous king-size bed and in the cool daylight we appreciate the hotel’s efforts to inject an elegant bird-related touch into the interior decor, characterized by the bare light bulb by the bed held in the beak of a wall-mounted bird sculpture, the golden egg chairs in the foyer, and the banquettes housed in birdcage-style frames in the dining room.
There are also better bedroom options – check in to a room with a balcony for more natural light, views and sinks with shelves.
Then, head to the rooftop for a pout and pout and ripples of fun at one of the best hotel pools in town.
Ted is hosted by Lighthouse Athens, which offers rooms from £85 (100 euros/$100).
ADVANTAGES: Huge rooftop pool. Good location and views. Great breakfast. Comfortable beds. Imaginative decor. Cheap.
THE INCONVENIENTS: Some rooms a bit dark with bathrooms that are a bit impractical.
British Airways flies direct between London Heathrow and London Gatwick and Athens International Airport, with prices from £51.
Ted uses the superb Blacklane Private Chauffeur Service between Athens International Airport and Athens Lighthouse – and to the port for a ferry connection to Hydra Island. Blacklane has a brilliantly user-friendly booking system and operates in over 200 cities around the world. Visit www.blacklane.com/en.