1 night pre-paid cash Priceline purchase
The Athaeneum was the only non-bed&breakfast type hotel we stayed out where we didn’t have any Platinum status. All the others are Marriott, Starwood, or Hyatt. I booked the hotel on www.priceline.com for $80 per night, which is quite a price for a 5* hotel. I did some research on www.betterbidding.com to know roughly which hotels I had a chance of getting, and what recent successful bids were. I was happy with this result for a quick one night stay.
The Athaeneum is a 10 minute walk from the Syngenta-Fix subway station on the Athens metro. It took us about an hour to get there from the airport, at a one-way fare of 7 Euros per person.
I found Athens to be pretty gritty and unpleasant apart from the historic areas. This hotel was in a safe, although crummy neighborhood. But it was only a 20 minute walk to the Acropolis.
A view of the Intercontinental Athaeneum in Athens walking up from the Syngenta-Fix metro station. You have to walk through some downtrodden streets with some derelict buildings.
Closer view of the IC Athaeneum.
At check-in a clerk named Elias greeted us with alacrity, and noted we had a priceline reservation. Usually hotels put priceline people in their crummiest rooms, on low floors, by the elevator bank, near the utility closet. In this case, we were given a room on the first floor, room 119. Fearing the typical priceline treatment, I asked if it was possible for us to have a room on a higher floor. He offered us a concierge-level room for a 70Euro upcharge that included lounge access for snacks and breakfast. But given that we were here for such a short time, and only wanted the room for 7-8 hours sleep in-between exploring Athens’ classical sites, we thanked him for the offer and kept the room we had.
Room 119 on the first floor, was about 1/2 down the hallway and not near the elevator bank.
The bathroom included some marble, and was clean and comfortable. Somehow I forgot to snap a picture of the room itself, but it was a standard king-size room. It was pretty comfortable, as you would expect for a 5* hotel, and suited us nicely for our desired sleep. We were thankful the hotel offered free wi-fi so we could research our game plan for the next day. The only downside I can give the room is that the walls were pretty thin. Shortly after we settled into bed at around 11:30PM, we heard an elderly Asian couple come into the room next door to us. I point out they were elderly and Asian not because they were particularly loud, but that the walls were so thin I could even make out the language and tone. This kept us up for a bit, but wasn’t too major. And there was no funny business coming from there room. After we woke up in the morning, they could probably here us, but it didn’t matter anyway because we heard their alarm clock go off about 10 minutes after ours.
We had a pool view, which was nice because unlike a street view which might pick-up road noise, we had no exterior noise. Only interior noise from the adjacent room.
We left the hotel at 7:30AM and took a taxi to the Monastriki Metro station which is near the Acropolis and Agora. I had read online that the Monastriki has first-come, first-serve storage lockers. This would be very handy to us because we were going to the two sights best served by Monastriki, and Monastriki was directly on the Metro line for our return to the airport. The cab ride was 5 Euros, and for 3 Euros more we took one of the lockers, number 17.
The very handy storage lockers at Monastriki metro station in Athens on blue line 3. There was a second bank of lockers also nearby.
Both of our suitcases and our backpacks fit in just one lockers, which was awesome. This was a big win for us, and gained us at least an hour of extra sightseeing, just from not having to schlepp our bags back and forth from the hotel, to the sights, and the metro. We strolled through the Acropolis, checked out the Agora, and even had time for some of Rick Steves’s Athens City walk. We had downloaded the Rick Steves guides to Lady Tocqueville’s phone, and with a headphone splitter and two headphones enjoyed all the sites at a leisurely pace. By noon, it was time to head to the airport to catch our 2:40PM flight to Vienna. So we headed back to Monastriki, grabbed our bags, and got on the metro back to the airport.