Four Seasons Astir Palace Near+Far rating: 10/10
Why book Four Seasons Astir Palace
A property as sublime in every way as Four Seasons Astir Palace is rare. To find a hotel so established, so loved, in such a spellbinding location with such stylish and varied accommodations and impeccable facilities, all while having the comforts of a world-leading brand. On top of this, it has the feeling of being away from it all, all while being 20-minutes or so from one of the world’s most famous and vibrant capitals. Located on a pine-covered peninsula on the Athens Riviera, where the scent of rosemary dances on the warm, salty breeze, Four Seasons Astir Palace is a Riviera grande that has hosted iconic figures. But despite its illustrious history, wandering around in shorts and flip-flops is the norm. Thanks to its beachfront position on the Vouliagmeni, the most sought-after spot on the Athenian Riviera, the location feels akin to a Greek Island and is its own blissful world where time seems to disappear.
The striking brutalist structure oozes old-world glamour and charm, open year-round but coming alive in the spring and summer months with linen-clad guests carrying Prada beach bags and oversized sunglasses. It’s an island in itself – hidden amidst flora-covered hills and peaceful coves where boats bob away, but a corner for daytime partying, nightlife and others for dining, hiding away and relation. Prepare to spend an inordinate amount of time gazing across the coves and bays that frame this iconic resort. Come evening, the entire bay illuminates with the silvery moon.
The story: 10/10
Once known as simply ‘Astir Palace’, the property was built in 1961 as a small selection of bungalows (still there to book today) above Vouliagmeni Beach – a popular spot for Athenians. It quickly became the supermodel of the Riviera, growing in popularity and hosting glamorous fixtures like Aristotle and Jackie Onassis, Frank Sinatra, and Brigitte Bardot, who would sail in. In 2019, the property underwent a $250 million renovation as it reopened at Four Seasons, with the same soul and experience but more five-star, state-of-the-art facilities and a more extensive selection of casual all-day dining restaurants.
The location: 9/10
On the peaceful peninsula near Voulgemini beach – the gem of the Athens Riviera. The resort is away from the buzz of this party paradise, tucked away and shrouded by pine forests, but just a 15-minute drive from the bars, buzz and nightlife of Gylfada – an affluent Athens suburb and summer nightlife hotspot. Travel into the city centre is incredibly easy and takes around 25 minutes – making day trips to the Acropolis and other Athens sites a must.
Rooms and suites: 10/10
Four Seasons Astir Palace is like an island in itself, and its variety of accommodations is truly astonishing. The main brutalist Sixties structure, known as ‘Arion’, has stylish and cosy rooms with ocean or pine forest views and close proximity to the main swimming pools, facilities and dining outlets. Further along, there’s the glossy, newer Nafsika wing, more ostentatious with designer shops, boutiques and ocean and garden-view rooms and suites – also where the high-tech gym, main pool and star restaurant Helios and Mercato, the latter where a buffet breakfast is served.
The stars, however, are the original bungalows, renovated to such an impeccable standard and hidden by olive trees and bougainvillaea across the cove. Their soothing shades of whites and greys focus all attention on the blue sea and green surrounding forests, and all come with a balcony, terrace, and many with a private plunge pool. A sea-view bungalow is utterly blissful, opening onto a coastal path with Diptique toiletries, a sunken marble bath and welcome touches like fresh local fruits, ouzo and olives. Of course, all come with the famous Four Seasons bedding, known as one of, if not the most, comfortable night’s sleep in the world’s hotel industry (purchase it for yourself in the spa shop).
Food and drink: 10/10
Four Seasons Astir Palace has a diverse and delectable array of outlets, meaning guests never have to leave the premises. Dotted around the grounds, each of its restaurants and bars perfectly follows a theme, delivering an authentic and creative dining experience loved by locals and guests alike. In the flashy, modern Nafsika wing, there’s Helios, the hotel’s stylish poolside eatery serving Latin American dishes and twists on Greek classics. Upstairs is a panoramic Italian restaurant Mercato where delights include salty, brothy spaghetti alle vongole and arguably the best pizza in Athens, with spritzes and sea views to match. There are two choices for breakfast, one being Mercato for an unbelievable international buffet where everything from green juice, eggs, cold cuts and cakes to Greek yoghurt thick as butter and traditional pide are on offer. Traditional Greek breakfast is also served at Taverna 37. Nafsika also houses the hotel’s most glossy cocktail bar – designed by Martin Brudniksi in his signature Art Deco style with pastel pinks and a soaring ceiling with a statement chandelier.
Things are a little more chilled and authentic in the main history building. Right on the sea, hidden beneath the property, is Taverna 37 – where the Greek island vibe truly sets in. The waves almost lap wooden tables and chairs, and rattan lamps sway in the breeze. Crisp Greek wine, ice-cold beer and dishes like fresh seafood, Greek salad and tzatziki are best here.
Every guest should experience Four Seasons Asir Palace’s Pelagos restaurant, the Michelin-star ocean-front experience by chef Luca Piscazzi inspired by a gastronomic trip across the Greek islands. For the glossiest of gloss, there’s Monte-Carlo-born Beefbar and Nobu – perches on the clifftop overlooking the Aegean.
Spa and facilities: 10/10
Facilities are exceptional – ticking every desired box, be it wellness, fitness, or relaxation. There are two ultra-modern fitness suites and an indoor spa and pool area – an ethereal, white-washed slice of heaven. An indoor pool has silvery blue water, a hammam, steam room, and white loungers loaded with colourful glossy magazines. No detail is left unturned, fridges stocked with crisp apples, cold water and towels scented with mint and eucalyptus, and treatments rooms have windows and terraces overlooking the bay. Make sure to visit the two-story spa ship, with straw hats, sunglasses, chic resort wear and Four Seasons signature bedding on sale.
The indoors are sublime but you’re here for the outdoors. There’s the main swimming pool-cum-beach club – vibey with music, loungers and a good-looking crowd, or myriad rocky private beaches and coves for utter privacy. All have wooden deckings and ladders descending into the turquoise water below. While secluded, the deckings have plush loungers with umbrellas and service buttons, so quickly call a pool server who appears with water in a cooler bag. A hair along, tennis and basketball course, hiking and jogging trails, watersports, helipad, and yachting charters complete the offering.
Utterly faultless. In keeping with Four Seasons standards, the majority of staff are Greek, providing the most authentic experience and being able to offer local insider knowledge.
Few resorts in the world genuinely transport you like Four Seasons Astir Palace. Its position is just a stone’s throw from the city centre, but the feeling of peace and one of the islands are truly unique, and guests quite literally want for nothing. Combined with history, style, and holding a special place in Athenian’s hearts, this is truly one of the best hotels in the world.
Vouliagmeni, Greece; doubles from about AED2,340 low season, AED5,245 high season; fourseasons.com