Never thought we would say this about a hotel anywhere, but perfection has indeed arrived in the Athens hotel scene in the form of Grecotel’s Dolli at Acropolis
This property blew us away with its exquisite yet relaxed elegance. Dolli assuredly combines the ancient soul of the city with its vibrant contemporary energy. It is a sophisticated urban hotel for today’s discerning traveller who wants to experience and live in the city, not just visit it.
The location is unbeatable, right in the historic Plaka, the heart of Athens with its stunning ancient landmarks. The view of the Parthenon and the Acropolis is breathtaking, especially from the fabulous rooftop of Dolli. The view provides an impressive backdrop through the enormous windows of the 46 exceptionally high-ceilinged large suites and apartments of this boutique hotel that is in fact a 1925 neoclassical building, now completely reimagined.
The suites are impeccably appointed and feature a higher level of standards we have seen anywhere else. From pillows to bathrooms and furnishings to original art, absolutely everything is supremely curated. Antiques and modern art are mixed effortlessly, and this mix provides delightful surprises at every turn throughout the property.
And we don’t know where to start with the food. It surpassed all expectations and surprised us every day.
The rooftop infinity pool tops it all off literally and figuratively. It is hard to believe that the view from the infinity pool is real; it is so magical, especially at night.
The vision for Dolli comes from Mari Daskalantonakis, the CEO and Managing Director of the family-owned Grecotel Group of Companies that is a leading hospitality company in Greece with 40 four-and five-star hotels and resorts. She is a 30-plus-year veteran of the business and the daughter of one of the owners.
Daskalantonakis tells us that in her view, the building has a female character, just like Athens. So, Dolli is a doll, the Doll of Acropolis, a beautiful woman, the jewel of the area.
The listed building, known as the Kallimasiotis Mansion, served as the core inspiration for Daskalantonakis’s vision for the sophisticated urban hotel. It was designed by the Greek-born Andreas Kriezis as a private mansion in 1925. Kriezis is also known for redesigning the Royal Palace building in Athens in 1929 to accommodate the Greek Parliament.
Daskalantonakis spent two years working on the vision of the hotel. During the five-year conversion period, careful attention was paid to the eclectic features of Kreizis’s original, grandiose design, both exterior and interior.
These features were carefully restored and are now elegantly revealed to full advantage among an exquisitely curated array of antiques and contemporary and customized pieces. The building itself looks like a piece of estate jewellery: opulent and imposing yet classical and timeless.
Inside, there is original art by Pablo Picasso, ceramics by Jean Cocteau (on fireplace and in the library) and original furniture by François-Xavier and Claude Lalanne.
The main white unholstered pieces in the foyer are part of the Pacha collection by the legendary French designer Pierre Paulin (reissued by Gubi). The gorgeous marble reception desk is the Officium by Pierre Augustin Rose.
One of the most challenging parts of the restoration project was the rooftop. What to do with an abandoned rooftop that has one of the world’s most iconic views? How to make it part of the guest’s experience in an effortless and elegant way?
Mari Daskalantonakis trusted this challenge to Stelios Kois of Kois Associated Architects whom Daskalantonakis describes as a “genius of understatement.” He created the rooftop restaurant environment of which Daskalantonakis now happily says: “He gave a humble piece of divine architecture to Athens.”
Kois was quoted in another article describing his overall attitude towards older urban buildings as saying: “I view these buildings as structural gems of a bygone era. They are heirlooms of domestic architecture and cultural heritage, havens of our collective memory. They cease to be merely excellent structures appreciated by architects, they hold something of a greater value for everyone.”
An although Kois’s quote is not from the context of Dolli, it does feel like a description of the miracle that has happened here at the Kallimasiotis Mansion. – Bill Tikos