It was gone midnight by the time we finally stumbled, bleary-eyed and ready for bed, into the reception at Athens’ Semiramis Hotel. With our heads a little bit swirling by the free beer at the TBEX opening party, my senses couldn’t help but be bombarded with all the sights and sounds of the lobby: fresh white walls punctuated by pastel shades, and a giant ‘YE$’ sign looming over the waves of sofas. Oh, and a hushed silence. I could have curled up on one of those sofas and fallen asleep right there and then.
Nestled within the bustling neighbourhood of Kifissia, traditionally home to high-end stores and elite mansions, the Semiramis Hotel is the brainchild of the interior designer Karim Rashid. Part of the YES! hotel brand, Semiramis adopts bubblegum colours to give it a youthful, energetic vibe.
Everything about the hotel is designed with the young, quirky and luxury traveller in mind. The hotel rooms don’t even have numbers – you’re merely given a floor number and a shape with your room card. Ours was the little three-leaf clover design, but I’m not sure how you would describe some of the other shapes if you were put under pressure…
See that light on the floor? That’s another nifty design feature. You can set the message to say anything from ‘Do Not Disturb’ to ‘Make Up My Room.’ The maid can also change it to warn you they’re in your room – just in case you fancy a mid-morning stop back to the hotel.
If you’re not a fan of bright colours, this is probably not the hotel for you…The lollipop colour palette is a constant throughout the hotel, from its pink and yellow carpets in the hallways to the luminous green desk. I was almost pleased I had packed my sunglasses.
The room had more mod-cons than we possibly had time to use during our whirlwind one-night stay. Of course, there was the obligatory flat-screen TV, plus a DVD player. Not packed any DVDs in your luggage? Not to worry – the hotel has its very own DVD library from you to take your pick from. There’s also complimentary water, plus (what I’m guessing) is a wine bucket.
Luckily the bed area is a little more muted, with refreshing white walls and white covers. Each room features backlit artwork above the bed, but the light can be switched off if you’re looking to rest the eyes. As is common with a lot of hotel rooms, there’s a variety of mood lighting options depending on how awake you’re feeling.
Even more bright colours take precedence in the spacious bathroom, which annoyingly has those semi-transparent walls. The monsoon shower was a particularly pleasant addition to my morning, while complimentary toiletries are provided.
By far my favourite thing about the room though, was the fluorescent yellow/green balcony sporting views out across Athens. Unfortunately we weren’t treated to the best weather, but I could certainly imagine myself making use of that wine bucket and those chairs on a sunny day.
Part of the reason why I opted for a stay at the Semiramis was because of its incredible outside pool area. Unfortunately, because of the aforementioned terrible weather, there was no way I was stepping foot in it – unless, of course, I wanted to catch hypothermia. It’s a smaller pool than it looks on the website, so I could imagine it gets pretty packed in the summer months. I also wasn’t overly enamoured eith the overlooking windows from the houses next door, but you can’t deny it’s a pretty neat design. Oh, and there’s also an indoor gym if you’re looking to keep fit while on holiday.
And finally…the breakfasts! The vibrant seating area was definitely one way in which to wake us from our slumber. We were able to take our pick from a hot or cold breakfast- my friend opted for a yummy concoction of bacon, Mediterranean vegetables and scrambled egg, while I kept it simple with a bowl of cereal, plus a mini croissant and a pain au chocolat.
While I absolutely loved the hotel’s creative design features and felt it was easily the best place I’d stayed in throughout 2014, there was only one little thing that let it down, and that was the location. While Kifissia has its fair share of restaurants and shopping opportunities, if it’s the main sights you’re after you’re looking at a 40-minute train journey into the centre of the city. The nearest metro station is around 15-20 minutes walk away (according to Google Maps) so it’s best if you either have a car or the money to pay for a taxi.
Overall, it’s a hotel I would absolutely love to stay in again for a relaxing, luxurious stay – perhaps next time with a little extra sunshine.
Prices range from €130 (£102) a night. Many thanks to the YES! team for providing me with a press rate.
What do you think of the Semiramis hotel? Do you prioritise design or location?