A small contemporary hotel in the heart of Athens, Fresh Hotel is an ideal base for exploring the rest of the city from if you do not want to compromise on design or cleanliness. Most hotels in Athens tend to be in dire need of a renovation and are not always as clean as you might want them to be. Fresh is part of the Design Hotels label, guaranteeing a certain standard in the quality and design.
Fresh is located on a small side street off Athina, the main road in Monastiraki, also the name of the metro station (a 5 minute walk away). The street the hotel is on isn't the cleanest of streets in the city and you may notice a few 'ladies of the night' operating here late at night, but there is little to fear.
Close to the Plaka district and the Monastiraki markets, the hotel is ideally located for guests who want to get a well-rounded feel for the city without having to walk too far.
The hotel is part of the Design Hotels label, a mark of quality and design.
As you turn into the small side street the hotel is located on, you might begin to apprehend your choice of accommodation as the surrounding area doesn't look like much, but once inside, it isn't hard to see why Fresh is part of the Design Hotels label. One of the only contemporary hotels in the city, it is a fairly good deal as well as reasonably-priced.
The lobby area is set up like a cosy living area with colourful felt modular furniture and a large fireplace that is lit in the winter. The window display changes every season too, adding a little dynamism to an otherwise very static area. Unless there is a conference going on during your stay, it is rare to see crowds of guests at reception.
On the mezzanine floor is where you will find a small business centre with access to a computer and the internet. For guests in need of relaxation, the use of the steam and sauna rooms as well as the 24 hour gym are complimentary. The mezzanine floor is also where the breakfast room is as well as the hotel conference facilities.
Next up are the rooms followed by the pièce de résistance, the Air Lounge on the roof. This area comprises the main restaurant (open for lunch and dinner) and bar, with an adjoining terrace. The wooden deck looks out over the city with a stunning view of the Acropolis in the distance - this is the perfect place to come to watch the sunset. On a raised part of the deck you will find a rectangular pool, which although small, does the job cooling guests down during the sweltering Greek summer.
Overall the hotel is extremely simple without too much fuss but with a roof-top deck that is worth staying here for, especially during the summer (May-Sept).
With 133 rooms, the hotel cannot be qualified as a boutique hotel, but the quiet and relaxed atmosphere does set it apart from other medium-sized hotels. There are three room categories: Standard (22 sq. metres), Executive (28 sq. metres) and Suite (40 sq. metres).
The interiors do not tend to vary greatly in terms of décor, which remains fairly plain. Expect white walls, white linens and touches of bright colours (orange or lime green).
Despite the rooms being on the small side, they have most of the expected mod-cons like a television (flat-screen but very small), in-room safe, hair-dryer, balcony and complimentary wireless internet. However, there is no mini-bar. The rooms are extremely simple - as we mentioned above, the hotel is a good base to explore the city from, but not the best choice for guests wanting somewhere to spend a romantic weekend as it does lack warmth and character.
The bathrooms are spacious and attractive. The bathtubs however are extremely difficult to have a shower in without flooding the bathroom due to the large tub encasement edges. Bathroom products are of the quality Greek brand, Korres.
Guests usually opt to have breakfast at the hotel and might try the roof-top restaurant once or twice as it boasts some of the best views in the city, however on most nights it tends to remain quiet (unless there is a function on).
The breakfast room on the mezzanine floor follows the white theme with splashes of colour that you will find throughout the hotel. We were pleasantly surprised by the quality and range of foods on offer - presented as a buffet with hot and cold options. There was even an orange juice maker for guests to use, adding that special touch.
The Air Lounge restaurant serves a range of à la carte options based on Greek produce and cuisine with a modern twist. The bar has an elaborate cocktail menu including options made with the local speciality liqueur, mastika, for an acquired taste!
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