The Hera Hotel, Athens

We stayed at The Hera Hotel in Athens for 7 nights during November, 2014. Here are a few photos and observations that we made during our stay, and at the bottom of this review is a video that’ll give you a further idea of the hotel.

The Hera is a friendly, central, four star place and relatively good value in our opinion considering what you get for the price and the cost of other hotels in the vicinity.

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Location - The Hera Hotel is at Falirou 9, a quiet residential street less than ten minutes walk from the Acropoli Metro Station and a fifteen minute walk from The Temple of Zeus and the public entrance to the Acropolis site. Nearby are several excellent restaurants that cater mostly for locals, such as Mystic Pizza and Bock Beer, and others that are touristy but which serve good food all the same, such as Liondi (say ‘Hi’ to Stavros for us if you visit!). Here’s some more indepth location details that explain how to arrive at the hotel from the airport - http://www.herahotel.gr/athens_hotel_location

Part of the Plaka, Athens’ old town, is a few steps away although it’s main (noisier and more touristy) centre is around the other side of the Acropolis hill, a pleasant fifteen minute walk through narrow streets. The new Acropolis Museum, which houses sculptures from the Parthenon and is well worth a visit, is very near to the hotel (the entrance is less than ten minutes walk away).

A place worth a mention – it’s our favourite place to visit late at night in Athens as it’s quiet, atmospheric and peaceful – is the paved area in front of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and just below the Acropolis.  Luckily it’s just a ten minute walk from the Hera Hotel so we could enjoy it every night, mostly on our own. We recommend you pay the place a visit yourself when you stay at the Hera; it’s magical.

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Reception/Check In – We arrived at around midday and were checked in within five minutes. We found the staff  - at reception, at breakfast during the week we stayed and in the restaurant – to be polite, well mannered and discreet; they were always ready to help, with a smile and a few friendly words, but if we just wanted to go to our room or relax in the public areas we could do that without interference of any kind. They were also efficient; we didn’t ask much of them but when we did – such as when we wanted some postcards mailed and didn’t know where the postbox was – they took care of matters swiftly.

The entrance hall and reception area was covered with a magnificent glass roof, early 20th century style. There was a deep leather sofa to relax into, coffee table books to browse, complimentary maps and tourist-focused magazine guides, wooden wall panels and trim and several mirrored surfaces which had the interior glowing with reflected light. Here are some photos.

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A lift or stairs took us up to our room, and to the top floor restaurant.

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Our Room – We had carpeted floors in every corridor and also our room that were vacuumed daily; the first impression as we entered our room was how spotlessly clean it was.

The cleaning staff were quick and observant throughout our stay; no matter what time of day we put the ‘Please clean our room’ sign on the door – even if we did it at 4pm before we went out for dinner – it was done by the time we returned. They were also very attentive to how we liked things to be. For instance, there were heavy brown blankets on the beds but we didn’t use these and after seeing them pushed to the bottom of the bed on the second morning the staff took them away. Also, our hand towels were always folded very simply and placed either side of the wash basin, as we liked them to be, rather than rolled up and piled up on one side, as they were when we arrived. These are small touches but we appreciated the staff taking notice of the way that we liked our room arranged.

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The beds (our double bed was made up of two singles) were firm and comfy. We liked the fact that we had two single duvets instead of one large one. We have different needs when it comes to staying warm at night – Lamia likes to be very cosy whilst I like being colder – so it was good to be able to kick the blankets off, or pull them on, without bothering the other person.

We also had an easy chair and wooden desk in the room and two well printed, intelligently written English language magazines that focused on the city of Athens and Greek culture in general.

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The TV had a range of channels, about twenty in total, with one English news show. Wifi was free but the speed was often only so-so; it seems this is often the case as we travel, the cheaper backpackers hostels have the best internet speeds – they understand how important it is to their Facebook and Instagram loving customers – whilst the more expensive and larger hotels don’t seem to see it as quite as important.

The room stayed very warm; it was a blessing for us during winter but perhaps not so if we’d have had unseasonably warm temperatures as we didn’t want to have the windows open all night due to the traffic noise. The hotel isn’t on a main street so there’s not much noise but I’m a very light sleeper so I like to have the room as silent as possible. Our air con was adequate – it was programmable down to twenty degrees it said although it felt like it didn’t reach lower than – but I imagine you might need to have a word with the staff about the unit in summer to increase it’s cooling powers.

Here are a few more photos of the room.

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We were given a lovely welcome dessert on arrival…

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Here are some images of our bathroom. As you can see it was beautifully polished and clean with a bath and shower and also a washing line that could be pulled out over the bath.

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The washing line was handy; often my shirts would need a little rinse just to get the day off them.

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Our balcony was large enough for us two to sit out there. We had a view of the Acropolis and one of the long streets that lead off from central Athens in the direction of the sea. It was so nice to be able to walk out in the morning and see such a sight as the Parthenon gleaming in the early sun.

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Breakfast - The breakfast room had the feel of an early 20th century tea-room/botanical garden greenhouse. The chairs were wicker, the floors and lower walls made of marble and there was always a hushed atmosphere under the translucent, domed roof. The entire room was always clean and the girl who worked there was very smiley and always refilling things so we never ran out of juices or hot water for tea. We found it to be a very peaceful, civilised area to start our day in.

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There are some good healthy choices and plenty of egg, cereal and dairy options. The egg selection didn’t suit us too well – the omelette usually had ham in it (Lamia doesn’t eat pork) and the scrambled eggs were relatively runny – but the hard boiled were good and the spinach pies were always very crisp on the outside and soft on the inner, as they should be.

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A small point which could be addressed easily (and we think it will be quite soon) is that, for a vegetarian, it would be better to have the sausages and bacon in one serving hatch and the eggs in another, as for many people even the smell of meat is enough to put them off eating other things that are slightly infected with it, such as the eggs were in this case.

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The strawberry trifles were delicious and I’m glad we only discovered them at the end of our stay otherwise we’d have gained some weight, I’m sure! The waffles and syrup combination reminded Lamia of home in Canada and there were several types of cheese, cuts of cold meat, salads, tasty olives, dried fruits, warm pastries/croissants and of course the thick yoghurt and sweet honey that a traditional Greek breakfast is famous for. 

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There was a new chocolate sponge cake every day.

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Here are a few more images of the serving area and food available.

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All in all it was a good breakfast spread. There was plenty of choice, a good standard and a calm atmosphere in which to eat it.

The Restaurant - The Peacock Bar & Restaurant is on the roof of the Hera Hotel. We never ate there – other guests told us the food was good but we were always busy elsewhere (there’s a lot of excellent restaurants in Athens!) – but we did enjoy the view of sunset glinting on the Aegean Sea and the Acropolis. Here are some photographs we took there.

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Summary - The Hera Hotel has a brilliant location for both general sightseeing and for attending the Athens Marathon race (which is an event that we love; if you’re going to do one marathon race, this has to be it!). And if you consider the high standard of the room, the gentle, discreet service and the location then it’s the best value hotel that we’ve experienced in central Athens (€160 for a double at time of writing).

Here’s a short video that we made during our stay. It’s not meant to be a glossy promo film, more an honest look at what you might experience yourself if you stayed at the hotel.

We totally enjoyed our stay here so we’d say that the Hera Hotel is Very Highly Recommended. For more information please visit  www.herahotel.gr/central_hotel_athens

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