Staying in central Athens will position you for seeing the major sites easily. If you are in Athens to meet a cruise, it is always a good idea to fly in at least a day ahead of time. My mantra for flying to meet cruises is one day ahead for domestic departures, and two days ahead for overseas embarkations.
If you fly in two days ahead, you can take advantage of my two suggested itineraries found here. If you have a choice of staying before or after your cruise, I am recommending that you do your stay pre-cruise. This way you can overcome jet lag, and start making the switch to being in a foreign culture. Fun!
If you don’t have points for your hotel stay, you can easily book a reasonably priced room on Booking.com or Hotels.com. Last year I booked the Best Western Museum near the National Archeological Museum via Booking.com. I used the TopCashBack portal and clicked through to Booking.com. I got the BW Museum for $75 per night, and Booking.com gave me $14 cash back, so my net price for the room was $61 (about 50€ at the time). The current cash back on Booking.com is 4%, but it changes frequently.
Now lets look at what you can do with points! The hotel chains in Athens that are bookable with points are Best Western, IHG, Starwood, Club Carlson and Hilton. I used awardmapper.com to find the locations and price points of these hotels. I have identified the hotels by name in the map (from the awardmapper website) below.
Best Western Hotels
These hotels are shown on the map as the dark blue carrots. The Best Western brand in Europe is much more upscale that our Best Westerns here in the US. I don’t collect BW points right now, but as I said earlier these hotels can also be booked fairly cheaply with cash.
1. Best Western Acropolis Ami Boutique–Category 3– 16,000 points. Great location, rooftop terrace with Acropolis views, walkable to Acropolis.
2. Best Western Ilisia–Category 6– 28,000 points. Poor reviews.
3. Best Western Plus Embassy–Category 5– 24,000 points. At the base of Lycabettus hill. Three metro stops from Syntagma Square.
4. Best Western Amazon–Category 5–24,000 points–Great location, walkable to Acropolis. Rooms somewhat basic.
5. Best Western Pythagorion–Category 4–20000 points. Near Omonia metro station. Love the name–makes me want to calculate the length of the hypotenuse of a triangle.
6. Best Western Museum–Category 4–20,000 points. Closest location to the National Archeological Museum. Nice breakfast buffet.
7. Best Western Candia–Category 3–16,000 points. Rooftop bar with small swimming pool.
Radisson Blue Park–Category 4–38,000 points. Not nearly so enticing since Club Carlson discontinued their “2nd night free” benefit. Roof top terrace with pool.
IHG (formerly Priority Club)
1. Intercontinental Athenaeum–Category 5–30,000 points. About 1.2 mile walk to the Acropolis. Very large hotel that caters to conventions. When we were there 500 kids attending an athletic competition and their parents were checking out, thank God. Must walk into central Athens to find restaurants. My review here.
2. Crowne Plaza City Centre–Category 4–25,000 points. Comfortable but a little far for exploring Athens on foot.
Just a reminder that you can also use the Chase Free Anniversary night certificate with these hotels if you have the IHG credit card. I keep the card with its $49 annual fee just for this benefit. We just recently used the certificate to stay at the Athenaeum. Details of booking the hotel found in this blog post.
1. Grande Bretagne–Category 5–12,000-16,000 points). Walkable to the Acropolis. Traditional luxury! Rooftop restaurant said to be the best in Athens.
2. King George–Category 5–12,000-16,000 points. A Luxury Collection Hotel. Walkable to the Acropolis. Treat yourself!
Hilton–Category 6–30,000-50,000 points. Wonderful views from rooftop bar. Convenient location on X95 bus route. Evangelismos metro station is a 5-minute walk away.