Before the turning of the Millennium, most travelers to Greece touched down in Athens, and then headed straight for the islands of Santorini, Mykonos, and the like. But the Greek capital has been undergoing a transformation over the last decade and a half – especially in regards to its vibrant street art scene – making it more than just a place to stop and gawk at the Parthenon for a couple of hours.
It’s also at last getting better hotels – to wit, the Perianth, which just opened in the non-touristy area of Monastiraki, known for its historic architecture and lively flea market. It’s actually specifically located on the comely Agia Eirini square, with its buzzy pavement tables and beautiful Byzantine-style church.
A member of Design Hotels, the Perianth is indeed something of a stylistic masterpiece (interiors by K-STUDIO), with its striking, almost museum-quality modernist public spaces, and its 38 clean-lined, but warmly turned out rooms. Local artworks by the likes of Antonakis, Yiannis Varelas, and Margarita Myrogianni appear throughout the hotel.
There’s also a comely, light-flooded Italian restaurant, Il Baretto, whose bar is a scene for early evening aperitivo. And the Zen Center, for meditation, yoga and martial arts, is located in the same building.
A recent Euro Zone report also shows Greece to have finally left its financial crisis behind – so the mood is much better amongst the people these days.