On my recent trip to Athens, Greece, I had the pleasure of staying overnight at the chic Life Gallery Hotel.
This stylish stop-off was built in 2004 and is situated in Ekali: one of the Greek capital’s quiet, well-heeled northern suburbs.
Location-wise, it of course lacks the buzzy cafés and bars of the city center. But if you’re looking for a calming place to rest your head after a day of exploring what can be a pretty chaotic destination, this is the perfect choice.
What’s more, it’s only around a 40-minute drive to Athens’ iconic focal point, the Acropolis. We managed it in almost 20 by leaving early in the morning.
Upon arrival, sharp lines define the hotel’s striking exterior.
I was immediately impressed by the hotel’s spacious, well-manicured gardens, all lush greens and towering trees. The flowers and plants felt vibrant and freshly-planted; no mean feat in a country of near-constant sunshine and scorching temperatures.
Meanwhile, the reception area’s highly polished marble floor and the friendly, welcoming service of the staff were also immediate hints of a pleasant stay.
After five minutes I was presented with a cooling Aperol Spritz. An Italian drink, of course, albeit one sweeping the half the world at this point. ‘We’ve only just caught onto it!’ joked the bar staff. It was the perfect greeting after a long morning traveling in 28 degree heat.
Later, in my bedroom, I found another drink popular in Greece (as well as neighboring Turkey): a small bottle of Raki. This unsweetened, anise-flavored alcoholic drink is extremely strong, but I would urge anyone looking for an authentic taste of the region to give it a try.
My room itself was a decent size and styled with an earthy, contemporary decor. The same marble floor from reception was present throughout the room.
The open plan living room and bedroom areas were separated by a divider, creating a feeling of extra space. My semi-private balcony, meanwhile, overlooked the beautiful garden. Most of the rooms come with this feature.
Again, my shower, toilet and wash basin area were separated by sliding glass doors so I never felt cramped.
Initially I had no idea how to adjust the air con or lighting; the room is a puppet to several touch pads on the walls. But after a much-needed read of the welcome note, I had full control of the room features.
The bed was low to the floor – I felt like I was staying in a Japanese imperial suite. The gloriously light duvet and the giant pillows made for a more than comfortable night’s sleep.
Elsewhere, the hotel’s facilities are impeccable throughout. Life Gallery Hotel has complimentary wifi, luxurious bath and body care products, inside and outside eating areas, and a brand spanking-new pool and a spa. (Although sadly I had no time to experience either!)
I have to give a special mention to the hotel staff, who were always attentive. In particular, hotel Manager Niki Alexiadou. Niki was the perfect host, giving suggestions of local bars to visit in the city as well as having a general chit-chat at dinner.
I would recommend eating at the Kool Life restaurant and bar even if you aren’t staying at the hotel.
The outdoor seating is perfect for a leisurely afternoon lunch in the sun or a romantic dinner under the stars. The service is warm, friendly and fast.
At dinner, they offer a nice selection of local wines and traditional Greek delights and Mediterranean specialties. If you’re looking to tantalize your palate with intriguing tastes and aromas, then this is the perfect choice.
For my start I ordered a Greek salad; one of the best salads I’ve ever tasted. The finest of olive oil topped off an infusion of super fresh cucumber, tomatoes, olives and croutons.
For my main I ordered the kingfish over the chicken dish, which was a tough decision.
I knew that I had made the right decision with the kingfish as soon as I put the first mouth-watering forkful in my mouth. My taste buds literally screamed ‘opa!’.
Seasoned greens and a delightful celery puree accompanied the well-presented kingfish.
Finally, I have to salute the young chef who completed this extraordinary dining experience with a large portion of orange cake and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
During breakfast they have the standard buffet consisting of bacon, sausage and eggs, but they also provide a variety of Greek delicacies.
As a lover of food from around the world I was ecstatic with the introduction to Greek fine dining that the hotel provides.
Overall, I loved my stay at Life Gallery even if it was short. It’s a hotel with excellent service, luxurious amenities and up-to-date design.
Watch the full Greek trip video diary below: