After three days at the best hotel I ever expect to stay at in my whole life (the Myconian Imperial on Mykonos, which even allowed me to stay in my room till 5:30 since I had a 7:30pm flight to Athens), I worried because of all our complaints of diminishing service, attention to status, breakfast, etc. that one of my two favorite Marriotts in the world (the other being Ghent) would disappoint.
It says a great deal to me that it not only did not disappoint, but even exceeded previous experiences. We're talking about Greece, which is in a fiscal crisis, where every euro undoubtedly matters to every proprietor of a business. Maintaining standards in such an environment is challenging to say the least and improving them is deserving of a special world.
So here's the deal. They arranged for my taxi transfer for the airport (and to the next day), all at below average cab rates. When I arrived, I was greeted effusively by Kalliope, who not only recognized me (seemingly personally but also as a PP), then she said she had a very nice suite for me (this was a room I prepaid 159 euros for), although she was sorry it was only one night.
VERY NICE??? Duh? I walked into my suite to see a huge living room with sofa, many chairs, large screen TV, then an equally large dining room that could have hosted most boards of directors, then a kitchenette. My only worry, since this happened to me once at the Radisson in New Orleans, is that I couldn't find the bedroom. I did find a half bath and I figured they wouldn't give me a suite without shower or bath so I kept looking. (You're probably laughing but I'm serious -- at the Radisson NO, it turned out the sofa was a sofabed.) Then I found the luxurious bedroom with flat screen tv, and I walked outside to the balcony, which was at least 25' long with a view of the Acropolis. WOW. And then the full bathroom. This suite was double the size of my apartment in Maine.
Moreover, I was given lounge info. It is open every day of the week, although there are 'enhanced continental breakfasts' and hors d'oeuvres and dessert hours M-F, but there are continental breakfasts and access on the weekend. The computers all work and you can easily print your boarding pass.
The best was last in many respects, although I did worry I might get lost in the suite. When I checked out yesterday morning, the person at the desk handed me a going away gift!!! Was this for real? It was a beautifully wrapped luggage part leather luggage strap for attaching extra pieces to your suitcase. I asked why and was told it was because it was my 5th stay at the Ledra. Over 3 years, they kept track of an occasional stayer like me.
Like I said, please come to Greece. The hospitality is nowhere else, and don't believe the soundbites and few clips you get of occasional demonstrations or violence. IN Athens, it's pretty much limited, when it happens, to Syntagma Square and in Thessaloniki to the university area. Greeks are the epitome of hospitality and friendliness, and I would rather spend my money there than almost anywhere else. Both hotels, one on an affluent island and the other on Syngrou Avenue in Athens, made me understand how lucky I was. Plus thanks to the stay on Mykonos, I'd actually become partially fluent in a few Greek phrases beyond the basics.
Thank you, Athens Ledra, and your wonderful staff and management!