Divani Apollon Palace

There’s a stretch along the coastline in southern Athens nicknamed the Athenian Riviera in the 70’s… a name and vibe that has stuck today. And with good reason. Grand hotels were built along this coast, nestled between the Aegean Sea and a road called Poseidonos, and seem like they haven’t changed since – a welcome respite from our fast-paced, digital-hungry world. Divani Apollon Palace feels like a regal place where Poseidon himself may decide to holiday…

The Welcome

Very tall doormen (all of them are seriously tall) clad in taupe whisked my bags away as if they were light as feathers and ushered me into the spacious lobby. While checking in, the siren call of the Aegean sea and the sounds of people happily splashing in the pool steps away were beckoning me to be outdoors.  I was here on a work trip this time around, so I would have to wait until after meetings were over before joining them…

Sweet Suite

The rooms are simple and big by European/American standards. I’ve stayed in my fair share of five star shoeboxes (I’m talking to you NYC) – and this is definitely closer to room sizes in Dubai.

divani room

Best part? The balcony. The majority of the (little) time I spent in the room was outdoors breathing in that beautiful sea air, listening to the cicadas in the trees, and counting my blessings for having grown up in a country as beautiful as Greece.


Mountains, sea, and a grass landing strip on the roof next door lol


The main restaurant in the hotel, Anemos, means breeze, and it’s a good direction for how to enjoy a meal here. Sit on the terrace and sample some pretty good Greek cuisine, including fresh sfirida fish with oven-roasted potatoes and some Mythos local beer. Don’t forget the Greek salad!

greek salad 2

This is also the restaurant for breakfast. I love me some hotel breakfast buffets. From nutella crepes to omelettes with paprika potatoes, it’s a feast fit for a Greek goddess.




This resort has one of the most famous spas in Athens. There’s a gorgeous indoor swimming pool with jet streams and treatments rooms that offer everything from a deep tissue massage to diamond microdermabrasion. It made me wish for a split second that I was a trophy wife tailing her husband on a business trip so I could enjoy a spa day, but alas, I was the one in a meeting room all day. I’ll have to come back to try the facilities on a proper vacation.

divani indoor pool

Indoor pool heaven made me wish for a rainy day


Sun Kissed

With two pools and a sprawling beach, the best thing to do is tan, tan, tan. If you get bored, just play musical chairs with the sun beds. You can’t go wrong.


Sneaking in some pool time… can’t be all work and no play!


divani beach

Now THAT’s a beach…



Laid back and fun-loving is the vibe at this relaxed beach resort. Channel Greek charm in feminine beach attire with this nautical look.


Beachy days


Lisa Marie Fernandez bandeau top
880 AED – kirnazabete.com

Handbag tote
49 AED – gojane.com

Henri Bendel palm beach jewelry
215 AED – henribendel.com

Fascinator hat
44 AED – amazon.com

Lexington blue beach towel
260 AED – amara.com
Guest Post by Rupert Wright of Ashbright
Paris holds no terrors for well-heeled travellers, who can check into one of the city’s eleven palaces such as ­ the Georges V, Plaza Athénée, Le Bristol or my favourite, Le Meurice. But for those on any kind of budget, finding a decent place to stay in the French capital can be a challenge. Bedrooms smaller than a bathroom, bathrooms smaller than a bidet, we’ve all stayed at one of them and lived to regret it. So, it’s with great pleasure that I have found almost the perfect Parisian hotel – and you don’t need to be a tech billionaire to afford it. The Bedford has been family owned and run for more than a hundred years, combining Swiss roots, French flair and English tradition. It benefits from strong leadership, attention to detail, and a staff eager to look after you. With just 140 rooms, it is large enough to intimate, but not so large that you are anonymous. It’s a 4 star, but deserves more.
The rooms
Parquet flooring; high ceilings; comfortable beds and pillows; keys rather than plastic cards; and best of all, real switches, that turn the lights on and off. The Bedford has sensibly ignored many of the technical traps that can make staying in a hotel room more challenging than setting up your own satellite transmission site. The result is a place that combines understated elegance with modern touches and old school service. Some rooms overlook the rue de l’Arcade, others look over a courtyard, but all are a decent size and a muted colour. There is air-conditioning too, which is a relief when the summer strikes.
Breakfast is a buffet in a glorious belle époque room, boasting stucco reliefs and a glass roof. Dinner happens here too, French cuisine and fairly formal. There’s also a relaxed bistro/bar that serves meals and cocktails.
A stone’s throw from the Place de la Madeleine, the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens, and the Opera, this is one of the best areas to stay in Paris. (Marcel Proust used to live just around the corner). It is a lively area, with great boutiques, wine bars and an eclectic mix of restaurants, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Lebanese and French too.
Don’t miss
The Bedford knows that many people like to travel with their pets, so they are allowed to stay too.
HOTEL BEDFORD, 17, RUE DE L’ARCADE 75008 PARIS Tel. : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 77 Fax : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 97 More information at www.hotel-bedford.com
Rooms from €250; Suites from €450


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Sara Hamdan

Welcome to a magazine editor’s guide to luxury hotels and what to wear when you’re there! My work has appeared in: The International New York Times, Rolling Stone, Variety and CNN Travel. I’ve held editorial roles at VIVA Magazine, Dubai Magazine and Stylist Arabia.  Now, I freelance for the likes of Google, CNN and Savoir Flair!

Editing travel pages was always my favourite part of working for lifestyle magazines. I started this blog out of a love of beautiful hotels that provide the fairytale escape of a day as a princess where breakfast is a buffet and chocolates appear on my pillow.

PR queries, feedback and compliments? Email sara@holidaysinheels.com!