Shila, Athens is a Twenties townhouse turned temple to design, art and hospitality in cultured Kolonaki. Each of the six suites is different, with the common theme an obsession with originality, whether that’s floating beds, black bathrooms with swings in the shower or artfully undone plasterwork. The output of Greek artists and artisans is showcased on rotation (even in edible form, judging by its breakfast), DJs and sushi chefs regularly frequent the rooftop, and staff see to every whim, all under the watchful eye of Shila herself, who ensures everything is always aesthetically pleasing.
Double rooms from £189.30 (€218), including tax at 13 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of €0.50 per room per night on check-out.
Rates usually include breakfast.
The team is constantly on the lookout for new artists to shout from its rooftop garden about, with regular exhibitions on show in the lounge, in addition to the pieces to be found in every suite – and most of it is for sale (handy for anyone in need of a less tacky than usual souvenir).
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, rooftop, library lounge. In rooms: air-conditioning, Bose sound system, minibar and bespoke bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Each of the six suites has its artistic highlights, but we especially love the Garden Retreat for its silent outside space, suspended bed that needs steps to be reached gracefully and the votive cabinet paying tribute to portraits of glamorous Greek ladies. La Boheme is nice and roomy, with two bathrooms (including one painted red), dramatic soft furnishings (velvet, brocade and curtains around the bed) and purposefully unfinished plasterwork.
Your most stylish threads: this is a backdrop so ethereally artistic, Dior has used it for fashion shoots.
The hotel reception is manned between 7.30am and 11pm.
Generally the hotel is over-12s only, however, younger guests may be accepted on a case by case basis, please contact our travel team to enquire. There are two-bedroom suites that are ideal for families, and cots are available upon request.
Join the fun at the communal bench up on the roof, or secure a siesta-friendly white sofa.
Greek gods (and Indian deities).
There’s no restaurant at the hotel but breakfast is delivered to your room each morning, starring: croissants and sourdough from a local bakery, yoghurt with granola and chia seeds, vanilla butter from Normandy and heather honey from the island of Kimolos, along with fresh fruit, cold-press organic orange juice and your preferred hot beverage. Kolonaki has lots of restaurants within walking distance, and the hotel can arrange takeout from a handful of them, including Greek pies, salads, pizzas and meaty sushi from Birdman.
Drinks, including classic cocktails, cooling iced coffees and virtuous smoothies, are served in the rooftop garden.
Breakfast arrives at your suite at whatever time you requested the night before.
Staff can arrange deliveries from their favourite local restaurants at various times, every day except Sunday. Just text the front desk and wait half an hour.
The Kolonaki casa is in one of Athens’ most upscale neighbourhoods, named (fittingly for Greece) after a column.
It’s a 45-minute drive to Athens International. The hotel can arrange transfers on request.
Larissa station, the city’s main rail hub, is 20 minutes away by car.
There are lots of metro and bus stops nearby for getting around, and the hotel is on a quiet pedestrianised street – if you have come by car, stow it away on Solonos Street.
Piraeus is the city’s major port and gateway to Greece’s several thousand islands. For those docking here from an Aegean outpost, the hotel is 20 minutes away by car.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel’s ’hood is Kolonaki, to which Athenians flock for the city’s finest art, fashion, food and nightlife. Cultural cradles nearby include Benaki, the Goulandris Foundation, the National Gallery and the Museum of Cycladic Art. There are smaller-scale galleries in Kolonaki, too, such as a Gagosian outpost, Kalfayan and Allouche Benias. For something altogether less urban, Mount Lycabettus is there for the hiking (and views out across the city). Anyone with a hearty interest in Ancient Greece (and a strong word-per-minute rate) will enjoy a bookish afternoon at the Gennadius Library, home to no fewer than 145,000 texts and manuscripts. Don’t miss a trip to nearby neighbourhood Exarcheia to admire its architecture, graffiti and Sunday-morning farmers’ market on Kallidromiou Street.
It may feel as though you’re in someone’s backyard (in a good way), but Fita (+30 21 1414 8624) has some of the best seafood in the city. For Greek sharing plates with a Japanese twist, try Nolan, where fusion street food gets fancy; and for more edible Eastern imports, head toBirdman, an izakaya with some serious meat on offer (wagyu nigiri, for a start). The modestly named Annie Fine Cooking is a classic neighbourhood hangout, creatively preparing fresh produce with even fresher flavours. If you’re in Exarcheia, Ama Lachei, in the garden of an old primary school, is the prandial pitstop of choice.
Helpfully named after the square it’s on, Dexameni (+30 21 0722 4609) is an open-air café that practically begs you to stop and people-watch over some meze. Cafe Avissinia is ideal for a coffee or lunch after shopping for antiques in its surrounding streets.
If you prefer your beer and raki to come with a side of some ancient ruins, head to Dioskouroi (+30 21 0325 3333) after a trip around the Ancient Agora of Athens.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this townhouse hotel in Athens and unpacked their new artworks and antiques, a full account of their boutique city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Shila in Kolonaki…
It may have once been a lawyers’ office, but that’s where free-spirit Shila’s corporate life ends, transforming instead into a bohemian bolthole for Athenians in the know. Worshipping Shilas of the Indian-deity variety (not to be confused with the colloquial nickname for Australian women), this unassuming 1920s townhouse, on a sleepy pedestrianised street in Kolonaki, may as well be a speakeasy – as the pleasantly surprised people who’re whisked up to the rooftop for events will attest.
Almost everything in sight is Greek, apart from some wallpaper from London that sneaked its way in. If you like what you see, you’re in luck: most of the artworks are for sale and the staff will even ship them home for you – extending to classical ceramics, several of which are on display throughout the residence.
This hôtel particulier wants you, its esteemed guest, to feel at home, whether that’s with a tinkle on the piano in the mosaic-floored library lounge, a snooze (or shower) on the roof or a flick through the old editions that were lovingly sourced from antique bookstores. There’s a word in Greek for its people’s ‘love of the foreign’: philoxenia – and the art of hospitality is alive and well at Shila.