True to its name, The Modernist casts out all things superfluous in favour of what really matters: knock-out design, in-the-know staff and love for the local community. This budget-boutique bolthole occupies a Twenties building in the heart of downtown Thessaloniki, putting you within easy reach of the waterfront and historic port. The pared-back interiors tour the great epochs of modernist design, mingling art-deco, mid-century and cutting-edge Scandinavian styles. Those movements had an international reach, but the hotel is just as much a local hero: the books on your shelves come from a nearby shop, the bath products were made by a local chemistry whizz and the breakfast is sourced from the delectable deli (and restaurant) next door.
Get this when you book through us:
A Modernist tote bag with a branded notebook, pencil and postcard; GoldSmiths also get a bottle of wine
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £87.30 (€95), including tax at 13 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of €3.00 per room per night on check-out.
Rates don’t include breakfast; expect a smorgasbord of local, organic products like oven-fresh bread, pastries, spinach pies and gourmet cold cuts for €15 a person. Eggs are made to order.
Reception is manned around the clock, so you’ll always have someone to book a late-night taxi or recommend their favourite drinking hole.
At the hotel
Roof terrace, boutique, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV; Marshall Bluetooth speaker; minibar; Nespresso coffee machine; tea and kettle; free bottled water; black-out curtain; bespoke bath products made by local brand Physis Laboratory.
Our favourite rooms
Modernism reigns supreme. The furnishings are largely influenced by Thirties and Fifties design, with streamline moderne curves paired off with mid-century industrial styles in brass, glass and blackened steel. From smallest to largest, the rooms are much the same in looks, so choosing one comes down to how much legroom you need. Some rooms have a small private terrace overlooking the street; in others, the bed is on a raised platform. If you have a child in tow, book the family room. If there’s more than three of you, you’re better off going for a connecting room (the smaller room can be set up with twin beds).
If you’ve booked an Extra Large Room, a therapist from nearby Idolo salon can come to you. If not, it’s only a short walk to go to them, and the preferential rate for Modernist guests will make it worth your while.
Bring threads that you can cycle in – a bike is the best way to cruise the bar-studded waterfront.
The building’s layout makes it unsuitable for wheelchair users.
All ages are welcome. The Extra Large Room can sleep a child on the sofabed, and there's a Family Room – made up of two connected rooms – on each floor.
Take a pew on the roof terrace, where you’ll catch the first rays of sun.
Come as you are.
The top-floor breakfast room has the charming looks of a Fifties café, outfitted with a monochrome kitchen, pale parquet flooring, utilitarian tables and a gleaming espresso machine. Outside, there’s a decked roof terrace bordered by greenery-filled planters.
There’s no bar, but your minibar is stocked with wine and pre-bottled cocktails courtesy of the mixologists at the Clumsies, Athens’ most acclaimed cocktail bar.
The Modernist is in downtown Thessaloniki, minutes from the waterfront and a stone’s throw from buzzy bars and restaurants.
Touch down at Thessaloniki Airport, which can be reached directly from London Gatwick. It takes about 30 minutes to drive from the airport to the hotel; private transfers can be arranged for €22–25 one way.
Trains run between Athens and Thessaloniki, passing through Larissa and Meteora along the way. A taxi from the station to the hotel should be in the region of €7.
Having your own car isn't really necessary – you can reach all the key sights by bike, bus or taxi. If you do want to hire, the Smith24 team can arrange everything for you. There’s a secure car park within a few minutes’ walk of the hotel; rates start at €13 a night.
Worth getting out of bed for
With such a central location, this hotel is one for the rovers. Most guests make the most of the concierge team, who are only too willing to spill the city's best kept secrets. If you do find yourself lingering after breakfast, make your way up to the roof terrace. On the ground floor, there’s a small but well-curated boutique stocked with clothes, city guides, Moleskine notebooks and the same bath products you’ll find in your room (made by the son of a local pharmacist). Ergon Agora, the deli-restaurant that provides the food at breakfast, is right next door, too.
Beyond the door, you’ve got the whole of Greece’s second city to explore – and you’ll find it isn’t wanting in the history department. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in its sometimes turbulent past is on abike tour, which can be arranged at reception. The bikes will be dropped off at the hotel and you’ll be advised on the best routes to take, ensuring you pass key sights like the White Tower – the city’s most famous landmark – and the old port. If it’s reverence you’re after, take a gander at some of the city’s many churches – highlights include the Church of St Demetrius and Church of Hagia Sophia, one of the oldest in the city. If you want to dig even deeper into the past, head to the Archaeological Museum, which traces Macedonia’s history from prehistoric times to late antiquity. Once you’ve had your fill of the old, see how the new generation compares at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art.
If you’ve skipped breakfast, make up for it – and then some – at brunch hotspot Estrella, where breakfast favourites are served all day and into the night. Tuck into bacon-stuffed bagels, brioche waffles or a Greek-style breakfast pizza (made with simit dough and layered with toppings like crispy pork belly and gruyere cheese). For lunch, try the hotel’s foodie partner Ergon Agora, where the chefs cook with same produce available at the deli counters. Start with a spread of plump olives, crusty sourdough, garlic-glazed aubergine and stuffed peppers; follow with a plate of the butcher’s spicy meatballs or the fishmonger's catch of the day. Industrial-style restaurant Canteen has won a loyal following for its all-day menu, but it gets particularly buzzy once the sun goes down. Try the grilled lamb, succulent rib-eye or one of the seafood pasta dishes. For something dressier, book a table at fine-dining restaurant B, which has taken up residence in the Museum of Byzantine Culture. Seasonal Greek produce is spliced with flavours from around the Mediterranean, particularly France and Italy. The wine list pulls in as many bon vivants as the food, showcasing 60 choice bottles from across Greece.
Pick one of the millenial-pink-hued tables in Cin Cin's charming courtyard for a lazy lunch. Food is glammed-up Greek, with elegant dishes such as vegetable orzo with pepper pesto and grated feta, herb-crusted pork tenderloin with honey and sage sauce, and black-forest pancakes.
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 budget boutique hotel in Thessaloniki and unpacked their produce from Ergon Agora, the delectable deli next door, a full account of their Greek city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Modernist in Thessaloniki…
In the age of the city break, what makes the perfect hotel? When you only have 48 fleeting hours to soak up the atmosphere, you’re unlikely to need every bell and whistle. What today’s fly-by-night rover does look for is striking design, a sense of place and a team of staff who know the area like the back of their hand. In other words, the Modernist.
Like any self-respecting disciple of the modernist movement, the hotel stands out for its willingness to break with tradition. Lunch and dinner, for example, have been done away with. In truth, this is partly because there’s a delightful deli/restaurant right next door, which acts as the hotel’s all-day diner. Then again, it’s a conscious decision, encouraging you to immerse yourself in the city’s thriving restaurant scene – something the staff are only too happy to help with. In the rooms, the pared-back design and carefully curated extras (Bluetooth speakers; cocktails from legendary Athens cocktail bar the Clumsies) aren’t supposed to knock your socks off. Instead, they’re there to help you steal those placid moments between one outing and the next. If that isn’t the essence of modern(ist) luxury, we don’t know what is.