Athens & Paris For Dollars A Day: Arion Guest Room Review

Welcome to my multi-part review of our summer vacation.  We spent 12 days abroad, predominately in Athens and Paris.  We did squeeze in about half a day in Amsterdam before heading home.  While I’m writing the series, I’m happy to answer any questions you have ahead of time.  We traveled in mid-July, so right in the middle of the Athens financial crisis.  Here’s most of what I expect to cover, including links to posts I’ve already completed:

Let me start by saying our rooms were perfect.  As fun as our own pool would have been in a bungalow, the two rooms we had were the right choice, though I couldn’t have known that ahead of time.  If you’re a family traveling to this property, you can’t go wrong with the deluxe suite.  Let’s get to the details.

The hotel really did set things up well for us.  We had the deluxe suite and the deluxe room at the end of the hallway on an upper floor (I think the hotel only has 5 or 6 floors).  That meant we were able to close a secondary set of doors at the end of the hallway to connect the two rooms.  That translated into plenty of space, including an extra big vestibule/hallway.

Immediately as we entered the room, we were greeted with a sizable fruit amenity with a bottle of Greek wine.  Shortly after we arrived, the hotel delivered a second amenity which the kids raved over.  It’s not that my kids don’t love fresh fruit, they do.  But, this was a pretty tasty accompaniment, complete with some pretty darn good baklava.
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Welcome Amenity at Arion Resort

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The deluxe suite enters into a brief foyer before opening into spacious living room that contains a couch, some soft seating, a desk and a TV area.  I’d like to add that I think many foreign hotels don’t pay enough attention to the desk in terms of making sure someone can actually work there.  The desk was plenty spacious and the chair was comfortable.  There was a power outlet at desk height, though you’ll need a Euro adapter if you have electronics with US plugs.  The only reason I didn’t spend more time working at the desk was the beautiful weather and view from our balcony.  If I’m remembering correctly, the couch didn’t pull out but the hotel happily brought us a rollaway bed.
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 There were a double set of pocket doors that separate the living room from the bedroom.  In the bedroom, we were greeted by a bag that contained towels for the beach.  I really liked the system.  We received 4 towels per room (and could request more).  The bag held the towels and allowed us to easily transport them back and forth to the beach.  It might sound more “self service” than having a towel attendant, but I liked controlling our own fate and not having to find towels when we got to the pool.  The room attendant refreshed the towels every day.
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The bedroom had plenty of storage space on both sides of the bed along with a sizable closet that not only allowed my wife to unpack all the clothes (something she loves to do on vacation and I find peculiar) but also left room to store all the suitcases.  The bed was a bit lower to the ground than some hotels which worked well with our youngest climbing in.  There was also a small desk which could be used for makeup, etc.
The bathroom was ran parallel to both the bedroom and living room and was quite spacious.  There was a sizable bathtub to go along with the double sink.  And, there was a combination shower/steam room that would have easily fit the starting lineup for a basketball team.  There was a bench in there that would accommodate two people sitting, and the shower itself was probably 7 or 8 feet square.
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The balcony also ran the length of both the living room and bedroom.  We had one chaise lounge and two chairs, with plenty of space for more people to hang out.  The weather and sunsets were so beautiful that I spent quite a bit of time out here.  I was dealing with a troublesome work issue which had me on a phone call around midnight local time to communicate with lawyers back in the US.  It was much more relaxing doing so with the breeze blowing off the ocean.  Because our room wrapped around the hotel we were also able to see sunrise and sunset.
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 The standard deluxe room we had entered into a short hallway where there was a small closet and drawers on the left with an entrance to the bathroom on the right.  Straight ahead was the TV area, desk and bedroom.  The balcony ran the length of the room with floor to ceiling glass from wall-to-wall.  There was another entrance to the bathroom from the bedroom.  Even though this was a more standard room, the size of the bathroom was far in excess of almost every European room I can recall.
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 I think the deluxe room would easily accommodate two people quite comfortably.  And, given the large amount of space between the bed and the desk/TV area, it would be easy to add a rollaway bed.  Heck, I would have been comfortable sleeping on the chaise out on the balcony.  The weather was perfect.
While the beginning of our arrival left us with some concern, the rooms we had were absolutely perfect.  They really were a great fit for us.  With the sister property Westin next door, I had debated which property was a better choice for us.  Clearly, Arion was.  The rooms showed very little in the way of wear and tear.  We found all the furniture comfortable and enjoyed the extra amenities like the stereo and refrigerator.  In short, after a few minutes in the room we knew we had the right place for this portion of our trip.
For those considering redemptions, the deluxe suite was 50,000 points a night (5th night free) for a total of 200,000 points.
The second room we redeemed points for was a deluxe room.  However, from looking at the pictures on the website, we may have gotten upgraded to an Excelsior or Grand deluxe.  The deluxe room was 20,000 points for 3 of our nights and 25,000 points for a 4th night (5th night free).  I’m guessing the 25,000 point night was a weekend night.  During our stay, the cheapest rates I saw were 400 Euro and up, so the regular room redemption was worth it.  The suites were going for 700-1,000 Euro a night.  In a vacuum, I’ve gotten better redemption value, but I also think rates may have been down a little due to the Greek debt crisis and some softness in tourism.  I was perfectly fine swapping 40,000 points to save somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000 a night.
I’ll be covering the beach, pool and adjacent Westin facilities in future posts.  Stay tuned….

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