After a month on a Greek Island, we ended up in Athens, Greece for New Year’s Eve. Well it is not the first place that jumps out as a winter/ New Year’s Eve destination but like most travel experiences, it was a nice surprise.
Using my iPad, I searched the 5-star options figuring they would have special rates as winter in Athens is not flooded with tourists. The Margi Hotel, Vouliagmeni was offering a bed and breakfast special over this time so I booked it.
Vouliagmeni is the more posh part of the Athenian beach strip. About 20 kilometres from Athens, it is the next major coastal area after the more built up Glyfada area and far from the many private beach clubs along the strip.
Quieter and less commercialized, the Vouliagmeni peninsula (often called the Athenian Riviera) has upper-end restaurants and hotels. The Margi, (a SLH Hotel) is designed as a Moroccan style resort with tasteful and opulent design features. It is situated across from a marina and deep blue bay.
We booked the NYE dinner deal at the front desk. It included a buffet dinner and after party.
The night started at 9.30pm, when the upper crust of Athens and the surrounding area started to fill the hotel.
No longer resembling a hotel, the entire ground floor of the hotel had been turned into a night club – decorated in New Year’s Eve tizz. The lights were dimmed and low key DJ music filled the air.
The reception desk was now a bar. Party attired staff offered welcome drinks. The restaurant and functions rooms were combined into one space. Beautifully decorated dining tables were set with individual place cards. Guests helped themselves to the unlimited buffet of Greek and International specialties that was set up in the adjoining area. A team of chefs manned cooking stations set up for freshly tossed pasta, grilled kebabs and dessert.
At midnight, champagne was poured, guests (and staff) kissed each other to welcome in the New Year and the party began.
Tables were moved back, the music was ramped up and the dancing began.
It was at this time that new people started arriving for the after party. The hotel was closed to everyone but house guests and ticket holders. Security was tight. Most of the party crowd had booked seating around the ground floor lounge areas but it was standing room only for us so we danced and perched where we could.
Around 1.30, we called it a night but the music was so loud that we could still enjoy it in our room! We fell asleep to the rhythm of duff duff and woke very late.
We had breakfast in our room and looked at the sea through our window. Even though it was winter, the sea was blue and the air was warm.
In true Cinderella style, the next morning, the staff and hotel were back to normal and no trace of the previous night’s club magic was to be seen…