Hotel Grande Bretagne is a historic Grand Hotel located in Syntagma Square in Athens. It is now part of The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts of the Starwood Group.
450 employees are working at the hotel. It has 290 rooms and 31 suites. Besides the three restaurants, it has two swimming pools and a spa area. The best suite in the hotel is the 400-square-meter Royal Suite. This has its own wine cellar and a gold-clad bathroom and costs €12,000 per night. The suite's guest book features David Bowie, Francis Ford Coppola, and Giorgio Armani. Simpler rooms at the Grande Bretagne cost from €300 in the off-season (as of 2008). Valuable items such as furniture and artwork have been collected since the establishment was founded; the oldest carpets are more than 300 years old.
The hotel was opened in 1842 by Antonios Dimitrios, and in 1874 Evstathios Lampsas took it over. It was an important transit station for colonial officials to the Orient and the Far East in the 19th century. In 1896, the IOC used the hotel for banquets during the first Olympic Games.
Originally, the current hotel building was designed around 1862 by architect Theophil Hansen and realized by his on-site construction manager, architect Ernst Ziller. In the 1950s, major structural changes took place: the hotel was almost completely demolished and rebuilt with stronger walls, keeping the same appearance. Subsequently, it was raised in the same design language. This 'deception' often escapes even historians so that the whole structure (including the raising) is considered a building of 1874.
The list of prominent guests is long and includes artists such as Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman, and Maria Callas, writers such as Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Truman Capote, entrepreneurs such as the Krupps Kennedys, and the Rockefellers. as well as heads of state. Mary Pickford is said to have booked a room just to put her shoes in. The hotel was also a popular refuge in crisis times; Grand Duchess Elena of Russia even chose it as a permanent home after fleeing the Bolsheviks. In 1974, it was expanded by 31 rooms, and the famous GB Corner bar opened in 1976. In the late 1990s, an administrative merger with the adjacent Grand Hotel King George, also historical, was negotiated but failed to materialize, so in 2000 the Grande Bretagne was taken over by the Hyatt chain, which had it renovated from 2001 to 2003 at the cost of €82 million. In 2005, Hyatt parted ways with all of its historic luxury hotels, and the Grande Bretagne has since become part of the Starwood Luxury Collection and the Laskaridis shipping company.