The Greek word philoxenia describes the Greek virtue of making a stranger feel at home. It’s essentially the act of being hospitable — and it perfectly sums up the guest experience at Xenodocheio Milos, a food-focused hotel located in the heart of Athens.
The hotel opened last year under chef Costas Spiliadis, who is known for his Mediterranean restaurant Estiatorio Milos. After opening the first outpost of Estiatorio Milos in Montreal back in 1979, Spiliadis expanded to other cities: London; Miami; New York; Las Vegas; and Los Cabos, Mexico. Last year, Spiliadis returned to his home country to open his first hotel, Xenodocheio Milos, and seventh restaurant (located in the hotel).
Here’s a look inside the special hotel in Athens
The property is housed within two neoclassical buildings, both landmarked by the city, near Athens’ central Pláka neighbourhood. And though it feels tucked away, removed from the bustle of the city, the hotel is actually just a seven-minute walk to Syntagma Square and a 20-minute stroll to both the Parthenon and the Acropolis Museum.
Upon entering the hotel, guests are greeted by a white-and-black lobby with touches of Grecian blue. In full view is the restaurant to the left, beckoning you to come in for a bite.
The hotel has 43 rooms, each with marble, light wood, and muted, neutral décor, which is meant to mimic the look the Milos restaurants around the world are known for. It’s all a divine mix of clean, crisp, and minimal design, putting the focus on the gradual light changes that sweep in through the massive windows throughout the day, straight onto the gleaming stonework and locally sourced furnishings.
Looking for an upgrade? Book one of the suites on the fourth and fifth floors, which come with expansive private terraces, all overlooking the Old Parliament House and Lycabettus Hill. The Milos Terrace Suite even has a jacuzzi on the terrace and enough space to host a small group of friends.
The dedication to philoxenia is also evident through the hotel’s smaller touches, like its thoughtfully curated minibar selections, Bluetooth-enabled speakers, a pillow menu, and small dining tables in each room for guests to dine privately. (Oh, and in-room dining from Estiatorio Milos is available 24 hours a day.)
Obviously, food is one of the most important parts of the guest experience. When guests aren’t feasting in their rooms, they can eat in Estiatorio Milos’ dining room, flanked by Grecian white columns and under an intricate net-like Dimitris Fortsas sculpture that pays homage to the nation’s fishing culture. Or they can take advantage of the year-round temperate weather in Athens and dine on the outdoor patio overlooking Old Parliament Square.
The menu features freshly caught seafood — oysters, tuna, colossal stone crabs, and Mediterranean octopus — cooked with what the team calls “minimal intervention” to allow all the natural flavours to shine. The end result is family-style dishes like charcoal-broiled octopus, Greek ceviche, and whole-cooked fish. Of course, there are plenty of Greek desserts to finish it off with, like sweet karidopita and baklava.
Xenodocheio Milos is a hotel that truly feels like your Greek home away from home. And one that may inspire you to learn how to cook a whole fish and invite a few strangers over for a meal to keep the feeling of philoxenia going once you return home.
Nightly rates start at USD 420 (SGD 565). See more about the hotel and book your stay at www.xenodocheiomilos.com.
This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com
Main and Feature Image Credit: Vangelis Pateraks/Courtesy of Xenodocheio Milos