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Athens Matters; Alexander Holland

our unique Athens insider's guide series continues with influential media figure...

Athens Matters; Alexander Holland

Nightlife is uncomplicated in Athens, there are no guest lists and there is no waiting outside. Nine months of perfect weather does the rest...

If you want to really get under the skin of a city, find out its best spots and the most enlightening experiences – you need to speak to the locals. After all, who knows a city better than those who spend their lives there? That’s just what we’re doing in our partnership with innovative hotel group, YES! Hotels: our Athens Matters campaign aims to provide a unique insight into one of the world’s oldest and most vibrant cities, by putting some of its most influential locals to task.

As we continue to unearth Athens’ hidden gems, we spoke to the chief operating officer of Antenna – one of the largest media companies in Greece – to find out his take on a city he has adopted as his own…

Athens Matters; Alexander Holland

Egina, courtesy of Shutterstock

Athens Matters; Alexander Holland

New Hotel, Syntagma

Athens Matters; Alexander Holland

Island Club Restaurant

Hi Alexander, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I have been living in Athens for the past 3 years with my wife and 3 daughters. Before that I spent 11 years in London, after having lived in Stockholm for 2 years. I hold a leading position in the largest Greek media group and live in the northern suburbs of Athens.

How have you found your time in Athens, and how have the people welcomed you to their city?

Athens must be one of the cities with the highest quality of life on this planet. The residents warmth, hospitality and drive to party are legendary. The climate is unbeatable and there are beaches on your doorstep. The fact that you can ski only 1½ hours outside Athens took me completely by surprise.

What do you think sets Athens apart from the likes of London, New York and Paris?

It’s difficult and costly to go to the beach for the weekend in the summer and to go skiing for the weekend in the winter if you live in London, New York or Paris. In Athens it’s not. Nightlife is uncomplicated in Athens, there are no guest lists and there is no waiting outside. Nine months of perfect weather does the rest.

Athens Matters; Alexander Holland

Psariston, Attiki

Athens Matters; Alexander Holland

Af(u), Kolonaki

Athens Matters; Alexander Holland

Inbi, Kolonaki

A few quick-fire questions on your favourite spots: to people watch… I am not so big on people watching and prefer to be with close friends, but many restaurants will give ample opportunity. The weather and beaches also help. Athens is populated by very beautiful women …to find the city’s best art… There are plenty of small galleries in Gazi, Af(u) in Kolonaki is a shop focusing on design objects and furniture, where art and function converge. The work that the Campana brothers have done on the New Hotel in Syntagma is spectacular …your favourite shops… You’d have to ask my wife …restaurants… Inbi in Kolonaki, especially when the neighbouring Inbi bar is open as well. Cash in Kifissia, the terrace is wonderful, and yes, perfect for people watching. L’abreuvoir in Kolonaki, because it’s a real restaurant. Psariston for the best fish in town, it’s so fresh any decent vet could bring it back to life …to party… Island in Vari during the summer has a spectacular beach front setting, Bricolage in the Winter, preferably up-stairs …and to relax… beach, beach and beach again…

Finally, could you tell us in one sentence why people should come to Athens?

All of the above, plus the people of Greece.

Athens Matters; YES! Hotels x We Heart

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