Asteras Vouliagmenis, the emblematic resort of the Athens Riviera, re-opens on March 29 as Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens to revive its glory on a new level of luxury.
The renovated resort operated by Four Seasons offers visitors three luxury options: the quiet Arion hotel with 101 rooms and suites ideal for relaxation in the green and blue setting, the Nafsika, with 133 rooms and a lively atmosphere, and 61 seaside bungalows, ideal for comfortable privacy.
Along with the luxurious accommodations, the emblematic Astir Beach has been upgraded and the same applies to the marina. Facilities include conference venues, eight gourmet restaurants and bars, sports courts and recreational facilities, a spa, exclusive boutiques, and a helipad.
The investment in the resort plot will also include 13 luxury villas with swimming pools in the place of the now-demolished Aphrodite hotel with a license for 12 more also signed. Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens is expected to make the area a prime destination all year round and boost the local economy.
A total 6,300 trees, old and newly planted and mostly pine trees, grace the peninsula that slices the clear blue waters of the Saronic Gulf, making the Vouliagmeni resort a true paradise on earth.
The story of the former Asteras Vouliagmenis resort is part of the history of post-war Greece. Its existence signifies the passing from a poor country devastated from World War II and the Civil War to a modern Greece that takes advantage of its natural beauties and becomes attractive and cosmopolitan.
Asteras Vouliagmenis was a place of romance, intrigue, important political decisions, and crucial business deals. All of Greece’s rich and famous spent time there, while several of the most popular Greek movies of the 1960s and 1970s had scenes shot there.
At the same time, some of the world’s most important personalities and celebrities stayed at its luxury suites. Asteras Vouliagmenis’ last famous guest before it shut its doors was U.S. President Barack Obama, while a few months previously the resort had hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The list of world-renowned personalities who have stayed there includes political figures like John F. Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, Francois Mitterrand, Mikhail Gorbachev, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, and Helmut Kohl. Singers and actors like Frank Sinatra, Jacqueline Bisset, Brigitte Bardot, Telly Savalas, Paul Newman, John Wayne, The Beatles, Isabella Rossellini, and Pierce Brosnan graced the heavenly spot in the Athens Riviera.
Greek stars like Aliki Vougiouklaki, Tolis Voskopoulos, Lambros Konstantaras, Kostas Voutsas, Zozo Sapountzaki, Dinos Iliopoulos, Zoi Laskari, and many others chose Asteras Vouliagmenis as their holiday spot or summer hangout place. Tycoons Aristotle Onassis and John Latsis were also regulars.
The birth of a star
The Astir company was set up in 1954 with the purpose of building a resort in the Laimos Peninsula, a piece of land owned by the Monastery of Asomaton Petraki, just 25 kilometers from the center of Athens. A place of exceptional beauty, it combined the serenity of a pine forest with the blue waters of the Aegean. In 1959, a sandy beach with crystal clear waters surrounded by pine trees on a green bay was restored and named Astir.
Architects Emmanouil Vourekas, Perikles Sakellarios, Prokopis Vasileiadis, and Konstantinos Dekavallas were commissioned to build hotels and luxury bungalows on the peninsula. In 1961 the first 76 cabanas started hosting guests. A waterskiing school was established on the premises in 1966, a great novelty for Greece at the time.
Soon Astir Beach became a popular meeting point for Greece’s political, business and show business elite. In 1967 the Arion hotel opened its doors, followed by Nafsika hotel in 1979, and Aphrodite hotel in 1984. The resort became legendary in the following decades, only to slow down in the years of the economic crisis.