Located in between the chic Athenian neighbourhood of Kolonaki and the hip district of Exarchia, Monsieur Didot is a new boutique hotel in the centre of the Greek capital that was conceived as the home of the eponymous Monsieur: a fictitious well-travelled aristocrat whose neoclassical residence welcomes guests into a world of stately elegance and contemporary finesse. The listed, century-old neoclassical building has been meticulously restored to its original grandeur through an eclectic lens of cosmopolitan flair by Athens-based BaBatchas Design Studio. Ceremonial vestibules, high ceilings, hidden doors and secret passages make for a novelistic setting that evokes a rich history whilst awakening a sense of discovery. Imbued with a timeless appeal, Monsieur Didot is the perfect launching pad to explore the millennia-old city of Athens.
Besides denoting the building’s aristocratic history as a private residence, the hotel’s name also pays homage to the Didot family of French printers, publishers and type founders whose business dates back to the early 18th century. In fact, Didotou Street where the hotel is located was named after Ambroise Firmin Didot who was amongst the first entrepreneurs to set up a printing press in the newly independent Greek state in the 19th century and whose likeness has inspired the hotel’s logo. The family’s eponymous neoclassical typefaces have appeared in a variety of 19th century publications, most notably in prestigious editions of Voltaire’s work and texts by Adamantios Korais, a leading scholar of the Greek Enlightenment, and have remained popular in Greece ever since, which make the hotel’s name a symbolic link between the country’s neoclassical past and its bustling present, just like the hotel itself.
The hotel’s interior design pays homage to the building’s neoclassical heritage. Decorative mouldings, ornate marble mantels and parquet flooring, which the designers have carefully restored to their original state thanks to the skills of a team of traditional craftspeople and artisans, hark back to the building’s aristocratic past. The austere elegance of the neoclassical building’s fabric is matched by the subdued sophistication of unique pendants, handmade ceramic lamps and bespoke furniture pieces inspired by mid-century modernism and contemporary minimalism, while the use of natural materials such as wood, marble and plaster imbue the spaces with authenticity.
The residence has two suites on the ground floor, three guestrooms on the first floor (which can be combined into a small apartment), and an additional room on the second floor. The latter features a sunroom-like vestibule that also doubles as a bathroom and a private terrace where guests can enjoy Athens’ temperate climate in boho-chic comfort. Other highlights include a bookcase with a hidden door to an en-suite bathroom, a beautiful terrazzo floor in the lobby and a custom design reception desk comprising a cabinet of potted plants. Features such as these, along with a plethora of books, paintings, prints and an eclectic collection of decorative objects, give the impression that you’ve just entered the private residence of a well-travelled intellectual. In this sense, Monsieur Didot’s persona is present in every room of the building, welcoming guests into his treasured home.