Zen, interrupted

We don’t get a lot of opportunities to wind down and relax as often as we should, what with both of us having a full time job on the side and having the arduous job of traveling the world. So when we do, and I finally go to my happy place and find my inner peace/Zen or whatever you want to call it, you do NOT want to abruptly yank me out of there.

Indoor Pool from GrandeBretagne.gr

Indoor Pool from GrandeBretagne.gr

Jon can probably attest to the fact I am not a very nice person when that happens and I tend to react really badly and bark like a mad dog.

Which brings me to the latest episode of me turning into a monster and chewing someone’s head off at a hotel. As I write this post, we’re staying at the King George Hotel in Athens, Greece, which is a category 5 hotel from SPG. Rooms run about 240 euro a night for a classic room and about 400 euro a night for a deluxe suite. The hotel itself does not have a gym or a pool, but the sister property next door, the Grande Bretagne hotel does. That one is a category 6 SPG property and rooms go for 350 a night for a classic room and about 580 euro a night for a suite. This turns them into the crème de la crème luxury hotels in the city. Both hotels are wonderful and very stylish, even having been built almost 100 years ago.


As a platinum guest, you’re invited to use the Grande Bretagne’s amenities next door. All you have to do is walk out of the King George and walk all of 50 feet and back into the Grande Bretagne. The pool and spa (or espa, in Greek) are in the basement and I have to say is pretty complete. There are 3 steam rooms and a dry sauna, showers of every kind, the pool, a whirlpool and lounge chairs for one to relax. We were enjoying a fabulously relaxing foot bath massage and it was working so well I had dozed off for a couple minutes already. Ok, maybe like 10 minutes. Until a German family of 7 showed up.


My Zen was interrupted by a shrieking of the highest pitch a human being can produce, and no more than 10 seconds into their arrival, two of the kids just cannon-balled into the pool. Yes, cannon-freaking-balled into the spa pool.


Now, I know what most of you will think. It’s probably around the lines of ‘kids will be kids’, or perhaps ‘if you had kids you would understand’ but I’ll come back and say NO. Oh hell no. A spa is a place of relaxation, where one goes and enjoy some peace and quiet. The lights are dimmed low, there are soothing aromas, there’s some low classical music and the low rumble of the bubbles from the whirlpool transport you to Zenlandia and you never want to leave. That, combined with the notion that this hotel has another pool on the seventh floor is what made me transform from Buddhist monk to <not sure what to say> and shout Ruhe bitte! They actually quieted down for about a minute or so while they blankly stared at the crazy person shouting at them and then swiftly proceeded to annoy the crap out of everyone at the spa. In no more than 15 minutes the spa emptied out fully except for them and us.



At that point I knew there was no coming back to relaxation so I grabbed one of their soft, fluffy, giant towels and stomped my way out into the front desk, where the attendant was touring new guests. She must have seen my face because she welcomed me with an ‘is something the matter?’. My response was ‘they need to leave now’ and that’s all I needed to say, because she answered ‘is it that family again?’. She proceeded to let me know she’d warned them upon entering because she had had issues with them the day before, when they disturbed other guests of the hotel who complained as well. At that point I was livid so I just showered, got changed and didn’t even go back to get Jon from the spa and left, so I’m not sure if she went back in and mentioned anything or not, but it does make me wonder what I would have done had I been a paying guest, which I wasn’t. Hell, we weren’t even technically guests of the hotel, but having said that, it makes one wonder if there should be an age limit at spas to prevent annoying, screaming kids. Thoughts?

Author: Ben Nickel-D'Andrea

Share This Post On


  1. King george is one of my favorite hotels in the world. I stayed there during the Athens Marathon. And welcome to BoardingArea

    At least Kevin McCallister asked for permission.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks, Alexander! Happy to be part of BoardingArea!
      And you’re right. At least Kevin made me laugh…

      Post a Reply
  2. You know as I get older I get less and less patient. However, I do find myself enjoying these spa experiences more. Why can’t I get pampered too. So I would have been annoyed but would not have let the rug rats ruin it for me. I would definitely file that complaint, many many times.

    Post a Reply
    • We all definitely deserve some pampering every now and then!

      Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Join the List

Receive the latest news daily.

You have Successfully Subscribed!