CULTURE

The Hotel Grande Bretagne to open its doors to a new era

Guests at the newly renovated Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens will be opening the doors to their rooms with a plastic card. The old metal keys bearing the hotel’s name – guests who forgot to hand them them in on leaving were asked to mail them back to the hotel, postage paid – are now collectors’ items, just like the old drachma coins that are being replaced by the euro. The Grande Bretagne has been closed for renovation, to last for over a year. The hotel’s general manager Lena Kasfiki-Livanidou sent Helbi the key on its heavy iron key ring that used to be so heavy inside a tuxedo pocket, or quickly slipped inside an embroidered evening bag. «For over 100 years, that key has been opening the doors to our rooms, offering the hotel’s world-famous hospitality,» writes the hotel management and staff on a card accompanying the key. «This key will soon change, along with our entire hotel. Our love, our service and our hospitality, however, will always be the same.» We look forward to the re-opening of the Grande Bretagne’s doors to its GB Corner, the bar and dining rooms. For without it, Athens is not the same. We will keep the old key (to room 338) and will hold the historic hotel to its promise to bring its traditional hospitality into the new age.