A Greek palace fit for royalty: It’s a triumphant return for the glamorous grande dame of the Athens Riviera

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Churchill and Onassis, Bardot and Sinatra, Gorbachev, Mandela, and a host of since-deposed potentates… From its opening in 1961, all the usual suspects flocked to the famed Astir Palace, to lounge on its beaches, sip ouzo and watch the yachts sail into the bay. In an idyllic pine-cloaked location on the Vouliagmeni peninsula – the so-called Athens Riviera, some 13 miles (20km) from central Athens – this summer playground of the beau monde would kick-start luxury tourism in Greece. But fortune is fickle, and in 2016, this much-loved Greek institution – renowned as much for its atrocious service as for its star quality – closed its doors.

Athens held its breath, and waited. Finally, in March…

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