Historic Stays in Greece: La Divina Hotel

La Divina Hotel

La Divina is a 12-suite hotel, found in the heart of Athens’ historical center. It offers unique views of the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora in Thessio, and the Athens Asteroscopio. On the hotel’s ground floor, there are two modern restaurants, ideal for Greek cuisine and local wines. It is also an ideal starting point to explore the historical landmarks and museums of Athens, as well as its vibrant nightlife.


The location is ideal for cultural exploration, shopping for souvenirs, indulging in delectable Greek cuisine, or simply enjoying the historic charm of the Thessio neighborhood. Rooms can be booked on the Aria Hotels website here. The real charm of the hotel, however, is in its backstory. 

La Divina Hotel | © Aria Hotels

Building History

This neoclassical building was likely built in 1897 and was used as the residence of the Karavasilis family. It was one of the largest and most beautiful urban houses in Athens at the time, likely with an army of coachmen, servants, maids, nannies, and cooks tending to the needs of the family and for entertaining purposes. Then, the home passed to the Kamba family, who converted the basement into a large cellar.


In the interwar times, the house was abandoned because many shacks were built in the area for refugees. During the Second World War, the building was taken by the Italians to house the area’s garrison. In 1992, the Raptakis family bought the property to put in a Barolo restaurant on the ground floor. It was not until 1992 that the Athenaeum International Art Center rented the building and renovated most of the inside, restoring some of its former beauty. 

La Divina Hotel | © Aria Hotels

The Athenaeum Conservatory

Before Aria Hotels and before becoming the hotel known as “La Divina”, the building was the home of the Athenaeum Conservatory, an international artistic center operated by the Ministry of Culture. It was dedicated to the memory of Maria Callas, who celebrates the 100 anniversary of her birth in 2023. The Athenaeum was founded in 1974 with the aim of developing Greek musical education. 


The Athenaeum used the building for classes, concerts, and recitals, as well as an “Athenaeum Members’ Club” and a student dining room. A special music and film library as well as a book presentation area were also available. 

La Divina Hotel | © Aria Hotels

About Maria Callas

2023 marked the 100-year anniversary of the birth of one of Greece’s most influential and well-known figures, Maria Callas. She was unwanted by her mother, a perfectionist, massively famous, and also infamous for her love life with Aristotle Onassis – these are some of the main ingredients of the life of Maria Callas. Despite all the drama in her life, she became one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century.

Photo From Maria Callas Personal Album | © Maria Callas Museum

Maria Callas’s Lovers

Maria was charmed and overwhelmed by the wealthy but married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis and his lifestyle of leisure, yachts, Greek islands, and freedom.


She fell madly in love with him and divorced her husband, deeply hoping to marry Onassis and have a family. During their years together Maria’s appearances on stage became scarcer and her voice more fragile as she lost a lot of weight trying to fit in with the jet-set she was surrounded by. Callas got really close to fulfilling her dream until Onassis suddenly called it off and, even more surprisingly, married the widow Jackie Kennedy in 1968.

Signing Autographs with Onassis

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