Years ago when I visited Athens for my cousin’s first marriage I was lucky to stay at the 5 star but dated Astir Palace. It looked like a blast from the past with 60’s decor but what I remember so vividly was one of the best swims in my life at Astir Beach. I feel in love with serenity and color of the water. The beach was protected by a white gate and I remember it being one of the few times I payed money to enter an ‘organized beach’ (ie beach with lounge chairs, umbrellas, a cafe, and hopping scene. As I floated on my back and meditated I also had visions of meeting some Rich Greek playboy just waiting to whisk me away on his yacht. In reality I met a busboy from the hotel and laughed about it later. So this visit I wanted to again visit Astir Beach. I had heard it had undergone a huge renovation and water clean up but was also curious to see what would merit the 17 euro entry. A bit steep for a beach I thought and my cousin by principle refuses to pay. At the entrance is an ATM and ticket booth reminding me of a movie theatre. Hot bouncers guard the turnstile entrance. Once inside I was struck by the black and white stripped awnings and overall stunning decor. Sunbeds were topped with plush mats, wood tables paired with every chair, and no detail overlooked. The building materials were all natural wood-no plastic on this beach! The gift shops had international books and magazines. Another shop was stocked with chic swimsuits and STARBUCKS!!!The Greeks gotta have their Frappes. On the far side is a TGIF with upstairs VIP lounge complete with gym. The other end of the beach has a ski club where you can rent jet skis, sailboats, and other toys. Oh and the obvious for an extra small fee you can rent a towel. The locker rooms are equally luxurious with sculptural sinks, lavish showers, and rental lockers. But the real value I believe is in the cleanup they have done with the water in the cove. Divers removed every bit of trash and a net prevents any non desirable from entering. I settled into a massive chair shaped beanbag and proceeded to relax deeply. Since it was a Wednesday the beach was only an 1/8th full. But the quality of the people was miles away from my Zakinthos nightmare. Tanned, chic, lithe, and gorgeous-this is the cream of the crop. I even spied a golden blond in 007esque swimsuit black maillot with golden rings on both sides and down the decolletage. I swam twice. The first outing the sea was quiet rough and it was a great workout. I checked out some rocks and the float staying in the water for an hour. I had some lovely ‘toast’ grilled bread with turkey, had a nap, read my book and got lost in the moment. A few hours later the sea was calm and as I floated around I felt a new bliss come over me. It’s amazing how the mood of the ocean can change your own mood. I went home happy and would recommend this beach to anyone who wants a top notch experience. It’s worth every euro!