Authorities acting on a tourism ministry directive this week sealed off a portion of a central Athens hotel facing the Acropolis, in line with a Council of State (CoS) decision stipulating that anything built above 24 meters at the structure is illegal.

The highest administrative court’s ruling was subsequently delayed by a temporary injunction granted to the hotel’s owners by an Athens first instance court. That decision was later overturned and thrown out by an appellate level administrative court, allowing the ministry’s inspectors to padlock the two top floors of the Coco-Mat Athens BC boutique hotel, in execution of a ministry decree issued last August.

The entire case has played out repeatedly in Greek courtrooms and in the media, with the owners maintaining they had been granted all necessary licenses by relevant authorities, and based on the design and dimensions that were eventually erected.

However, following a lawsuit by local residents, subsequent court decisions deemed that building codes, specifically the maximum height for the structure in the specific district of municipal Athens, had been violated.

The lawsuit by residents pointed to the fact that the hotel in question is visibly higher than adjacent structures and impedes views, looking from south to north, of the ancient Acropolis archaeological site, which sits atop an iconic Athenian hill.

A tender is now pending to select an expert consultant tasked with preparing a study for the demolition of hotel’s top floors.