About Us

Or, how does a Jewish girl from Skokie end up in a penthouse in Athens?

Who would have thought when I told my husband I wanted to buy a little pied-a-terre in his hometown, Athens, Greece, that I’d end up with the greatest accidental career of my life? Born and raised in Chicago, my love for travel was evident early on. Perhaps it was my arrival in the world, early one December morning, way quicker than my siblings had, in fact so quick we were still enroute to the hospital, and I still hold the title of youngest patient ever admitted to that north suburban hospital! (And thus, as a Sagittarius, characteristically smitten with wunderlust). I traveled my home country extensively with my family as a child, and was fortunate to have parents who encouraged us to study a second language young. While my language of choice as a child was French, my culture of choice was Greek. My earliest jobs were always in Chicago’s Greek diners, my university days filled with hours playing backgammon in the cafeteria with my Greek friends, and my Eurail passes always started and ended my European backpacking holidays in Greece.

Falling in Love

So no one was surprised when I met Basil, a romantic writer but practicing translator and linguist, born and bred in Athens, but transplanted to Chicago, fell in love, and married him. While our life in Chicago was full, rehabbing a warehouse we purchased to house ourselves, our son and our growing Greek translation agency, I longed to plant some roots for our family in Basil’s hometown. A small studio overlooking Mount Lykavittos was to be our Athens crash pad, but thanks to what seemed then an unfortunate turn of events, our home in Athens ended up being the beautiful Athens First Luxury Duplex. Larger than we had planned, offering it as a short term furnished rental seemed the logical way to afford it. Little did we realize that it would become so popular we’d be sleeping on friends’ couches rather than in our own Athens home!

Tired of being homeless in Athens, we purchased a second penthouse directly adjacent to the Athens First. In 2006 we completed the renovations of three additional short term furnished rentals. As I said early on, this is the greatest accidental business one could imagine, and I love sharing my adopted city with visitors. Our guests repeatedly thank us for the little extras that often mean so much when you are planning what is often a once in a lifetime trip.

As an ex-pat in Athens and a professional travel planner, I know the wonderful off the beaten path places that can make a holiday special, and I also know how to stay on the tourist path without feeling like you are being herded along with the crowds.

Feel free to email me with your questions as you plan your trip to Athens—just one of the little extras guests of Greek Vacation Rentals will find when they book our homes in Athens.

Don't miss our Chicago lofts , too!

About Real Greece & GVR,

Greek Vacation Rentals was founded in 2004 by Carole Heiman-Kezios and Basil Kezios after word of mouth spread the news of our luxury duplex penthouse apartments and has grown to include our custom travel planning services available from Real Greece Travel .

Wonder hospitality, highly recommend for family gatherings

Doris D., USA

Excellent spacious and a cool place to stay!

I was impressed with the immaculate, spacious and well fitted accommodation we got when we stayed over for the Chicago marathon. It was enormous and very nicely put together, very well equipped and the location a few blocks from the subway made access to the action in Chicago within reasonable striking distance. Another point I'd like to make is that Carole was great - welcoming, helpful, accommodating and she even helped me when my zipper was jammed on my backpack! Great place, great owners, recommended!

JC., United Kingdom

And not only Greece!

Explore Chicago

Guests love our Chicago Magic Factory Lofts for the comfort, space and amenities we provide and for our fabulous location at the crossroads of Chicago's 3 hottest neighborhoods - Lincoln Park, Old Town & River West.  There isn't anywhere you can't reach within a 15 minute walk or drive.