THE BEST HOTELS IN SANTORINI

  • PERIVOLASThis is the hotel that made me fall hard for Santorini. And it’s
    what keeps me coming back. While the rest of the island can feel overrun at times, here everything is understated, unhurried, almost preternaturally calm. Much like the owner, Costis Psychas, a blond titan who built this honeycomb of cliff-side houses, stone by volcanic stone. More sculptor than builder, Psychas has distilled the eerie landscape into a cocoon of crisp white sheets on low-slung beds, a scattering of fuchsia cushions, a shapely pool seeping into the horizon. His clear-eyed daughter Sandrine now runs Perivolas with the same lack of pretension. This year, they’ve enlisted Theodoros Kakoulis, a brilliant young chef, to refresh the guests-only restaurant; smoked tomato and shrimp risotto and fish baked in vine leaves, served with sesame green beans and strawberries, are tantalisingly light yet complex. Another perk for the many repeat visitors: a smart new gym and grey lap pool. By Rachel HowardBOOK YOUR STAYANA LUI
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    GRACE SANTORINIGrace Santorini sits on the very edge of a cliff; viewed from above, it looks like a sunbather languidly dangling a limb over the lip of the island’s famous caldera. Carved out of two village houses partially destroyed in the 1956 earthquake, the hotel had 17 rooms and seven suites, plus two pools. All the rooms have terraces and are simply decorated in white. The hotel is not suitable for the elderly or infirm (there are 149 steps to negotiate), or children (under 14s are not allowed). Book room number 46, a honeymoon suite, for complete privacy.BOOK YOUR STAYVEDEMA RESORTA beautiful cluster of traditional free-standing villas and houses, Vedema – a Luxury Collection hotel built around a 400-year-old winery and thoroughly renovated in 2008 – is ideal if you want a calm and relaxing holiday. The rooms – better described as apartments – are spacious with sparsely decorated, white-washed interiors, flatscreen TVs, big bathrooms, verandahs, and – in some suite categories – private pools or Jacuzzis. Service is impeccable, friendly and relaxed, and the fantastic breakfast buffet, served at the poolside restaurant, might very well be the best on Santorini. Should you wish to see more of the island, 10-minute transfers to Fira and the beach at Perivolas operate throughout the day.BOOK YOUR STAY1864 THE SEA CAPTAIN’S HOUSEOriginally built in 1864 by a local sea captain, this hotel, with just three suites, has been restored to its original form while mod cons have been discreetly introduced. It is now a listed building so there’s no pool, although there is a blue marble ‘Rain Zone’ mega-shower in which to cool off after sunbathing. Despite being in the heart of Oia, each suite has spectacular views of Santorini’s volcanic caldera. Breakfasts can last into the afternoon, and the two restaurants run by the owners will provide lunch and dinner on request. The house has its own Jeep and access to a private yacht.BOOK YOUR STAY
  • Incognito Villa
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    INCOGNITO VILLAIt might seem impossible to be far away from everything on this island, but places such as Incognito Villa manage it. Set at the end of a dirt track on the beach near Monolithos, it has its own garden and a little pool, and there are tavernas within strolling distance in either direction along the sand. Even in the height of summer, it is astonishingly quiet.BOOK YOUR STAYDIMITRIS PHOTOGRAPHY
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    VOREINA GALLERY SUITESPyrgos, at the foot of Profitis Ilias mountain, the island’s high point, is the largest and best-preserved of the medieval settlements. It is more peaceful and more Greek than the white towns on the cliff edges. Worn stone stairs wind elegantly upwards to the Venetian castle. Part of the way up is Voreina Gallery Suites, where contemporary art fills the walls and the caldera and sunsets can be seen from terraces without the taxi fare to Oia.BOOK YOUR STAY
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    ANDRONIS ARCADIAPolished concrete and white-washed brutalist cubes rise from the ground at the winding, sprawling Andronis Arcadia. All roads lead to to the sparkly Aegean sea, which sits below the hotel to the west – meaning there are ludicrously brilliant sundowner views from the restaurant, the infinity-swimming-pool-meets-beach-club and the pretty bedrooms. Every room has a cool, dark plunge pool on its private terrace, where the polished floor leads inside to rattan details and wicker furniture, a low bed and a calming bathroom. There’s a buzzy restaurant, complete with DJ and regular parties, and a small but sweet spa. But you’re really there for the space, a serious luxury on this island, and the privacy, which is equally hard to find, and those uninterrupted sunset views – practically unheard of.BOOK YOUR STAYRead the full Andronis Arcadia hotel reviewAndronis Arcadia, Santorini: First InPLACES TO STAYAndronis Arcadia, Santorini: First InCARLEY RUDD
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    PERIVOLAS HIDEAWAYA splinter of land detached from Santorini by a volcanic eruption in 1613BC, Thirassia has somehow escaped everyone’s attention. Very few visitors bother to visit this breakaway island. Even fewer get to stay at Perivolas Hideaway, a magnificent villa resurrected from the ruins of a pumice mine. Invisible from afar, the red-and-black stone house appears like a floating mirage as you approach by speedboat. (The only other way to reach it is by helicopter.) The sea is framed in every arched window, the barely there but ever-ready staff are a dream, but it’s the roof terrace that steals the show. At dusk, Santorini turns blue-black across the caldera, villages sparkling like fairy lights strung along the clifftops. By Rachel HowardBOOK YOUR STAYANA LUI
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    SANTO MARIS OIAThe location of this all-suite hotel, on a scrubby hill just below Oia, feels slightly off at first. But as the sun drops seaward in a swirl of pink and lilac, right in front of your hot tub, it all starts to make sense. Ask for one of the new rooms, added in May 2018, for the very best views. The cavernous spa is another draw. As well as scrubs, wraps and facials, you can get the Lucky Treatment: a four-hand massage that supposedly makes any wish come true. Dubious, but it will make you glow. By Rachel HowardBOOK YOUR STAYANA LUI
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    EROSANTORINIPrivacy is a rare privilege on Santorini. This stunning villa breaks the mould. Behind stone walls covered with prickly pears, through a narrow passageway, is a sudden vast terrace and a tiered pool plunging 1,000ft to the sea. With whitewashed kilims and giant spotty beanbags, the playful, graphic design is unmistakably Paola Navone, the Italian designer behind several COMO hotels. Four softly monochrome suites are in separate houses, which you can rent individually or as a whole. (Unusually for Santorini, children are welcome and there are no steep stairs.) Watching birds, boats, sunbeams and stars draw patterns on sea and sky is like stepping inside a 360-degree Viewmaster. With a wood-fired oven, wine cellar, marble spa, yoga instructor, outdoor cinema and a winsome staff of 10, you barely need to venture out. By Rachel HowardBOOK YOUR STAYTHE VASILICOSThe Vasilicos – a play on the Greek word for regal and the basil plants that scent the terracotta-tiled terraces – is also an homage to the late Vasilis Valambous, a bon viveur and art collector. His sparky children, Daphne and Yannis, have transformed their family’s beloved summer house into a seven-room hotel. Decorated with original antiques, it all feels personal and thoughtful. Generous breakfasts are brought to your cliff-top balcony (beg for the home-made baklava); at night, the chef serves a five-course dinner, paired with award-winning wines from the family’s Vassaltis winery. There’s a library curated by Atlantis Books, a clued-up bookshop in Oia, and a boutique selling beachwear by Greek designers. By Rachel HowardBOOK YOUR STAYASTARTE SUITESThis family-run, 13-room hotel is in the least-developed part of the island. There are panoramas of the caldera, and the village-topped cliffs looking like snow-capped mountains. The best rooms are those with traditional vaulted ceilings. Meals are served on your private terrace.BOOK YOUR STAYCOSMOPOLITAN SUITESIn the capital Fira, near the cable car that disgorges tourists from the old port, this 10-room hotel is near plenty of bars and nightclubs. As well as gazing out at the sea and volcano, you can people-watch. Hollywood stars have stayed in the antique-filled rooms, and Room 7 is a characterful former home.BOOK YOUR STAYHOMERIC POEMSInspired by the owner’s home in Ithaca, Homeric Poems is a cluster of 19 stylish suites with a restaurant, bar and swimming pool. The kitchens are fully equipped, too.BOOK YOUR STAYHOTEL ATLANTISThis is probably the town’s smartest traditional A-class hotel, which has 25 rooms, sea- and caldera views and a swimming pool. It is one of the most affordable choices on the island – even in high season.BOOK YOUR STAYTSITOURAS COLLECTIONThis five-suite, one-villa hotel with swimming pool is owned by wealthy lawyer turned art collector Dimitris Tsitouras and was opened in 1988. The suites are themed on the sea, on Byron, on Tsitouras’s porcelain collection and on images of his friend, the late Rudolf Nureyev.BOOK YOUR STAYCHROMATAThis aptly named, 22-room hotel, with interiors in pink, blue, red, yellow or green, sits at one of the highest points of the caldera. The quirky, cosy rooms are all in former homes, most of which were cave-houses dug into the cliff. Ten suites have indoor pools. There’s a stunning infinity pool over the precipice.BOOK YOUR STAYON THE ROCKSOn The Rocks, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is a collection of suites with barrel-vaulted rooms, antique furniture and a swimming pool.BOOK YOUR STAYANA LUI
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    KATIKIESLocated right on the cliff edge in Oia, this is one of the island’s best hotels. Two split-level suites are in the 18th-century former home of a noble family: the façade is painted its original pale ochre and the interiors are decorated with antiques and Orthodox icons displayed on pale-blue walls. The other 25 rooms and suites, with similar interiors, sea views and patios, have bright white exteriors and look like a jumble of sugar cubes tumbling down the cliff. More than 200 steps connect the rooms, swimming pools – including a beautiful infinity pool – and public areas, and the small rooftop terrace restaurant serves delicious, fresh seafood. The nearest beach is five minutes’ free transfer away, although it’s probably quicker to walk in summer, when the narrow roads are clogged with coaches.BOOK YOUR STAYMYSTIQUEControversially painted cream rather than blinding white, this hotel – a sister property to Vedema Resort (above) – has 35 suites and villas carved into the cliff. All have caldera views and the decor complements the troglodytic look with island flair, Flintstones-style: coffee tables shaped like large pebbles on limestone floors; bedheads and lamps sculpted from driftwood; cushions embroidered with traditional floral designs. With friendly staff, Jacuzzis and those views, you won’t need to hyperventilate to reach nirvana – anyway, all the steps up and down between the suites, the infinity-edged pool and the village obviate the need for a gym. There is a cave-cellar full of interesting wines, and the restaurant serves delicious dishes made with fresh, local ingredients.BOOK YOUR STAYZANNOS MELATHRONThis hotel – a 19th-century mansion and attached 18th-century villa – is magnificent and the second most sophisticated hotel on the island after the Tsitouras Collection. Built in the 19th century by local wine magnate Michael Zannos (who pioneered a lucrative trade between Santorini’s sizeable wine industry and thirsty Odessa in Russia), it has been exquisitely restored by the owners. Rooms and suites mix traditional decor and post-modern touches with all mod cons and the excellent guests-only restaurant and swimming pool have sunset views across the island.

Source: cntraveller.com

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