“Breathtaking views from this tranquil hilltop hideaway for grown-ups: just 10 suites with contemporary Cycladic style and private pools”
A short climb from the hotel is the picturesque village of Pyrgos - there are delightful restaurants tucked away in its cobblestone streets, and it’s far from the madding crowds of the coast. If you want something more energetic, friendly staff can arrange cultural tours to wineries and museums, or more active excursions like horse-riding on the beach and scuba diving. But Carpe Diem is essentially a classy sanctuary for adults in serious relax-and-read mode - those not actually seizing the day, but caressing it and letting it slip over them like sunshine.
- A very secluded setting with private access - a rarity in Santorini
- Enormous suites (we're told they're the largest on the island) with private plunge pools
- Impeccable service throughout: head butler Thrassos is always on hand to help and is full of recommendations
- A swish spa with a Yin-Yang-shaped Jacuzzi, a Turkish bath, therapeutic couples' massages and Apivita beauty treatments
- The nearby town of Pyrgos, with its higgledy piggledy streets, dazzling views of the island and fewer tourists
- The infinity pool is unheated, as are the plunge pools in the Alba and Lapis suites
- The larger ground-level suites are overlooked by the upper-level rooms and may feel less private
- The landscaped grounds of exposed volcanic rock and bright white plaster lack greenery and lushness
- There isn't a lot to do within walking distance; you'll need a car to get around
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- Adults only
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
The traditional Cycladic style - whitewashed curves and domes - has been redesigned by the owner-architect into 10 striking suites. All have private plunge pools, large terraces with loungers, and killer views.
Outdoor/indoor space is evenly split in the Aura, Alba and Astra Suites; interiors are more expansive in the Lava, Lapis, Vita, Dea and Terra Suites. All are open-plan, with high ceilings, whitewashed walls and glossy floors. Furnishings are minimal and modern: cream-coloured sofas, glass-topped tables, huge beds draped in cool grey. Thoughtful additions include a selection of books to borrow, chocolates left on the pillows and a smartphone that you can use as a sat nav or as a pocket travel guide - there's a special Santorini app on there. Bathrooms are stone-washed with giant tubs, rainfall showers and luxe toiletries.
Though smaller, the suites with upper-level verandas feel a bit more secluded. Honeymooners will love the oversized bathtub and champagne bar in the Vita Suite on the lower level. We personally loved the Lava Suite: it's enormous and has a temperature controlled wine bar stocked with Santorini specialities (all handpicked by the owner) and an old-school record player with a jazzy collection of vinyl. Perfect for the luxury-loving hipster in all of us.
- Air conditioning
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- DVD player
- Plunge pool
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
- Twice-daily maid service
Breakfast is substantial and comes with a basket of homemade breads and even a complimentary glass of local wine if you wish. We tucked into warm French toast with cinnamon, walnuts and honey, as well as Greek yoghurt with fresh seasonal fruits and an array of pastries. Food can be eaten by the hotel pool or delivered to your room/terrace; it's included in the rates before 11:30am, but for an additional charge you can order it until an indulgent 1pm.
The 270° Restaurant is open until late afternoon for lunch – the fare is Mediterranean (Santorini tomato fritters, chicken souvlaki, fillet of sea bass, pastas and risottos), with a good selection of Greek wines.
At sunset, signature cocktails by the infinity pool’s vista will lure you night after night. For dinner, you can eat by candlelight at GAIA (prices fairly reasonable for this expensive island). We felt truly spoilt as we feasted on tuna carpaccio, seafood orzo with meaty prawns, calamari and caviar, and a rich white chocolate cake, plus a bottle of Santorini's finest Assyrtiko wine to wash it all down.
If you want to head into Pyrgos for dinner (a 10-minute walk uphill), there are plenty of posh restaurants or cheap and cheerful tavernas. Try the mouthwatering mezze platters at Brusco or the contemporary Mediterranean fare at Cava Alta.
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Book a pamper session – designed for couples, the hotel spa has a hot tub, sauna and steam room and offers romantic ritual massages
- Wander through the pretty streets and up to the medieval chapel of Pyrgos - the island’s highest village is far less touristy than busy Oia
- Visit the lava islands in the sea-filled caldera. Hop on a boat from Thira, then hike up to still-smouldering volcanic rocks and craters
- Go wine-tasting – the hotel can arrange a visit to one of Santorini’s boutique wineries
- Wander the prehistoric site of Akrotiri, a Minoan Bronze Age settlement. It was devastated by a volcano in 1627 BC, and the volcanic ash has preserved frescoes, churches and even 3-storey buildings
- Spend a day on the volcanic black sands of Kamari beach
- Explore stunning Oia then escape the crowds and head to neighbouring Ammoudi for dinner - there are a handful of excellent fish restaurants
- Waterskiing and scuba-diving excursions can be organised, as can yachting and horse riding
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Horse riding
- Museums / galleries
- Scuba diving
- Shopping / markets
- Well being
- Wine tasting