“A well-placed, well-priced collection of Studios, Suites and Villas in Santorini’s most sought-after village, Oia”
This is one of those places that has grown organically, spilling a little further down the hillside, bit by bit, until it reached its current size of 20 studios, suites and houses. These are built in the traditional Santorini style - vaulted roofs and white-washed facades - with their inner recesses dug into the soft volcanic cliff, keeping them cool in summer and warm in spring or autumn.
The layout and size varies greatly among the rooms, but you can expect carved wooden furniture, stone-hewn bed-ledges, tiled floors, maybe a patch of exposed stone among the milky curves. It all combines to create a clean, soft, almost womb-like atmosphere. And it stays that way, despite the winter onslaught of sea-gales and rain: every spring the rooms are repainted from top to toe, and a lucky handful have their furniture and fittings upgraded.
Many of the bedrooms are set deep in the rock, with little or no natural light; those larger Suites with loft bedrooms, reached by steepish stairs from the dining room, are lighter and tend to get sea views. The bathrooms are mostly at the rear, and consequently small and dark, but the showers work well, and the Suites benefit from a romantic Jacuzzi bathtub. Every house has a fairly basic kitchenette, and, best of all, a private sea view terrace from which to enjoy that sunset, without having to jostle for space at Sunset Point. And, if you’re in the Superior Suite, Honeymoon Suite or Esperas Suite, you can take in the sunset from your private outdoor Jacuzzi!
A wide-ranging breakfast buffet is included in the room rate, and served by the pool from 8.30 to 11am, before the sun hits it. It includes homemade lemon jam and cakes alongside the usual croissants, cold meats, packaged cheeses, boiled eggs, yoghurt, cereals and fruit.
Every room has a kitchenette with an electric hob, kettle, sink and small fridge (including a freezer compartment - handy for chilling drinks). There are sharp knives and basic condiments if you fancy whipping up a salad, and enough pans for a pasta supper; though no oven, mixer or toaster.
Handy for those who arrive late (and for those who are feeling lazy) is a small in-house restaurant with a handful of candle-lit tables perched above the pool. Although the menu is limited, the chef manages to whisk up a delicious and beautifully presented dinner. A house speciality is the excellent (though not local) king prawns in ouzo sauce, and the cold cherry tomatoes stuffed with tuna were as pleasing on the eye as the stomach. But if this is all too fancy for you, you’ll be happy to know that the Greek salads are both fresh and vast. There are half a dozen wines, mostly local and, in case you have not come across Santorini whites before, these are a far cry from retsina.
Santorini also happens to boast some of Greece’s finest restaurants. A 10-minute walk away, in the centre of Oia, is Ambrosia where you can tuck into sweet onion tartlets and a succulent sfyrida (grouper) in olive sauce while sitting on a panoramic terrace. Then there's 1800, a 19th-century captain’s house with elegant ‘sala’ and equally elegant salmon in lime and honey sauce, washed down with a mascarpone, olive and lemon sorbet (yes, really!). Try Kastro , next to the castle, boasting the best sunset views, or Roka, hidden on the northern edge of town. If you have the energy, you could walk down to the tiny fishing harbour of Amoudi at the base of the cliffs, where the aromas of freshly grilled octopus and sea-bass mingle with the tang of salty air. Go easy on the ouzos, for the sake of the walk back up.