Grace Santorini

Imerovigli, Santorini, Greece Book from

A stylish and indulgent hotel in a gloriously romantic setting on Greece's most photogenic island
Grace Santorini hugs the cliffside on the island's west rim, overlooking the sea-filled crater and lava islets, with the turquoise Aegean all around. Sparkling and new, it has honeymoon written all over it - heart-stopping views, private plunge pools, amazing sunsets. It’s set in Imerovigli, a gloriously Cycladic village sprinkled with white sugar-cube houses; far enough from busy Fira to feel secluded, yet within walking distance. We’d stay put though. Directly below you is the caldera, the underwater basin of an ancient volcano; facing you is the plug of Skaros, topped with Venetian castle ruins. And forget grappling with tourist crowds at Oia - you'll get perfect sunset views from your terrace.

As with sister hotel Grace Mykonos, bedrooms are stylish and sexy - pure white décor, kingsize beds, sumptuous towelling robes and Apivita toiletries. Most have a private terrace and plunge pool for 2; one even has its own hammam. We’re always loath to use the word 'luxurious', but with champagne breakfasts and moonlit dinners, it’d be churlish to pretend this is anything but.

Highs

  • Every room is perfectly positioned for a sunset view, and most have private plunge pools and terraces
  • Excellent staff, led by host couple Martina and Joseph, who know when to pamper and when to be unobtrusive
  • Fabulous décor throughout
  • Infinity swimming pool with loungers and a slick bar selling cocktails
  • Concierge service to book restaurants, hire cars, charter catamarans or park your helicopter

Lows

  • At 22 rooms, it's larger than when it first opened, though with private plunge pools and dining "cubby holes" it still feels intimate
  • Santorini island has become very commercialised and the caldera rim is lined with hotels - though this one is set slightly apart
  • A few rooms are small, others are right by the path to Skaros (so rather public)
  • Steep steps make this unsuitable for anyone with limited mobility

Best time to go

The best times for reliable sunshine, without the heatwaves or crowds of midsummer, are spring (April - May) and autumn (September - early October).

Our top tips

One of my favourite spots on Santorini - the chapel of Theoskepasti - is a short but spectacular hike away from the hotel. Follow the footpath round to the left of Skaros rock (the big volcanic plug in front of the hotel) and perched on the far side is the whitewashed church, hanging between cliff and sea. It is only 20-30 minutes' walk from the crowds of Imerovigli, but feels a world away. The name, which means "covered by God", comes from a story about a huge rockfall which crashed down all around the chapel but left the building (and the faithful few within it) unharmed, as if protected by an invisible shield. You can walk back the same way, or (slightly tougher) go straight up from there to the ruined Venetian castle atop Skaros rock.

Great for...

Honeymoon
Spa
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 22
  • Restaurant and bar
  • Over 14s welcome
  • Closed: 9 Dec 2016 - 19 Apr 2017
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room:

Rooms

The 22 rooms are spread over 7 levels down the cliffside. The beauty of this is not only privacy - it means that all have awesome sea views, most overlooking the caldera and Skaros Rock. Inside, things are pristine and uncluttered: chic white decor, kingsize beds decked out in crisp white cottons, perhaps an oversized black and white photo on the wall. They’re very contemporary, yet fresh flowers and cushions prevent them from looking stark.

For those who care about their gadgets, all the mod cons are in place - WiFi, iPod and dock, satellite plasma TV, DVD player. For those who care about their luxury, all the boutique boxes have been ticked - rain showers, a 7-pillow menu, summer goose-down duvets, Apivita toiletries (the new Korres, we are told). There are even oil-burning vaporisers with a choice of scents, should you not like the fresh sea air...

Deluxe rooms are the smallest, though at Grace Santorini that still means a beautiful 35sq.m. room plus a private outdoor terrace with a plunge pool for 2. Next up are the Junior Suites, with wider terraces and indoor seating areas. The Honeymoon Suites have chairs and comfy bed linen, as well as sensational views towards Thirasia island, Oia, and the Aegean sea. Superior Suites are the highest on the hill, with panoramic sea views and enormous outdoor terraces.

The VIP Suite sounds delectable, with a steam shower in its ensuite bathroom and an oversized plunge pool on its terrace. However, king of the castle has to be the Grace Suite: cushioned loungers on the terrace, a separate interior plunge pool and a hammam in the bathroom. This can be arranged with 1 bedroom or 2.

Most recently, the Santorini Suites and a super-luxurious Villa have been added to the ensemble. We haven't seen them yet, but the latter boasts 2 palatial ensuite bedrooms, a private kitchen and spa, plus a stunning outdoor living space with lounge areas and a large pool. The property also comes with a personal concierge and the option of a private chef. Needless to say, nothing will be to much trouble...

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Meals are served on the cliff-top terrace, complete with its heart-stopping views, or in the high-ceilinged airy restaurant if the weather is bad (unlikely). By all accounts, the food is excellent. Days begin on a suitably indulgent note with a champagne breakfast served until 11.00am - or all day if you ask nicely. Fresh coffee and homemade breads and pastries are just the appetiser. Eggs any way you like are served with bacon, sausage, haloumi cheese and olives. The homemade pancakes come recommended, or for traditionalists there are cheeses, meats, fruit salads and homemade muesli. Freshly squeezed juices and smoothies will help with your 5-a-day.

After you’ve recovered your appetite via a couple of lazy laps in the pool, there’s a Mediterranean all-day menu to explore - mezze for two, salads, sandwiches... all the usual suspects though, we suspect, rather superior in taste. At dinner, the terrace is aglow with moonlight and flickering candles. Chef Spiros Agious's menu is a fine dining take on Greek favourites; think prawn giouvetsi or sea bass moussaka, an innovative version of this all time favourite Greek dish. For special occasions, you can also request a Romantic Dinner - set menus served on your private cave by the pool.

If you’d prefer to eat out, there are several good options within walking distance. Saltsa serves contemporary Greek food and Santorini specialities - it gets good feedback. Koukoumavlos in Thira is award-winning; Mediterranean cuisine is served alongside a terrific view from the terrace. Further afield (reception can arrange taxis), Dimitri in the pretty harbour town of Ammoudi is a traditional fish tavern, while Nychteri in Kamari has an excellent reputation across the island.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Go sailing around the island in a private motor yacht - the hotel can arrange the charter along with a captain who will steer you to secluded bays, hot springs and neighbouring islets

  • Hit the beach. Close to the hotel, Vourvoulos is a relatively quiet affair with Santorini’s famous volcanic black sands. Further afield, Kamari on the southeast coast is lined with seafood restaurants and cool bars, while the Red Beach is a small bay tucked into soaring red lava cliffs, with terracotta-coloured sand

  • Visit Greece’s only wine museum, with its underground cellar and original tools and machinery. You’ll get to taste the Volcan wines, too

  • Get to grips with Santorini’s fascinating archeological history at an exhibition in Firostephani (a short walk away). Thick layers of volcanic deposits from the eruption nearly 3500 years ago preserved an entire village and the frescoes on display are in excellent condition

  • Take a boat across to the lava islands in the middle of the caldera, which are still smoking with sulphur

  • Reception can arrange various watersports, diving courses and moped hire

  • Wander around the capital Fira, where you’ll find some fabulous artisan and jewellery shops and good tavernas

  • Take the windy roads up to Oia to watch the sunset... or stay at the hotel and see it from your balcony. We know which we’d choose!

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Helicopter Flights
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Children under 14 are not allowed. Children aged 14+ are charged as adults.

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
10/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
10/
Overall

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