“A collection of luxury vaulted rooms and suites half-dug into the cliffside above Santorini’s sparkling, sea-filled caldera”
Where else could I be but on the volcanic island of Santorini? Or, more precisely, stretched across a lounger by the pool at Perivolas, a collection of traditional vaulted houses perched above the sea-filled cauldron at Oia. With its organically curved terraces spilling down the slope, its cool white rooms and suites half-dug into the mountain-side, its carefully manicured gardens, and its infinity pool, this must be one of the most hallowed pieces of earth in the whole Med. Black cats clearly bring good luck in this part of the world.
- Swimming in the stunning infinity pool with panoramic views of the caldera and sea beyond
- The friendly and helpful staff who go out of their way to ensure you have a magical time
- The breakfast buffet: what a delicious way to start the day
- Watching the sun set over Oia’s rooftops from your private terrace, rather than jostling for space at Sunset Point
- Shopping in the boutiques of Oia and Fera (Thira)
- Exploring the lava islets by boat and watching smoke rise from the earth below your feet
- It’s expensive, even by Santorini standards
- It’s often full (but no large groups, thankfully), so early booking is strongly recommended
- The rooms are (deliberately) dark, but this keeps the blistering heat out in the height of summer
- It's on the outskirts of Oia - you're 10 minutes' walk from the bustling centre - but this could also be considered a plus point!
- Smaller rooms could be considered a little basic, but all have terraces with the most breathtaking views
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant + bar (open daily)
- Over 16s welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
Perivolas has been featured in many glossy travel and interior design magazines, partly because of its stunning setting but also for its fascinating architecture and stylish minimalist décor. In the traditional style of the island, the rooms are dug out of the soft, ashen cliffs for coolness, and have vaulted roofs for extra stability.
Once home to fishermen and farmers, the suites were transformed into luxurious cave dwellings by local craftsmen. The floors are soft and marbly, the beds soft and comfy, and the ensuite bathrooms have solid-looking aluminum fittings. All rooms have a sitting area and deckchairs outside on their private terrace.
The Superior Suites have a spacious sitting room and, further into the mountainside, a cosy bedroom with an arched stone partition. The Junior Suites are slightly smaller, with a sitting area attached to the bedroom. Suites are very similar, but are a little more secluded. The Lifestyle Studio is the smallest, with a bed and lounge in a single open-plan space. The Deluxe Suites have an outdoor Jacuzzi or infinity pool, while the amazing Perivolas Suites have a spa area, a hydro-therapy whirlpool, heated infinity pool, oh, and a celebrity price tag...
- Air conditioning
- Central heating
- Coffee tea making
- Ipod dock
- Safe box
The poolside wine cellar is now a restaurant-bar with canvas chairs and those classically Greek metal tables - meals are served exclusively to hotel guests. At breakfast, expect an excellent buffet including freshly made pastries, a seasonal fruit salad (ours boasted kiwi fruit, green apple and pineapple with cinnamon) and creamy yoghurt with nuts and honey. A la carte options included eggs, pancakes and smoothies made to order. The filter coffee and fresh orange juice were just what the doctor ordered.
Lunches and dinners are created from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients; simplicity and flavour are key. Lunch might include grilled shrimp souvlaki, cheese pie and moussaka with local white aubergine, while the evening menu features the freshest fish - catch of the day cooked in sea salt crust - and traditional Greek dishes with a twist, such as lemon-braised lamb. Alternatively, opt to sit out on the poolside terrace with a glass of white Santorini wine, or a cocktail, and Mezedes plates as you watch the sun dip below the horizon.
For a seafood dinner, if you have the energy (or a car), go down to the small fishing quay beyond the town, where the best of the 5 seaside tavernas is the yellow-and-blue Ammoudi at the end. Red mullet, sea-bream and other catches of the day are tender on the palate (but not so on the pocket). For a convenient, cheap and very Greek dinner, wander just down the road to Anemomilos, whose staple oven dishes (roast chicken, moussaka) rarely disappoint.
- Coffee tea making
- Restaurants nearby
- Sunbathe on the terrace, cooling off in the famous pool
- Relax in the wellness centre, where you can enjoy tailor-made massages and treatments, relax aching muscles in the steam room and sauna, or gaze at the astounding volcano view from the alfresco Jacuzzi
- Wander through the winding alleys of Oia, with its photogenic chapels and sea-views; browse through the jewellery and craft boutiques
- Walk down to Ammoudi, a tiny harbour at the bottom of a cliff for a swim, meal or boat trip
- Take a boat across to the lava islands in the middle of the caldera, which are still smoking with sulphur
- Drive to the wonderfully preserved (pre-eruption) ruins of Minoan Akrotiri or the (post-eruption) ancient city of Thira
- Go windsurfing, sailing or water-skiing at Perissa, or diving at Akrotori
- Go horse-riding along the black-sand beaches near Exo Gonia (foreign-run stables)
- Whatever you do, don’t miss sunset either from your terrace or Sunset Point in Oia - it's one of the world's all-time classic views!
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Private guided tours
- Scuba diving
- Shopping / markets