“A collection of luxury vaulted rooms and suites half-dug into the cliffside above Santorini’s sparkling, sea-filled caldera”
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 a private steam room or an outdoor Jacuzzi, while the amazing Perivolas Suites have a spa area, a hydro-therapy whirlpool, heated infinity pool, oh, and a celebrity price tag...
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.