Rena's Suites

Fira, Santorini, Greece Book from Eur49

An excellent low-budget option on the edge of Santorini’s main town, Ferá: stylish bedrooms and the luxury of a pool
I once told an elderly fisherman on neighbouring Folegandros how much some of the hotels on Santorini charge. His bushy eyebrows shot into his embroidered cap and his weatherbeaten face completely uncrumpled itself in astonishment. Then he gave me a knowing grin - I must be talking in old-fashioned drachmas, not euros. I wasn’t, and the rate is €1 to 340 drachmas, which gives you an idea of their relative expense.

However, you don’t have to pay €500 per night just to see Greece’s most spectacular view. It’s quite possible to spend a quarter of that, if you don’t mind staying inland and walking 10 minutes to reach the panoramic crater rim. In fact, it’s quite nice to hang out caldera-side by day, enjoy the famous sunset from a café, check out Fera’s buzzing tavernas and clubs before retiring to a peaceful night in Rena's Suites. Made up of 2 buildings, the hotel sits on the quiet edge of town and had a big refurb in 2012. The majority of the rooms are now very slick indeed: clean, stylish, with TVs and fridges, some with balconies, too. And, best of all, there's a pretty pool to laze around.

Highs

  • Just 15 rooms - the larger categories are best, with Cycladic chic meets modern minimalism decor, and bathrooms are gorgeous
  • Large pool to cool off in after a hot day on the volcano (or a hot night on the dancefloor)
  • Within walking distance of the bustling shops and tavernas of Ferá
  • Friendly, reliable, English-speaking manager, Nikos
  • Excellent value for money

Lows

  • The Standard Rooms haven't had the same stylish refurb as their siblings
  • Decor and styling varies throughout all roomtypes; Junior Suite #107 in particular is simpler and can be noisy due to it's proximity to the bar
  • And, of course, you don’t get the caldera view (though some rooms get sea views the other way, or a pool and town view)

Best time to go

If you can, go in April or October, just before / after the charter flights operate. If not, try and go in May / June / September, when the island is not too crowded. Unless of course it’s crowds that you’re after, in which case go in July or August, and book ahead! It is closed from November to March.

Our top tips

Most charter flights operate on a 7- or 14-night stay. If you enjoy warm, lazy days you could happily spend a week on Santorini. More realistically, you might want to spend a couple of nights here, then head to Folegandros or another nearby island for 3 days, then return for a couple of nights before flying back. Of course, with scheduled flights via Athens, you have more flexibility.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 17
  • Breakfast only (restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

The rooms are split between 2 buildings: the Standards are in one, the Superiors and Junior Suites in another. Most of the larger rooms received a slick refurb a few years ago and, though we're yet to personally view them, the style seems to be modern and minimalist. All-white decor is offset by sea-inspired paintings, quirky tree sculptures or perhaps a sunset or beach scene.

Some have French windows onto the pool area - handy for a wake-up dip but susceptible to noise from late-night swimmers. We’d avoid Junior Suite #107 (with kitchenette), which is simpler in décor and sits beside pool-bar area. As such, we’ve heard reports of guests being able to hear staff setting up breakfast from early morning. Others have a small terrace, a couple offer views away from town towards the other coast.

The small Standard rooms were not refurbed and are typical of low- to mid-range Greek hotels: marble-tiled floors, blank white-washed walls and 2 single beds with sheets folded neatly on top so you can make them yourself - apparently this is to show the sheets are fresh! You’ll find a TV in the corner, some bedside spot lamps and, much needed on sweltering Santorinian days, a fridge and wall-mounted air-con unit. The simple shower rooms have a moderate flow of hot water and, thankfully, a curtain to stop you spraying the whole room.

Considering the marginal price difference from a Standard, we'd definitely recommend upgrading to a Superior, or to a Junior Suite if you want more space. Bathrooms are also lovely, with walk-in showers and funky pebbled detailing.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Terrace
  • Tv

Eating

A breakfast of toast, jam, orange juice, cake, Greek yoghurt with Greek honey, plus cheese and turkey slices is included in the room rate, and you can order eggs, too (extra cost). Panos’ mother will bring it to a table by the pool or to your terrace (if you have one). Bring your sunglasses – the light is dazzling.

For lunch and dinner there are dozens of tavernas in Ferá, most of them catering exclusively to tourists and offering a standard array of classic Greek dishes: moussaka, stuffed tomatoes, kebabs of pork or (frozen) swordfish, tomato- or courgette keftedes (croquettes), tomato-cucumber-olive salad, feta or soft goat’s cheese (chloró), taramosalata, stuffed aubergines, roast chicken, beef stifado and – the local speciality – split-peas puréed with oil and garlic (fava). It’s usually pretty tasty, and easily washed down with retsina or beers like the local Mythos. The hardest part is ignoring the sales pitch of the touts posted at the taverna door, who, in true fishing style, are called kamakia (harpoons).

If you want to splash out, the undisputed top nosh in town is at Koukoumavlos, serving what you might call nouvelle Greek cuisine in a genteel candlelit courtyard overlooking the caldera. If you fancy a walk up the hill, there are quieter tavernas in Firostefani and Imerovigli, including the modest-looking but excellent Imerovigli Taverna, where we enjoyed the tenderest lamb baked with artichokes in an egg-and-lemon sauce.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Browse through the jewellery, clothes, leather, carpet and ceramic shops of Ferá
  • Relax with a café frappé in one of the funky joints perched on the rim of the crater, overlooking the sparkling blue sea; or at the hotel pool
  • Walk along the caldera rim to Theoskepasti chapel below Imerovigli, or further towards Oia – excellent sea-views; or from Pyrgos village past the island’s highpoint and down to ancient Thira and the sea
  • Wander down the 500 steps to the old fishing port below town, and take a cable-car or a mule back up
  • Take a boat-trip from the old port to the two volcanic islands in the centre of the caldera, or take a sunset cruise to Thirasia island
  • Explore the 2500-year-old ruins of ancient Thira and the even older Minoan city of Akrotiri
  • Stop off at one of the wineries to taste the sharp, refreshing whites and vinsanto
  • Santorini’s beaches are disappointing by Cycladic standards, but there are some black-sand strips at Kamari and Perissa
  • The best music clubs in Fera are Enigma for soul, Bizarre for the videos, Dionysus for cheap drinks, and Franco’s for classical

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Horse-riding
  • Nightlife
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming

Kids

Superior Rooms have a double bed and can each fit 2 children in extra beds or travel cots. Junior Suites have a double bed, 2 single beds and space for an extra bed or travel cot.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool

Distances:

  • Airport: 15 minutes
  • Shops: 2 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

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

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