Hotel review

Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites, Santorini Hotel Reviews

Greece may have hundreds of islands, but few of them can attract crowds like Santorini. This crescent-shaped Cycladic island was destroyed by a volcanic eruption around 1600 BC. to dazzling effect – the result is the caldera (or crater), one of the largest in the world.

Now the half-moon coastline curves around the caldera and the shimmering Aegean Sea, with the other three landmasses, which were once part of Thira (the confusing Greek name for Santorini), visible – including Thirassia, or little Thira. This sleepy little island can be traversed on day trips, especially recommended for anyone in search of the 1950s (perhaps you have recently read A theater for dreamers, The unforgettable story of Polly Samson on life in Hydra, half a century ago…).

For a late summer getaway, Santorini is the perfect destination, reachable by direct seasonal flights from the UK within hours and still balmy well into October. The plus: the sunsets. As with the best Santorini hotels, Santo Maris, just a 20-minute drive away and on the outskirts of Oia, is the perfect place to stay, especially if you’re only visiting for a few days.

First impressions

Santo Maris is the model Cycladic village you dream of: smooth, shiny concrete, stone walls and whitewashed dwellings with curved roofs, all against a backdrop of dazzling Greek blue (sea and sky) by day, with a few bougainvilleas added for do good measure. The rooms, which are more like compact, self-contained villas, are each named after a Greek island — they’re separated into archipelagos (Ionian, Cyclades, Sporades, and Dodecanese), and each group has its own pool to share.

Apart from being a place where you would happily spend all your time on the island, the hotel has a convenient trail that will take you to Oia in minutes. This is where the crowds gather every night for Santorini’s famous sunset, but your private terrace (plunging pool) or Akratos Hotel’s cocktail bar is a much more recommendable spot.

Registration

The hotel has a very stylish international feel to it in its efficient, all-cream reception. After a delayed EasyJet flight it was quite a contrast to sit on a spotless sofa with an ice cold drink while checking in.

The spa

Guests can head straight from the breakfast buffet to the cavernous underground Anassa Spa. You can book Cretan massages, mud masks, avocado facials, private yoga or just enjoy a swim in the pool.

The dining room

Santorini is a honeymoon and central proposition, so its restaurants are practically implored to be romantic. That means fine dining is the flavor of the day – for a more casual (but equally delicious) take on the concept, Alios Ilios is the supper setting for you. We swapped French sparkling wine for Santorini sparkling wine and were not disappointed. The amuse bouche set the bar high for the signature tasting menu and the next course of grouper ceviche was even better.

Most

If time travel beckons, return to a sleepy Greek island of yore with a trip to Thirassia, where there are just 150 residents (but more than 20 churches). The hotel team can organize hiking and cycling trips during your stay, as well as picnics.

Or if you’ve had a hectic summer and want some peace and quiet now that the kids are back in school, sign up for a stay at Santo Maris’ serene Wellness Suites, which have been designed in partnership with British spa expert Suzanne Duckett. The package includes peaceful day trips to Thirassia. They are also a fabulous choice for a babymoon.

Suites at the Santo Maris start at around £250 per night including breakfast.

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