Location: Alios Ilios, Santo Maris Luxury Suites and Spa
Santorini is a place I have wanted to visit for a long time. One – because I cannot believe that I am in my thirties and based in Europe, yet never visited a Greek Isle before. Two – because everyone on social media has seen those gorgeous Santorini sunsets and as a travel writer, it felt like a bit of a must. The trip came at a perfect time. We had just moved house here in London and the stress of it all was just so overwhelming (check out this post for more on that). All I wanted was a few days in the sun to enjoy some warm weather, the smell of the sea and to feel pampered. After days of lifting heavy furniture, cleaning and stressing, it was only on the plane that I finally got excited about my upcoming trip. It all changed when we were about to land and I saw the beautiful views of the island and runway from the plane window. If I felt any stress at all at the start of the day, it soon disappeared when we arrived at the stunning Santo Maris Luxury Suites and Spa. An imposing and spacious all-suite hotel, with stone white washed buildings that oozes understated luxury.
Located in Oia (pronounced ee-yah), the north western part of the island of Santorini, Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites and Spa is one of the most beautiful places you could stay in Santorini. Built within the last five years, Santo Maris is an all-suite, adult-only gem that sits on a hillside just outside of the busy town of Oia. Guests have a number of luxury suite options to choose from, however you can rest assured that one thing is guaranteed: every suite has a heated jacuzzi and all guests are treated to a bottle of Santorian wine upon arrival. The vibe to me is best described as laid-back glamour, with minimalist decor and high ceilings, and a stunning view of the Aegean that does most of the talking.
If you happen to be travelling to Santorini for a special occasion, be sure to book the Exclusive Sunset Junior Suites Sea View for the most spectacular views of the picture perfect sunset that we have all learnt to expect from Santorini. You can check out my tour of one of these rooms over on my Instagram Santorini stories. The hotel itself is already brand new, but the section where the Exclusive Sunset Suites sit has only been made open to the public in 2018, so you really are one of the few people in the world who will have the pleasure of enjoying their beauty. Overall, the hotel has five sections, each with their own pool and sun loungers. Now I may be a little bit biased, but the pool in the Exclusive Sunset Suites section was my absolute favourite. Not only was it a gorgeous infinity pool, but it had those spectacular views of the Aegean Sea. If walking from one section to another gets a bit tiresome in the heat fear not – there are buggies to drive you around. All you need to do is pick up the phone and request one from reception.
One thing I really struggled with in Oia was the huge crowds of tourists, particularly in the afternoon when the cruise liners would drop off their passengers. The fantastic thing about Santo Maris is that you are located about 7 minutes away from the village of Oia, meaning that you can wake up early and explore before all the crowds get in. And when I say crowds, I mean crazy crowds. Oia is not very big at all, yet one taxi driver said to us that during August, they can sometimes have about 50,000 tourists envelop the village, particularly around sunset. Whilst you are indeed close to the action at Santo Maris, you are completely cut off from the hustle and bustle of the main town. The hotel is peaceful, laid back and quite dreamy! That being said, if anyone does want to experience that tourism madness, it’s just a 7 minute walk to the centre. To add to the peace and quiet, the hotel is strictly adults only (although children over the age of 12 are allowed).
For a little bit of pampering, the hotel boasts a lovely spa, however you can definitely book a treatment in the privacy of your own suite. We even had a mini treatment by the main pool. Think lots of aloe vera and olive oil-based products which smelt so divine. The main pool is where we spent a lot of time relaxing and just enjoying the Greek sunshine. The pool bar offers a selection of tasty cocktails, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, that are either classic names you would recognise or masterfully mixed creations by their resident bar expert. All cocktails have a Santorian or Cretan flair or influence, so be daring and try something that is inspired by local flavours.
I’ve left the pièce de résistance to the very end – Alios Ilios. A restaurant experience like no other. Why? Because it’s not everyday that you can have a wonderful meal whilst admiring a burning red sky in the distance. But that will have to wait until my next article, because when you experience something so beautiful, it deserves to take centre stage! Check back on Friday!
Have you been to Santorini? Where was your favourite place to stay?
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