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Escape The Santorini Crowds At This Design-Focused Hotel

If you know the Greek islands, you’ll know they often come with plenty of tourists during summer months. Mykonos and Santorini especially. Noūs Santorini offers an escape from the holiday crowds. 

There’s a space in Santorini with a calm, zen-like feel, no matter when you visit. Yes, even in the height of summer. Located away from the main tourist towns of Oia and Fira, Noūs Santorini, has created a haven amidst the teeming Santorini streets. 

Offering a spacious and tranquil environment, this design-focused property comes with strong credentials. It’s part of the Donkey Hotels Group collection (owned by hotelier and renowned art-collector, Dakis Jouannou), operated by Yes! Hotels (a pioneer of contemporary Greek hospitality) and is a member of Design Hotels. Quite the trifecta of style.

The Vibe

Designed to reflect the colours, shapes, art and architecture of the island, Noūs Santorini uses a white-washed colour scheme and is dotted with earthy, terracotta hues – evocative of murals found at the nearby ancient archeological site, Akrotiri – and cleverly fuses tradition with a thoroughly modern and chic stay.

Centred around a striking 50-metre L-shaped pool – Santorini’s largest – this is a space ready to slot straight into the pages of any design magazine, thanks to its unique architectural lines and the 176 pieces of contemporary art found across the hotel, each from Dakis Jouannou’s personal collection. Expect unique pieces from contemporary Greek artists in all rooms and villas, one of a kind seating at the bar, and a larger-than-life poolside installation, cleverly made from leftover tile pieces used to create terrazzo-style mosaics across many floors and walls.

The Rooms and Bungalows

While the architecture is impressive across the hotel, it’s at rooms and bungalows where good looks meet practicality. Sharp shapes used in creative and intelligent ways afford guests space and solitude, and all rooms feel as if you’re staying in a resort of your own. Most take up one floor of a two-story building but, despite that, ground-floor garden rooms are entirely shielded from the views of those above, offering privacy to both. While not all rooms have private pools, an impressive 63 out of the 119 do, three of them heated for cooler months.

Inside rooms are spacious – increasingly so dependent on category – and proudly showcase the work of local artists labelled with a QR code revealing more information about the pieces. Room number 325 (where we stayed) presents an ink on fabric piece from Sofia Stevi and photography from Yorgos Yatromanolakis. For the best sunrise and sea views, book an east-facing room which look out across nearby fields towards the Mediterranean or, for an accessible room, book numbers 101 to 104, or 505. 

The Food + Drink

The talent and skill of the Noūs pastry chefs – whipping up everything from breakfast croissants to decadent dinner time chocolate cake, all deliciously moorish – is clear, and the standard of food remains as high across the entire offering. All meals are designed using fresh, Greek produce and served from the pool bar and restaurant. The breakfast buffet presents baked goods alongside eggs to order, pancakes, chia puddings, honey fresh from the comb, cold cuts, cheeses, and much more.

Lunch and dinner come courtesy of one menu comprising starters, salads, meats, seafood, pastas and risottos. Greek islands do seafood well and the roasted jumbo shrimp with harissa, chilli and a couscous salad is standout, as is the sea bass ceviche with cherry tomatoes and cucumber gel, and the octopus with shallots confit, aged assyrtiko vinegar and herb oil. For vegetarian dining, Mediterranean spreads including hummus and taramasalata meet fava beans, zucchini patties and a delicious cauliflower steak cooked with dukkah and other spices. The house-sommelier, Eleftheria Sekara, will help you select a wine to pair with your meal, as well as proudly lead you on a wine-tasting journey or talk you through the hotel’s wine cellar which boasts 21 wines produced in Santorini. 

The Spa

At the spa, more impressive architecture leads the way with a striking, diagonally-lined white building contrasted against the vibrant blues of both the sky and an indoor-outdoor pool, and the greens of surrounding foliage. Unwind with a massage or other treatment using Korres products in one of the five treatment rooms – including a couples-room with outdoor pool – or spend time in the steam room, sauna, cold tank and uber-chilled relaxation space.

Central to both the hotel’s offering and layout, nearby facilities include a gym with top-of-the-range equipment, an outdoor yoga space, and a beauty salon for touch ups. Once you’ve maxed-out on your wellness quota for the day, pay a visit to the next door Vitamin Bar for freshly-mixed juices and smoothies.

The Little Extras

Perhaps the most handy service offered is a whatsapp concierge team who are swift to reply no matter which of the 24-hours in a day you message them. Use it for car services, shampoo, fresh towels, dinner reservations, and more. Rooms feature Korres bathroom products, a coffee machine, a well-stocked mini bar, a safe and plenty of wardrobe space. Some rooms come kitted with yoga mats and pool towels and these can also be delivered to any room on request, alongside an ironing board and a kettle. All rooms, and importantly all common spaces including the pool, have a strong wifi connection, too. Don’t miss the circular seating area which doubles as a fire pit, or the well-curated boutique store, APOELLA, stocking Greek and international brands. We recommend shopping the selection of Ancient Greek Sandals and Mary Katrantzou dresses plus picking up a copy of Assouline’s Greek Islands coffee table book. 

The To-Do List

No trip to Santorini is complete without visiting the caldera, the half-moon shaped bay caused by a volcanic eruption in around 1600 BC. If you’re not already aware of it, it’s worth learning about the history of the volcano too, and how it changed the shape of this island forever. History lesson aside, visit for the views – both across the sea and the caldera, as well as for the picture-perfect hillside villages. Fira and Oia, both caldera-side towns, are easily accessible from Noūs: the first is around a 10-minute drive and the second closer to 25. Whatsapp the concierge team to arrange a car.

Closer to the hotel are the small, traditional villages of Mesaria and Pyrgos, while on the south coast is an important archeological site – the well-preserved ancient village of Akrotiri, home to the Minoan civilisation in circa 1650 BC, pre-volcanic eruption. If you’re in the mood for a lazy afternoon on the beach after exploring it, Red Beach is nearby, and you’ll find the beaches of Perissa and Kamari along the island’s east coast. For true seclusion, follow local advice and head to Pori beach located on the very north-eastern tip of the island. 

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