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Santorini But Not As You Know It: Discover Another Side To The Greek Island

Proving that Santorini isn’t all about the famous caldera and beaches, Santorini Sky takes island hospitality to new heights – literally. 

Scattered across almost 10 acres on the island’s tallest hill, the 15 villas at Santorini Sky offer a different experience of life on one of the most well-known Greek islandsAt 2,000 metres above sea level, views are unlike any other in Santorini – and they go well beyond panoramic. 

From the outdoor dining space you’ll be able to make out many of the various cliffs and curves of the island’s southerly coastline: to the east, look for black-sand beach, Perissa; to the west, trace the shape of the island, from the Bronze Age site of Akrotiri to the traditional village of Megalochori. It’s really quite something. 

The owner first visited Santorini 10 years ago, fell in love with it, and subsequently opened the hotel in 2020. These luxury suites are truly a vision of his passion. 

The Vibe

By nature of it’s hillside location, this is a place with a remote, far-away-from-it-all feeling. And that’s the intention. But in reality, it’s also well placed to offer easy access to some of Santorini’s most popular attractions – the closest beach, Vlychada, is 15 minutes by car, the caldera-side town of Fira is 20 minutes from the hotel, and world-famous Oia is just over 30 minutes away.

Hotel guests aside (who you won’t see from your accommodation – such is the hotel design), neighbours here are few and far between: stay in a Retreat Suite and keep your eyes and ears peeled for one of the closest – a donkey belonging to a farm on a neighbouring hilly peak.

While you’ll feel peacefully removed from the busyness of everyday life – yes, even that of island life – you won’t feel alone; the hotel and its staff foster a community atmosphere that is so often lost in hotels. You’ll likely chat to fellow guests about their holiday over breakfast, and you’ll definitely chat to the friendly hotel staff, who are more welcoming than most and will make you feel like a part of a family. It’s the Greek way, known as filikótita – a friendly, neighbourliness, they tell me.

The Rooms

Earthy, raw-by-design decor leads the interior design of suites and villas, built into rocky cliffs and opening up to large terraces with a view and a private, heated pool. Conceptualised by local architect, Vassilis Zorzos, it’s clear that the stunning natural landscape of the island has inspired his vision and is designed to take centre stage. 

We stayed in a spacious Retreat Suite, complete with king-sized bed, an indoor lounge area, a kitchenette, and a large bathroom with a skylight window towards the sky – or at night, towards the stars. Outside, alongside the pool, are sun loungers to enjoy it from and a small seating area – ideal for evening dinners overlooking the lofty surrounding peaks and sunken sea, or for sunset-gazing minus the usual Santorini crowds. 

Small details are well thought out – and Greek brands lead the way. Coco-Mat sheets line the beds, Apivita products are plentiful in the bathroom, and organic tea bags from Thessaloniki-based brand, Rhoeco, are placed next to the in-room kettle. You’ll also find a Marshall speaker, plus books about Greece and interior design dotted around your room. 

The Food + Drink

Though described as a self-catering property, in reality Santorini Sky is so much more. Breakfast and all-day, home-baked snacks are available as part of your stay. In the early morning, fresh breads and pastries are served alongside savoury dishes, whipped up by chef Sofia using local produce, and to be enjoyed in the communal indoor-outdoor Sky Lounge, or in the privacy of your accommodation.

As the day moves on, so does Sofia’s food: home-made favourites such as cookies, spanakopita, and delicious sweet-cheese pies are plentiful and unlimited (in fact the staff will encourage you to take more – even offering a small picnic basket to help you carry it to your room). The cheesecake is a clear guest (and staff!) favourite. There’s no evening restaurant, but staff will assist you in ordering from a nearby taverna, Mythos, whose Santorini split-pea fava is the best we’ve tasted.

The Little Extras

It’s worth noting that some rooms are close to the reception and dining space, while others are further away. No matter which you stay in, happy-to-help, genuinely friendly staff are on-hand 24/7 to ferry you from place to place, or to assist with any other needs – be it fresh sheets and a top up of in-room teabags, or island activities such as evening dinner reservations and car hire. What began, in 2020, as a collection of eight villas has expanded to 15, with plans for 15 more underway – and the large plot of land the hotel sits within means it can built them sustainably, as well as allowing continued privacy to guests. An airport transfer is available for an extra charge, and pets are allowed on request with no extra fee.

The To-Do List

Beyond taking in the views and lapping up the sun at your private pool? Book a massage, yoga session or photo shoot in the privacy of your suite or villa – do the latter and you’ll come away with some of the best social media shots you’ve had in a while. On-site Sky Dome – a private, igloo-like space built at the highest point of what is already the island’s highest resort – is the spot for special sunset-into-evening moments over dinner and wine as you gaze at the stars

Elsewhere, of course there’s Oia, Fira and the caldera to explore (no trip to Santorini would be complete without doing so), while highlights closer to the hotel include the lesser-crowded volcano-sand beaches along the island’s east and south coast – Vlychada, Perissa and Kamari are good options.

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