Dreaming of a Greek-island getaway? We’ve found the perfect one

luxury hotel santorini
Dreaming of the Greek islands? Check in hereSanto Pure

Greece may have hundreds of islands but few of them know how to lure the crowds quite like Santorini. This now-croissant-shaped but formerly circular Cycladic isle was blown apart by a volcanic eruption circa 1600 BC to dazzling effect – the result is the caldera (or crater), one of the biggest in the world.

Now, the half-moon coastline curves around the caldera and the sparkling Aegean, with the other assorted landmasses, once a part of Santorini (called Thira in Greek), visible across the water. In the distance lies Thirassia, a small, sleepy island that can be visited on day trips, especially advisable for anyone in search of the 1950s (perhaps you’ve read A Theatre For Dreamers, Polly Samson’s unforgettable account of life on Hydra, more than half a century ago…).

For a summer escape, Santorini is the perfect destination, reached by direct seasonal flights from the UK within a few hours and still balmy into October. Plus: sunsets. As for the best Santorini hotels, new to the island this summer is Santo Mine, sister property to the well-established Santo Pure, both of which are located on the edge of Oia, the island’s most popular town. With such a prime location towards Ammoudi Bay at the northernmost tip of the island, it is the ideal place to stay, especially if you’re only visiting the island for a few days.

luxury hotel in santorini
Courtesy of the hotel

First impressions

As the name hints at, Santo Mine is set in a former stone mine above Ammoudi and the quarry aesthetic is everywhere – but before you start picturing Bedrock, this is of course a far chicer affair, especially if you love natural materials and neutral tones. The standalone suites, of which there are 37, have been painted a more-suited-to-the-surroundings shade of cream, rather than the classic Cycladic whitewash. Each sea-facing sanctuary has a Jacuzzi or private pool out on the terrace, which will come especially handy at sunset, a bona fide ritual every night in Santorini. Guests aged 12 and upwards are welcome and there are rooms that sleep four, which are ideal for families.

Through a short tunnel is Santo Pure, the model Cycladic village of your dreams: smooth, glossy concrete, stone walls and whitewashed dwellings with curved roofs, all with a backdrop of dazzling Greek blues (both sea and sky) by day, with some bougainvillea thrown in for good measure. The rooms, more like compact, self-contained villas, are each named after a Greek island – they are separated into archipelagos (Ionian, Cyclades, Sporades and Dodecanese), and each cluster has its own pool to share.

luxury hotel in santorini
Courtesy of the hotel

As well as being somewhere you’d happily spend your entire time on the island, the hotel has a handy footpath, taking you up to Oia in a matter of minutes. This is where the crowds congregate every night for the famous Santorini sunset, but your private (plunge-pool-enhanced) terrace or the on-site cocktail bar Akratos are a far more advisable location.

Checking in

All guests arrive to the same central lobby, a very slick, all-cream reception with an international feel. After a delayed flight from Gatwick, it was a welcome contrast to be seated on a spotless sofa with an ice-cold home-made lemonade to enjoy as we checked in.

The dining

Santorini is honeymoon and proposal central, so it’s imperative for its restaurants to be romantic. This means fine-dining is the flavour of the day – for a more laid-back (but equally delicious) take on the concept, Alios Ilios at Santo Pure is the supper setting for you. We swapped French fizz for Santorini-made 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. The menu also featured dry-aged sea-bass with wild greens, lemon gel and lime foam, and beetroot with goat’s cheese, rocket-infused olive oil and pistachio.

luxury hotel in santorini
Courtesy of the hotel

There’s good news for seafood fans over at Santo Mine, where Alme has entire menus dedicated to the daily catch. Dishes might include calamari with pickled mustard seeds, wild oregano and dried miso, prawn with celeriac foam and bottarga powder, or tuna with wild mushroom duxelles.

There are various bars and restaurants to work your way through at the resorts first (guests of either hotel have access to both), but don’t miss a trip during your stay to Ammoudi Fish Tavern, for sunset, more seafood and performative puddings.

The spa

Both hotels have a spa, but the one at Santo Pure is a little bigger. Guests can head straight down from the breakfast buffet there (which is also open to Santo Mine guests) 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. At Santo Pure’s Pnoé Spa, there are a couple of treatment rooms for facials and massages by Italian brand Comfort Zone.

luxury hotel in santorini
Courtesy of the hotel

What to do

If time-travel is calling, head back to a sleepy Greek island of yore with a trip over to Thirassia (which translates as ‘Little Thira'), where there are just 150 residents (but more than 20 churches). The team can arrange cycling and hiking while you’re there, as well as picnics to take with you.

Santorini’s volcanic soil makes it a fine place to make wine, and there are lots of vineyards to visit, including Venetsanos, which opened in 1947 and was the island’s first industrial winery – with the old-school machinery still on show to prove it. Although, Santo Pure has its own wine cellar with a female sommelier, Despina Moschaki, on hand for wine tastings should you, understandably, not fancy leaving the hotel.

If you’re visiting in the shoulder seasons and the temperatures are a little cooler, the hotel can arrange guided hikes, starting in the inland village of Pyrgos and ascending to the Prophet Elias monastery at the highest point of the island, before returning down to sea level for a well-earned lunch at Fratzeskos Fish Tavern by the black-sand beach in Perissa.



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