Canaves Oia Suites bears more than a passing resemblance to its scenic sister, Canaves Oia Hotel: both are pearl-white, knee-weakeningly lovely and graced with incredible Oia views. The Suites are a neck ahead when it comes to pampering, thanks to their spoiling spa, pool-toting sleeping quarters (pick from dinky plunge pools to private infinity pools) and ambitious restaurant, which champions the vibrant produce of the Aegean (and serves up accomplished cocktails). We love this vertiginous caldera-side hotel from dawn till dusk, but it’s particularly eye-pleasing, come sunset.
Get this when you book through us:
A welcome drink each by the pool on arrival; GoldSmiths get an upgrade to the next best room category (subject to availability) and two glasses of vinsanto wine poolside, once during their stay
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm (you can use the hotel’s communal areas if you arrive a bit sooner).
Double rooms from £531.99 (€594), including tax at 13 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €4.00 per room per night on check-out.
Rates include a magnificent champagne breakfast (served à la carte), including cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, eggs, bacon, fruit, local jams and Greek options (one word: pancakes). A city tax of €4 a person, each night will be charged at check-out.
Canaves Oia Suites boasts the island’s only lift, making its cliffside rooms more easily accessible to guests with reduced mobility, although they’ll still need to navigate a few steps from the main levels to the suites.
Santorini is an island designed for summer loving: like many of its neighbours, Canaves Oia Suites shuts between November and March (exact dates vary annually).
At the hotel
Spa with sauna and treatment rooms; mini gym; pilates room. In rooms: Nespresso coffee-maker, minibar, TV, WiFi. Bathrooms have a stash of fragrant Acqua di Parma bath products.
Our favourite rooms
These suites are spacious and airy, with marble floors, big bathrooms and their own sea-facing terrace and hot tub (or pool). Waterbabies will love the River Pool Suite for obvious reasons; if it’s views you’re after, Junior Suite 24 has a quiet terrace that surveys the caldera; just above it, the Honeymoon Suite has a (very) private terrace and sea views that you can enjoy from bed. With its square plunge pool hovering above the Aegean waters below, the Infinity Pool Suite is made for self-satisfied selfies.
Spy on the sea from Canaves Oia Suites’ little pool, positioned handily by the bar.
Be lathered and slathered with fragrant Elemis unguents in the whisper-quiet Canaves Spa, set in a 17th-century cave and equipped with a fleet of celestial masseuses. The spa’s two treatment rooms overlook the caldera; however, if you've booked one of the superlative massages, spa rituals or facials, you'll likely be oblivious. Guests can also request treatments with a sea breeze in the spa’s outdoor area, or be pampered in-room. The signature treatment for two includes a head-to-toe essential-oil massage, finished off with a bottle of champagne and fresh strawberries.
Bring shoes fit for climbing around a caldera; vivid shots of colour to sing against all that white. Save space in your suitcase for the highly gluggable local wine and olive oil.
If tackling Santorini’s vertiginous steps isn’t exercise enough, Canaves Suites has a small but fully equipped gym with exercise bikes, weights, multi-disciplinary machines, treadmills and elliptical trainers. Try a private or semi-private yoga session.
Over-14s only, but this hotel is a very grown-up affair.
Proposal-scenes don’t get much better than the Panorama Balcony and its single table for two; there’s also the candlelit White Cave, a snug private dining area set in a grotto by the pool.
Greek god or goddess: free-flowing white linen; leather sandals; a generous application of Acqua di Parma body lotion, courtesy of the stash in your bathroom.
During the day, admire Santorini’s blue skies and seas while enjoying flavour-packed Mediterranean cuisine at the relaxed poolside restaurant; later on, romance levels rise caldera-high, thanks to Petra’s cluster of candlelit tables set out on a separate, sunset-spying terrace. Be sure to try the Aegean’s bountiful edible stars: succulent seafood, garlicky fava beans, fat capers, white aubergine and ruby-red cherry tomatoes – dressed with liberal splashes of local olive oil, naturally. Guests can also request a private dining experience in their suite, or eat at Canaves Oia Hotel’s Infinity, a short stroll away…
Cool down with fruity, mastika-splashed cocktails from the pool bar; Petra restaurant also serves some nifty libations, including the Volcanic Tiki, flavoured with house-made passionfruit syrup. Have a romantic, candlelit wine-tasting session (be sure to try one of the white wines made from assyrtiko grapes, one of the island’s most popular varieties) on the Panorama Balcony, which can only be used by one couple at a time. If you opt for the Panorama Balcony experience, you’ll also get a tour of the hotel’s basement wine cellar.
Dinner and drinks are served until around midnight. Canaves Oia’s loved-up clientele tend to sneak off to bed after that…
Order items from Petra’s menu to your room between 11am and 11pm (an edited selection is available after that). Minibars are stocked with snacks, soft drinks and local booze.
You’ll find Canaves Oia Suites in Santorini’s most flocked-to spot, Oia: famed for its vivid sunsets, caves teetering on clifftops and rugged caldera views.
Santorini’s Thira Airport (www.santoriniairport.com) is 15 kilometres from the hotel. Fly direct to the island from London Gatwick every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday during the summer with EasyJet (www.easyjet.com), or connect from Athens in 45 minutes with Aegean Airlines (www.aegeanair.com), Olympic Air (www.olympicair.com) or Athens Airways (www.athensairways.com). There are limited taxis on the island, so it’s best to organise transfers in advance. The hotel can arrange private transfers for up to four people for €90 each way. If there are more than four of you, the charge is €20 for each additional guest.
Sorry, trainspotters: sand, waves and trains don’t mix.
Thira is a 15-minute drive from Canaves Oia Suites; the airport and port are around half an hour away by car. Guests can park their cars at the private car park a short stroll away. If you decide to come with wheels, avoid driving near Oia in the hour or so before sunset, when the main road gets clogged with camera-toting tourists.
Worth getting out of bed for
The concierge can arrange a bounty of activities, including tasting sessions at local wineries, archaeological tours and market trips. Sign up for a catamaran cruise with Sunset Oia; you’ll explore Santorini’s bays, caldera coast and hot springs, with the chance to wade into volcanic mud, stop off at local beaches, cool off in the water and enjoy plenty of delicious food and drink on-board. Potter around Oia’s vertiginous tangle of streets, dodging selfie-stick-wielding honeymooners, and pick up trinkets and leather goods in the artisan boutiques. Hire quad bikes and dash around the island, spending a day at beachy, relaxed Kamari and enjoying the views from romantic Imerovigli. Spend a couple of hours in the hotel’s spa: try the Terra Sigillata Therapy, which involves being slathered in three mineral muds, or the Bali Paradise Therapy, featuring freshly-blended fruit extracts and herbs. Get an eye-widening history lesson from Akrotiri, one of the Aegean’s most impressive preserved Minoan Bronze Age settlements. Crossroad Antiques, housed in a former grocery store in Pyrgos, is a characterful antiques shop with an art gallery next door; browse its stash of island treasures and have a chat with Lefteris Zorzos, the friendly owner. Learn about Santorini’s maritime history at Oia Maritime Museum (+30 22860 71156), home to rare 17th-century figureheads, navigational instruments, ship models, watercolours of vessels, photographs, precious documents and more.
If the thought of juicy lobster and succulent squid makes your heart beat a bit faster, pay a trip to Armeni (+30 2286 07105), arguably Santorini’s best fish and seafood taverna. Getting there is all part of the adventure: Armeni’s owner will meet you in his boat at Amoudi port and whisk you across the water to the restaurant. Ambrosia lives up to its name: its food (Mediterranean fine dining) and its views (sweeping caldera vistas, guaranteed to make your eyes pop) are both divine. Metaxy Mas Tavern delivers a brilliant introduction to Cycladic cuisine from its Pyrgos village setting. There are no duds on this menu, whether you’re after flavour-packed traditional salads, melt-in-the-mouth baked aubergine, herby pork cooked with peppers, island lamb, seafood and fish – or a shot of the potent house raki.
Nibble honey-drenched Greek pastries and traditional desserts from Melenio Café at Nik. Nomikou. Take your sweet treats with you, or enjoy them in the upstairs sitting area (with some heart-judderingly strong Greek coffee, perhaps), which boasts dazzling views.
By day, we love Passagio in Oia for its coffee, sandwiches and salads; by night, we love it even more for its tempting cocktails. Beat the hordes to a table at popular Franco’s Bar in Thira, beloved for its stunning caldera setting, serene classical music and thorough drinks list, which canters through local wines, champagne and cocktails. Oenophiles will love Sphinx, a wine-centric restaurant housed in a grand 19th-century building, home to an impressive international wine list. This is a great place to sign up for a wine-tasting (warning: you’ll want to bring a bottle or six back with you).
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this caldera-side hotel in Santorini and unpacked their olive oil and wine, a full account of their Greek break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Canaves Oia Suites in Oia…
Canaves Oia Suites is a family affair: the hotel is run by two suave Greek brothers, whose canny parents set up their hotel business here in 1985, just as the island was on the brink of becoming a tourist magnet for worldwide sun-worshippers and beach bunnies. It’s hard to believe that back then, Oia was quiet and underrated – early tourists tended to prefer the more obvious beachy charms of Kamari and Perissa. Like its setting, the hotel looked very different in the Eighties: its modest canaves – wine caves – were decorated humbly with local antiques and artefacts. Fast forward 30 years and the caves have had a minimalist modern makeover: the dazzling white that travellers have come to expect from Santorini remains, pepped up by sleek designer furniture and plenty of indulgent flourishes. Each of the Suites has its own liquid lure, from plunge pools to private infinity pools; there’s also a dreamy spa and an ambitious restaurant. One thing hasn’t changed at all, though: those killer views, which you can admire at every turn.