Aside from spare splashes of colour, luxury resort Chromata’s minimalist style invites the bright blues of Santorini’s sky and sea to diffuse across its walls like watercolour paint on a blank canvas. However, as delightfully mod and monochrome cave-style rooms are, top billing goes to the hotel’s magnificent setting at the highest point of the caldera. The infinity pool hovering above the Aegean is glorious, staff fulfil requests from the ordinary to outlandish, and the food is superb; but really, the view’s the star here.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of champagne on arrival. GoldSmiths get an additional room upgrade, early check-in and late check-out (all subject to availability)
Twenty-six, including 21 suites and the Cave House Villa.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £656.27 (€739), including tax at 13 per cent.
Rates usually include a generous buffet breakfast.
Fancy your very own Jeeves? Butler service is available on request.
Annually from 5 November to 31 March.
At the hotel
Spa, concierge, laundry, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, minibar, Nespresso coffee machine, free bottled water and Korres bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The glossy Honeymoon Suites live up to their romantic title. An expansive terrace with blue views, a secluded Jacuzzi room from which you can snoop on the caldera and crisp white interiors conspire in romantic fashion. The Chromata Suite is equally couples-courting, but the addition of a unique upcycled bath tub appeals to our quirky side. If these two are a little above budget, the Superior Suites are cosy cave dwellings that also have a playfully private Jacuzzi room.
The unheated infinity pool is the centre of attention in the bar area – a ring of seats surrounds one end of it. It’s larger than most Santorini pools, set by the day-bed and cushion-dotted lounging areas stopping at the caldera’s edge. There are parasols to seek shade under if the sun gets too hot, and you’re just a few steps away from your next cocktail.
The hotel can whisk you by car to A Spa (a 10-minute drive away in Oia), where you’ll abscond to one of three gardenia-, vanilla- and lily-perfumed suites, each with twin massage beds, a steam room and rain shower. Iris has a heated pool; Thalia has a footbath; and rooftop suite Kalliste has sea views. Caribbean Ligne St Barth products are used, and treatments range from quick fixes (30-minute massages) to bespoke rituals carried out over two days. Mani-pedis, facials, body wraps and scrubs complete pampering options. Book in advance to work out in the two-person Techno Gym Suite (10am–6pm) with spinning bikes, a kinesis machine and treadmill.
Pack swish swimwear and sunnies; something classically black or white from Orlebar Brown will keep you sweet by the swimming pool.
All guests are given a cell phone, so they can summon a member of staff when they’re off site. Butler service is available on request, charged at €100 per hour.
Over-14s only, but three (or more) is a crowd when it comes to caldera gazing.
Ditch fellow diners and book the small private cave for two. Soft lighting and caldera views will keep you moon-eyed from apéritif to digestif.
Something as swishy as the sea and pale as your room, flats will help you negotiate the resort’s steps.
Many of the tastefully dressed tables at Chroma restaurant have caldera views. Dine alfresco for a table overlooking pink and purple sunsets, or by candlelight under a smattering of stars. The menu gets rewritten each season, but the focus is always on timely ingredients and imaginatively updated Greek dishes – the souvlaki is flavourful, the fish just-caught, and the lemon meringue comes deconstructed and decorated with flowers. The breakfast buffet is laid out here too – an array of local treats with some gluten-free options. If you want a slightly different take on the local seafood, head to the intimate sushi diner – a sauve space with a sit-up counter and sea-to-chopsticks morsels.
The cocktail bar, also in brilliant white, wraps around the pool. Guests sprawl over huge grey pillows or pristine day-beds while nursing a pick from the epic menu. The wine list is also worth browsing and canapés will keep you sated in between sips. Tell the barmen which spirits float your boat and they’ll customise your pick of poison accordingly.
The hotel serves food from 8am–10.30pm; breakfast stops at 11am.
Dishes from the restaurant menu can be whisked to your door 24 hours a day.
Walk down a narrow street from Imerovigli’s main square and there’s Chromata lounging over the Cliffside, at the highest point of the caldera rim. It’s snuggled up to Smith stay Iconic Santorini, and capital Thira is a five-minute drive away.
Santorini Airport is 25 minutes by car. International flights usually connect via Athens, though some airlines also run a direct service to the UK, particularly in high season from June to September. Fly direct to the island from London Gatwick from June to November or connect from Athens in 45 minutes. The hotel can arrange transfers in a shared shuttle (€15 a person, each way) or private car (€100 for up to four guests, each way).
When leaving the airport, take a right at the crossroads in Messaria village. Follow the road towards Thira and pass through the town; Imerovigli is around two kilometres drive from there. Free valet parking is available on site.
Athinios Port in Thira is a 10-minute drive away, Aegean Speed Lines, Lane Lines, Anek Lines and Zante Ferries run frequent services from the islands (Mykonos, Kos, Crete, Folengandros, Heraklion, Ios, Naxos, Paros and Rhodes) and mainland Greece (Piraeus and Rafina).
Worth getting out of bed for
Pretty Imerovigli village, a few steps from the hotel, is Santorini’s best side. It’s jumble of white cubed buildings look like a sugar-bowl spilled down the cliff to the caldera and the Aegean beyond. Leave your comfy poolside spot to hike out to Skaros Rock’s ruins, or hop on a sailboat (the hotel can help with hiring one) for jaunts out to petite islands Nea Kameni and Thirassia. Wander the alleyways of capital Thira, a five-minute drive (or 20-minute walk) away, for jewellery, handicrafts and artwork. The Museum of Prehistoric Thira (+30 228 6022 217) is small but intriguing, with decorous pots, gold statuettes and well-preserved paintings from the Neolithic and Cycladic periods. North of the hotel (a 20-minute drive) lies Oia village, for wine tasting and gallery scouring; its Naval Maritime Museum (+30 228 6071 156) has some saucy figureheads and handsome galleon models. To the south is Akrotiri, a Minoan Bronze Age settlement in a remarkably good state of repair. The island’s volcanic sands are usually too hot to sunbathe on, but Kamari Beach on the east coast has softer sands, sun-beds and parasols for a beach fix.
Arrive at hip Imerovigli find La Maison (+30 228 6025 649) well before sunset, so you can watch it après dinner. Otherwise towers of grilled eggplant and tomato, ultra-crisp pork belly with a smudge of apple sauce, mackerel with lime foam and sculptural desserts will distract you. A lively soundtrack and cache of pashminas for evening chills are welcome accompaniments. Avocado(+30 228 6036 183) is a little more traditional. Its hearty Grecian fare is served under a white pavilion; expect smoked pork, well-stuffed gyros and local cheese plates with honey and sesame. Behind a white picket fence, a four-minute stroll from the hotel, you’ll find a pretty flower garden, meaty delights and super-fresh seafood at Anogi(+30 2286 021285). It’s unassuming and laid back to a tee, and the balsamic squid is a must-try.
Thira hotspot V Lounge Café and Cocktail Bar (+30 228 6021 760) is nearly – nearly – as sleek and stylish as your hotel. Set high above the Aegean, white sofas and yellow parasols dot the terrace, and international and Grecian light dishes are served, and the cocktail list is filled with ‘almost one of your five a day’ drinks, such as Smoky Apple or a Kiwi Cobbler.
Kitted out like a tropical island – thatched huts, palm trees et al – Theros Wave Bar (+30 697 7222 666), by Eros Beach, can be as party hard or put your feet up as you like. Swing chairs, cosy couples’ nooks and sizeable sunloungers supply the lounging space. The view is incredible, with the moon reflected in the sea, set to live reggae bands or acoustic singers. Classic cocktails are shaken up behind the bar.
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 cliffside hotel in Santorini with a renewed love for minimalism and unpacked their bottle of Vin Santo, a full account of their luxury island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a postcard from Chromata in Santorini…
Fans of merlot may balk at the virgin whiteness of Chromata’s interiors, but never fear – if spillage should occur, a member of staff will graciously mop it up (even Oli Beale would be would be welcome here after his former incident). But, who’d sit in their room when there are such sights beyond your door? The expanse of blue over Santorini’s dormant volcano is given full attention from this on-high vantage point. It’s the first thing you see as you’re checked in – a precognitive bellhop absconds with your bags (presumably so the extra weight doesn’t drag you over the edge as you lean in to get a better view), and you’re settled with a drink to gaze lovingly before being whisked to your room. The island’s signature style is modernised with upcycled statement pieces, aesthetically laid hunks of natural rock and clean lines, a welcome complement to its timeless elements.