If Noūs Santorini was a moodboard, it would lean heavily towards coral-toned mosaics, unusual geometric architecture, whimsical ocean waves and rattan (lots of rattan). The minds behind it – Noūs being ancient Greek for 'mind' – have cooked up striking bold lines for voguish rooms and nest-like suites that cut through the xeric landscape – and the hotel itself verges on elemental: its crisp corners and vivid flourishes appear raw, yet finished. There’s all the bells and whistles, but they’re subtle and low-key. Here, austere angles meet the Aegean sea, and Pinterest is going to go wild for it.
121, including 52 suites. There are private heated pools in 62 of the rooms.
11am; check in is 3pm.
Double rooms from £302.05 (€356), including tax at 13 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of €4.00 per room per night on check-out.
Rates include an all-out American-style breakfast – choose from eggs any way, pancakes, pastries and fruits.
An all-star team of Divercity Architects, MplusM, Eleftheria Deco and Doxiadis+ drew inspiration from the island’s topography and blended crisp textures with a colour palette inspired by the soft hues of Santorini’s Akrotiri murals.
Noūs is closed for winter from December through to May every year.
At the hotel
Two restaurants, two bars, vitamin health bar, spa with five treatment rooms, two pools, tennis courts, alfresco yoga area, fitness room, gardens and on-site parking. In rooms: WiFi, Smart TV, Nespresso machine, tea-making facilities, 24-hour room service, Korres bath products
Our favourite rooms
We’re suckers for a private pool, so we’d opt for either a Pool Bungalow (with ample outdoor space and 18 square metres to splash about in) or the enticing Pool Suites, for all the same reasons. The suites also come with outdoor rain showers, alfresco dining areas and enough room for four guests.
There’s a outdoor pool – plus a pool bar and plenty of sunbeds – and a soul-soothing indoor pool.
The serene spa was built around the Greek principle of wellbeing – ‘Ef Zin’ – an approach that favours holistic methods of self-care. So while there’s a first-rate spa with sauna, steam bath, cold tank and treatment rooms, there are also plenty of other wellbeing spaces: naturalist gardens for seclusion and relaxing, a fitness room with personal trainer, and an alfresco yoga area. Treatments use Korres products and Santorini-grown ingredients including local grapes (they’re not just for drinking, you know).
Noūs is well designed for the modern nomad or remote worker, so take a leaf out of the slow-travel guidebook and pack your laptop – you’ll be pleased to know the WiFi stretches to your villa’s sun-soaked sunbeds.
Any areas with steps also have an elevator and all four garden rooms have wheelchair access.
Children are welcome at Noūs, but note that there’s no kids club or babysitting available, and the spa is adults only. Extra beds can be added to the junior suites, bungalows, pool suites and deluxe pool suites.
The hotel uses renewable energy and solar power, recycles waste water, favours sustainable produce, and chooses organic wines – all contributing to their goal of having as little negative impact on the environment as possible.
Sure, there’s no need for added warmth given the climate, but there’s little more romantic than a glass of wine around a roaring fire pit on the Signature bar terrace.
Your loveliest linens and floatiest florals to show off your Santorini tan.
The informal Noūs restaurant is an all-day rattan-adorned eatery at pool level serving plates of organic produce from early morning until late at night. Head to the Signature restaurant for Mediterranean fine-dining on a lantern-lit, vine-covered outdoor terrace. Fresh produce is sourced from Santorini by the organic-first chefs to concoct flavourful Greek dishes – think tangy tzatziki, creamy feta and grilled seafood.
The pool bar and Signature bar are your go-tos for cocktails and organic, Santorini-grown wines, but we have a sense that you’ll love the vitamin bar too – it’s stocked with just-blended juices, health-inducing smoothies and barista-brewed coffee.
Breakfast is served 7.30–11am; dinner is served from 7pm in both restaurants.
Noūs Santorini is carved into the clifftop alongside the clustered village of Mesariá, right on the edge of the islands’ caldera.
Santorini Airport (JTR) is a short five-minute drive from the hotel, and Noūs operates a transfer service from arrivals and back to departures.
There’s a private car park on site.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel can organise trekking, cycling and tennis – but you needn’t even leave the grounds to get active: there are plenty of gardens to stroll, a yoga deck to flow on, and a spa with a sauna, steam bath and a cold tank (if that’s your thing). Speaking of relaxation: Santorini’s beaches are known for their dark and dramatic volcanic sand. Go to Kamari for upscale glamour, Perissa for its party scene, and south-easterly Perivolas for more low-key bathing. Fira and Oia are the main villages – white-washed Cycladic clusters clinging to cliff tops – and their altitude means they’re great sunset spots, if you can tolerate the crowds. The village of Pyrgos is filled with 12th-century alleys, pretty churches, galleries and some of the best restaurants on the island. Wine has been made in Santorini for thousands of years – see how with a trip to Venetsanos or Vassaltis. Film buffs will love a trip to the outdoor cinema in Kamari. That being said, there’s something especially Santorini about not leaving your villa (especially when it has a private pool); this is an island made for romance, after all.
Dine on casual, homely Greek cooking under the stars at Metaxi Mas in Exo Gonia – the pomegranate salad, grilled halloumi and roasted lamb shank are some of our must-orders. Try Kaliya in Fira for updated classics and creative cocktails. The menu features seasonal pastas and plenty of seafood. The views are as impressive as the menu at The Athenian House, where the terrace overlooks Skaros Rock, so be sure to be seated in time for sunset. It would be remiss to miss out on the moussaka and baklava here. For a bougainvillaea-framed lunch spot, try Mousiko Kouti, in a colourful, casual yard with retro furniture and traditional wooden tables in Megalochori. The beachside Delfinia (right on Red Rock Beach) serves superb seafood at the water’s edge – especially handy if you’ve been out exploring the ruins at Akrotiri. Fish fans will also do well at Dichtia, which translates as ‘the nets’ and serves up the daily catch right by where it came from.
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 Design Hotel in Mesariá, unpacked their local wines and showed off their subtropical tans, a full account of their Cycladic break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside No?s Santorini…
Exhibition-worthy walls are the norm at No?s in Santorini – in fact, art is a defining feature given the changing roster of contemporary Greek artists that grace the hotel corridors. The interiors of earthy palettes – boldened by bespoke mosaics – put the mirage-like views of sea and sky on centre stage. Rooms and villas mirror the volcanic island’s interiors through the use of raw materials, local willow shutters and staggered structures. Should you ever leave your room (we completely understand if you don’t), you’ll find plenty of indoor and outdoor living spaces dotted around the estate. There are alfresco fire pits, a naturalist garden and games area, plus two indoor-outdoor dining options and a vitamin bar for replenishing and recharging after a night out on the cobbles. Here, taking care of yourself is as much about sun-baked siestas as it is about spending time in the sauna, cold tank, yoga deck and subtropical gardens. But No?s knows that the Santorini wines are a draw for travellers too, so you’ll also be able to get well acquainted with the islands’ organic grapes thanks to local tours and tastings. An unexpected but brilliant duo: wellness and wine.