Bypass Oia’s caldera coach loads and bed down in Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa, which occupies a peaceful patch of the world’s most Instagrammed sunset-spot, overlooking the Aegean. The hotel is just a five-minute walk away from Oia’s buzz, although you wouldn’t know it when you’re stretched out by the peaceful pools, enjoying leisurely breakfasts – honey pancakes, perhaps – or ticking off ocean-inspired treatments in the quiet spa. A bleached-white colour scheme lets the sea and sky do the talking; shots of colour come courtesy of copper accents, grey-green doors and woven rugs with whorls of blue.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of local wine, sweets and one poolside cocktail each, served at sunset
Double rooms from £496.88 (€555), including tax at 13 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional room tax of €4.00 per room per night on check-out.
Rates usually include breakfast, WiFi and an arrival treat: fresh fruit or sweets, plus a bottle of local wine in your room.
Santo Maris Oia is growing – an additional two villas and 13 suites are set to be built in 2017.
Early November–mid April, though dates change each season.
At the hotel
Spa with heated indoor pool, steam room and hammam; gym; library; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: kitchenette, minibar, TV.
Our favourite rooms
For the best sea-and-sunset views in the house, opt for one of the Junior Deluxe Suite Sunset View rooms, which enjoy a prime perch and the panoramas to match. Given that every room is a suite – and every suite has a Jacuzzi – you’d be hard pressed to pick a dud room here. That said, if money's no object, Santorini sleeping quarters don’t get much more majestic than the Royal Suite.
Budding mermaids and mermen, rejoice: Santo Maris Oia's waterworld spans five pools, plus an indoor heated spa pool. The main swimming pool has a Jacuzzi – as does every suite.
Try a raki- or olive-oil-inspired treatment in the spa, whose methods, philosophy and products are rooted in the Aegean Islands. You can also have a treatment in your room or villa, if walking to the spa seems a tad onerous.
Come with swish swimwear and an appetite for olive oil. Don’t waste money on plug adaptors at the airport – the hotel will lend you one.
You'll be welcomed with a bottle of Santorini wine and locally made sweets.
Not-so-little Smiths aged 12 and above can come, but really this is a place for off-duty adults to relax. Extra beds can be added to some rooms, and range from €104 to €156 a person, a night, depending on the season.
Take your pick of the bunch – but be prepared for glass-lifting breezes on the edge. Our champagne ended up in our orzo at one point (we didn’t mind).
Off-duty islander: white linen; flat shoes; neutral hues. Add carats and cologne by night.
Santo Maris’ accomplished chef Manolis Mattheakis hails from Crete; his menu at Alios Ilios restaurant is based around the utterly delicious olive oil sourced by the hotel from a traditional organic farm in Crete. Expect star turns by other Aegean standouts: cherry tomatoes, capers and fava from Santorini, seabass from local waters, Aegean octopus and more. (We’re still dreaming about the shrimp and ouzo orzo pasta.) The hotel is rightly proud of its award-winning Greek breakfast, which includes fresh fruit, Greek coffee – or sage and mountain tea – dakos, fava beans, tomatoes and feta, cinnamon cookies, black-and-green olive paste, cherry and blueberry marmalades, thyme honey, pies, pancakes and other temptations. It’s certainly worth getting up for.
Daytime drinking has never been healthier – Santo Maris Oia’s daytime pool bar (open between 10am and 6pm) rustles up fruit-based cocktails, so you’re bound to get your five dailies. The Romantic Bar’s more potent, spirit-based cocktails could get you in trouble (in the best way).
Breakfast is served until 11am; dinner until 10.30pm.
Order items from the full menu while the restaurant is open; after that, there’s a small selection of snacks – cold cuts, cheese plates, salads – available around the clock.
Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa is in Santorini’s photogenic northwest, just a five-minute walk up a hill via a public path to the town centre, where gawp-worthy caldera views await.
Santorini Airport is 17km away (a half-hour drive). If you’re coming from the UK, EasyJet offers regular direct flights to Santorini from London Gatwick. The hotel can arrange transfers. Alternatively, fly into Athens and hop on a boat.
Don’t be weighed down by wheels – you’re on an island.
Santorini has two ports: the ferry port in Athinios and the port in Fira, which offers cruises to nearby islands and tourist spots, such as the volcano.
Worth getting out of bed for
Follow the public path – incorporated cleverly into the hotel’s grounds – that leads to Oia central, a five-minute walk away. Ask the hotel to organise a catamaran trip for you (pick from private or public excursions). You can also hire a helicopter and fly around the Aegean. Go on a Santorini wine tour – pick from Sigalas Domaine, Estate Argyros and Santo Wines, a co-operative of winemakers. If you’re feeling obliging and you’re here in August, you can even help out with the wine harvest. The hotel is a short drive – or energetic walk – from some beautiful beaches: try Baxedes, Koloumbos, Ammoudi and Armeni.
For the freshest fish – served in a characterful, waveside setting – head to Ammoudi taverna at Amoudi Port – Santo Maris is such a fan, it sometimes sources its own fish from them. If you’re after traditional Cycladic dishes and flavours, have a meal at Metaximas, a Cretan taverna in Pyrgos village. Try dakos (rusks) with tomatoes, fried tomato balls and other classic Aegean crowd-pleasers. For something a little more swanky, visitOvacrestaurant at the Cavo Tagoo hotel in Imerovigli (+30 2286 028900).
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 peaceful hotel in Oia and unpacked their olive oil and tanning oil, a full account of their Greek break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa in Santorini…
Oia is possibly as busy as sedate Santorini gets, thanks to the coach loads of tourists lured in by the town’s incredible sunsets. Stay up on the caldera, and you’ll be sharing those sunsets with camera-toting tourists. Bed down in Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa instead, and you’ll swap hilltop panoramas in busy bars for front-row seats overlooking the Aegean – from your own private verandah and Jacuzzi, perhaps. You’ll also have four al fresco swimming pools to splash around in, a tranquil spa, an excellent sea-spying restaurant and serene suites, decorated with sheepskin rugs, white-and-honey hues, copper accents, wood and wicker. It’s the little things that sweeten life here: local cakes and wine left in your room as a welcome gift, a book about Greece for you to read when you like, staff who bring you iced water without prompting when you’re catching rays... Need a final nudge? If you can find tastier olive oil than the one we tasted here – proudly sourced from an organic olive oil farm in Crete – we’ll eat our fisherman’s hat.
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