Cruising close to the clouds on the island’s loftiest locale, Santorini Sky is a series of villas set away from the sunset-chasing hordes of Oia. There are three sites, each of which is in the southern part of the croissant-shaped coastline, near the ruins of Akrotiri, the beach clubs of Perivolos and all the fun of Fira. They are: Pyrgos, the mountainside Elias and the even-more-stranded Diapla. At 2,000 feet above sea level, the views keep on coming. Each villa has its own pool, along with a kitchen or kitchenette – helpful since, with a setting this good, you’re probably not going to venture far.
Double rooms from £254.54 (€300), including tax at 13 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of 0.5% per room per night on check-out.
Rates sometimes include a basic breakfast, with a fancier version available from a restaurant in Pyrgos for €15 a person a day.
Santorini sunsets are famous for a reason and, though the crowds compete for the best viewpoint up in Oia, guests down here can sequester the Sky Dome instead: a hi-tech pod that can be booked in two-hour slots for the most elaborate sunset (and stargazing) spot on the island.
Unlike most hotels on the island, Santorini Sky stays open all year round.
At the hotel
Each villa has Apivita bath products, free WiFi, air-conditioning, beach towels, free bottled water, a smart TV, a Marshall speaker, USB ports and a Nespresso coffee machine.
Our favourite rooms
The Lodge at Diapla is the deserted destination for silence seekers. The former farm shelter is abandoned on the edge of the mountain – you have to walk 500 metres down a path to reach it. The agricultural elements stop there: it has a Jacuzzi, WiFi, smart TV, rooftop terrace and a day-bed out on its aptly named ‘Sky Bedroom’. For the opposite of isolation, go for the villas at Elias, where six of the nine suites (and some neighbours) await.
The suites each have their own private pool or plunge pool – and some have both.
A local therapist can be booked for massages, yoga sessions and yoga sessions with an added hike around some scenic part of Santorini.
Leave the binoculars at home: a handy pair is on your bedside table for Santorini spying from its highest point.
The hillside settings makes all three sites difficult for wheelchair access.
Extra beds can be added, and the sofas in some of the villas can be made into a bed for a third guest.
Solar lights are used in some areas of the hotel, including the sustainable Sky Dome, and it has a fruit and vegetable patch.
Each villa has an overload of panoramic perfection before which to enjoy a croissant, but for the best views around, try to secure a slot in the Sky Dome.
The unofficial shades of Santorini: chalky white and Aegean blue.
There’s no restaurant at the hotel, but the villas have kitchens or kitchenettes – and simple breakfasts of juices, yoghurts and pastries can be delivered to you each morning. Guests can also request a daily drop-off from Agaze in Pyrgos for a more intricate version.
The villas are set across three sunset-ready Santorini locations, in the southern part of the island. Two are a short stroll from the village of Pyrgos, six are a short drive up the mountain at Elias, and the last one is on its own in Diapla.
The island’s capital Fira and its airport are a 15-minute drive away.
A hire car will come in handy for driving down to Perivolos’s beach clubs and Pyrgos’s restaurants – though the hotel does run a transfer service if you’d prefer to be chauffeured (but cars can be limited at times on the island). Oia is a 30-minute drive north.
The port is three miles from Pyrgos. Ferries sail from here to other Cyclades islands, including Mykonos, Paros and Ios – and all the way up to Piraeus in Athens.
Worth getting out of bed for
At 2,000 feet above sea level, you can be sure of some strong hiking potential, including swift access to the summit that’s home to the Prophet Elias monastery and spectacular full-circle views of the island – which starts right by Santorini Sky Elias (and a five-minute drive from the villas in Pyrgos). Scale Skaros in Imerovigli – the rock formation juts out into the caldera below the village; or follow the edge of the volcanic crater all the way from Oia to Imerovigli (or in reverse). There’s no shortage of places to watch Santorini’s dazzling sunsets (including from right out on your terrace), but Akrotiri Lighthouse is a strong contender for first prize (with an added prehistoric settlement to explore beforehand). Red Beach and the island’s famous black-sand shores are all within a short drive. Wineries in reach include family-run Gavalas, view-enhanced Santo Wines in Pyrgos and nearby Venetsanos, also with added views.
In Pyrgos’s village square, Kantouni is an open-air taverna that’s popular for still being traditional. In Megalochori, the multi-tasking Alisachni (it’s a wine bar, restaurant and gallery) serves modern Greek meals from its village-facing rooftop patio. A minute’s walk from Vlychada Beach, Salty Bone is perfect for fresh fish and seafood suppers. Dine on casual, homely Greek cooking under the stars at Metaxi Mas in Exo Gonia, and in Fira, try Kaliya for updated classics, creative cocktails and more magical views.
A few minutes’ walk from the villas in Pyrgos, Capri has excellent cocktails and yet more views of supermodel Santorini. Nearby beach clubs include Theros in Vlychada, home to a volcanic moonscape of a coastline that you can stroll along, and stylish Seaside in Perivolos.
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 villa hotel in Greece and unpacked their sunset snaps and bottles of assyrtiko, a full account of their island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Santorini Sky…
Santorini Sky is on top of the world – literally, since it’s located on the island’s highest point, 2,000 feet above sea level, and figuratively, thanks to the sleek, self-contained suites you’ll never want to leave. You should, to visit the ruins of Akrotiri, neighbouring monasteries and the buzzy beach clubs of Perivolos. Two villas are in the village of Pyrgos, with six set on a mountainside and the final one, a 150-year-old newly stylish farm shelter, all on its own in Diapla. Since it’s a series of villas rather than a hotel, guests are greeted in the car park and shown to their suites, instead of a formal check-in. All eating and drinking requirements are taken care of by local restaurants, such as the acclaimed Agaze in Pyrgos – unless you want to make use of your kitchen and kitchenette (the veg patch has tomatoes and melons to get you started). The vistas delivered to your terrace stretch past Fira all the way to Oia, with Akrotiri to the south. For a prize-winning sunset perch, book the Sky Dome, which is also ideal for stargazing come nightfall. (Disclaimer: there are no banknotes flying around, but it almost lives up to its Crystal Maze counterpart.)