Plenty of you have asked for hotel recommendations in the beautiful Greek island of Santorini, to plan for romantic getaways and weddings and I am really happy to oblige! You may already know this island for its iconic cliffs, the (inactive) volcano and the instagram-worthy sunsets. It is indeed a bucket-list Greek island for many, popular with tourists as well as Greeks and one that will totally blow your mind when your plane starts descending and you take the breath-taking view from above.
What to expect
There are plenty of boutique hotels in Santorini, most are small and intimate, as there's just not enough space to build 'resort' type hotels on the cliffs. Those hotels that cater for the best views come at a (higher) price, and indeed hotel prices on this island are much higher than most Greek islands, but ONLY where you go for the top views (and I'll tell you how to get the best out of Santorini without spending top £$ in a bit).
So small and intimate. If that is not your thing, don't despair, you can still stay in a nearby island and island-hop to Santorini for the day. But if your heart (and wallet) is set on having access to the best views, expect your hotel to offer a wholesome experience, complimented by unique design (cave-like rooms) and indoor/outdoor pools.
About the island of Santorini
The most instagrammable island in Greece. Fact (with 5.4 million photos on Instagram, and rising every summer!). It is located in the Aegean Sea, in a group of islands called the Cyclades. It was devastated by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC, forever shaping its rugged landscape. The now inactive volcano (the Caldera) sits opposite the island, and you can even hike on it (you definitely should, it's a great half day excursion!).
The whitewashed, cubiform houses of its 2 principal towns, Fira and Oia, cling to cliffs above an underwater caldera (crater). They overlook the sea, small islands to the west and beaches made up of black, red and white lava pebbles.
Sure enough, everywhere you turn, someone is snapping away or vlogging their way through the cobblestone paths of the towns. But not all of Santorini is full of smiling bloggers taking snaps of everything they do, there's still plenty more to the island than meets the eye.
No access to a beach if you want views
There are four towns to stay in if you want to have views of the volcano: Fira, Imerovigli, Firastefani and Oia. These are perched on the cliffs far above sea level and have no access to a beach. But fear not, as most hotels have small pools to cool you down!
These towns are so immaculately kept up (white washing at a completely different level!), clean and filled with flowers, plants and fantastic food and wine that you really feel this is the dreamiest place on Earth. This part is what makes Santorini so unique, and thinking of it, the rest of the island is not spectacular in comparison to other Greek islands. So make an effort to book somewhere that overlooks the crater (it will not come cheap!).
Photo by Andreas NextVoyagePL
Photo by Andre Benz
Photo: Tom Grimbert (@tomgrimbert)
Photo by Massimiliano Donghi
5 top hotels to stay in Santorini
Choosing where to stay strongly depends on how much you are willing to pay for that view and the type of service that you want for your money. I would say that most boutique hotels here are design-led, however even if you book somewhere less expensive, you should still be able to get that cave experience because that type of build is very specific to the island and hoteliers know that tourists are looking for experiences and not just for places to sleep.
All the hotels recommended below (I have provided affiliate links for booking directly) have good reviews online and on Tripadvisor, they have a strong design focus, they offer great services, their location is top and they can help you organise your dream wedding (provided you let them know well in advance!).
Santo Maris Oia - Luxury Suites and Spa
Style: Bohemian rhapsody. The Santo Maris Oia, Luxury Suites & Spa hotel 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.
There are 55 suites, plus two two-bedroom villas. 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. Expect to be welcomed with a bottle of Santorini wine and locally made sweets.
Grace Santorini hotel is a gleaming white minimalist marvel, carved out of a clifftop on Greece’s sunset paradise. Tottering up the cliff face, the hotel is steeply spread over different levels, with views of Skaros Rock's good side and a chalky restaurant taking up its own floor. The party scene extends to the lengthy infinity pool’s terrace by night, when all that glitters comes to life. Book here for Grace Santorini (5 star).
For double the plunge-pool fun, pick a Grace Suite with plunge pool – you get one indoors, with a partition so it can be ocean-facing or totally private, and an extra one out on the terrace. VIP Suites are similarly endowed, only their plunge pools are bigger, and they’ve got steam rooms and some flashy light installations, too. All the rooms are chalky white, with bright cushions and rugs to break up the serenity.
Remember: The hotel's enviable clifftop setting means that access is via a not insignificant number of steps – it's not ideal for travellers with restricted mobility. Over-14s are welcome at the hotel.
Scattered over the rocky heights of the southernmost tip of Oia, the cloistered quarters of Mystique, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Santorini, will not only appeal to the ‘no cameras’ contingent but also to those wishing to step out in style. The mood is one of laid-back luxury; the only thing to distract you from the tranquility of the sea is the mind-blowing vista of the caldera cliffs.
Book your stay at Mystique now.
All Mystique’s suites are spacious and airy with camera-pleasing private terraces overlooking the sea.
Tip: Room 16’s generous terrace provides the most impressive view, while snug and slinky Room 7’s harmonious layout is a visual delight. If you’ve forgotten to freeze your gym membership, plump for a spa-inspired Spiritual Suite. These deluxe pamper-zones are kitted out with fitness equipment (Jacuzzi, exercise machines and spa bed), while the two villas offer a sense of seclusion that is perfect for honeymooners and seasoned romantics alike (source MrandMrsSmith).
Andronis Concept Wellness Resort
Andronis Concept is around five minutes' walk from Imerovigli, and between the capital Fira (just over one mile away) and Oia (six miles) – bordering on the Fira-Oia hiking path along the rim of the Santorini caldera. Service is faultless and down-to-earth.
The hotel is perched on top of a slope, with views towards both sides of the island; from its Finesse suites you can watch the sunrise in your living room veranda and the sunset on your bedroom balcony. Book here for: Andronis Concept-Wellness Resort.
Kapari Natural Resort
Kapari Natural Resort in Santorini’s Imerovigli village is a smooth wedding cake of a hotel, with all the caldera cool you’d expect: cavernous rooms, neutral hues and a whole lot of white and blue. The curvaceous cave rooms allure with the softest beds, oversized showers, and the odd private terrace, some with a Jacuzzi. The stay can also tick off moreish Mediterranean food and a chilled-out pool – but the at-your-beck-and-call staff are perhaps Kapari's best asset.
Tips: Room 102 has a bed in the loft, reached by climbing a set of whitewashed steps, and its luscious light, which streams in through duck-egg-blue shutters. Keen cooks will enjoy the cute concrete kitchen and big dining table in Room 104. Rooms 203 and 204 are right by the pool, so may not be the quietest.
There’s no spa, but a therapist can be summoned for in-room massages and treatments. Families and groups can book three, four or five rooms at a time to make a private dwelling with its own courtyard.