Don’t spend $4,000/night for rooms offered in Oia.
Picture this. Your day started at 7:00 am, it’s now nearly four and you are only just arriving in Santorini. The air is thick and the skin of the person standing next to you is sticking to yours. The cab stand is crowded, only three cars to shuttle up to a hundred, tired, tourists. After throwing a few elbows, your hoist your bag and sweaty self into what to you seems like a chariot and zoom off into the abyss. Delirious and lost your driver drops you off on the side of the road, informing you that this is your hotel. Dazed, you blindly begin hiking upstairs, it is only when you manage to pull your gaze up from you swollen feet that you realize what surrounds you. Some sort of stairway to heaven, fresh herbs and cacti speckle the rocky ground and clean white wash buildings see to grown out of the side of the mountain. You are greeted by a young man beaming from ear to ear, George, and like music to your ears he exclaims, “Welcome to Santorini Heights, we’re so happy to see you!”
Santorini Heights an eco-chic luxury retreat in Pyrgos, Santorini. The small hotel of only five unique villas, can very literally be defined as a passion project of the owner Stefanos. A driven man and entrepreneurial success pursues a main career of furniture development in Poland. However, keenly spotting the potential of the island, he decided to open up the small hotel as a creative outlet. He and his wife now spend nine months out of the year in Santorini to keep in touch with the pulse of the hotel, working closely with staff to continuously evolve the business alongside the ever-changing economy of Santorini.
The hotel has found a particularly unique niche, setting itself apart from the near 2,500 accommodations on the island. Unlike the more touristic towns of Imerovigli, Fira, and Oia, Santorini Heights is nestled on the highest hillside of the island, near the town of Pyrgos. The five villas sit at about 480 meters up on the mountain, each one specifically designed to complement the natural landscape that surrounds it. The inspiration for the establishment came a few years ago, when Stefanos heard of a plot of land for sale in the Natura area of Santorini. Purchasing the property just in the nick of time, Santorini Heights is the last and only hotel to be located within this natural preserve, making it a truly exquisite Greek retreat for its customers.
Given the more isolated location of the hotel, this accommodation is not ideal for a one night stay. However, upon arriving at the villa’s, you will not find this to be a bad thing. Equipped with a kitchen, and individual pool or hot tub, there is little reason to ever leave the property during your stay. You will also find that Katarina, the lovely house chef, gently knocking at your door every morning to present a custom breakfast of local ingredients made just to your liking. During our stay, we over indulged in some of Katarina’s famous banana brandy cake, pungent black coffee, Greek yogurt, fresh stone fruits, local honey, and fresh omelets stuffed with cucumber, tomato, and feta. This, was still only a small portion of the options that were available. With exactly five staff members working to run the five villas available on the property, this is just the kind of attentive service you can expect to receive.
The surrounding environment is a key part of the hotel’s mission and vision. Thoughtfully designed, the simple architectural design and strategic angles used throughout the property, create the illusion that only your villa sits atop the panoramic view. Each evening you’ll surely find yourself lounging in a bean bag chair on your patio, as the sunsets to your right, moon rises on your left, and ocean crashes onto the shores far below. If the villas weren’t stunning enough by themselves, toss in a glass of the renown Santorini white wine, Acedico, and a plate of farm fresh local cuisine from the bistro of Selene. Known for their high-end dining, a few years back the owners decided to open up a more traditional Greek bistro. The bistro prides itself on hundred-year-old Greek recipes delicately laced with a modern edge. Realizing the complimentary vision of this restaurant to his boutique, eco-friendly hotel, Stefanos keenly formed a partnership, with which guests can have dinner delivered to their suites from the bistro at a very budget friendly price.
All in all, Santorini Heights is the Greek Oasis pictured in dreams. This hotel as a whole has bought into the notion that the client truly does come first – and this mutual agreement shines through in every aspect of their service. I would highly recommend this destination to anyone making the journey to Santorini, especially over any of the $4,000 a night rooms offered in Oia. So do yourself a favor, book a suite at Santorini Heights, and clap at one of the infamous sunsets from the comfort of your own private balcony.
Bella spent 12 days in the Greek Islands, including Santorini.