Plenty of hotel rooms in Santorini are carved from the cliff face, but not all of them have Missoni throws on the bed. This may look like just another Santorini hotel, but from the moment you’re handed your welcome glass of juice, you’re aware that it’s far more special than that.
Chromata” means “colors” in Greek, which makes the Chromata Hotel, at first glance, baffling. Everything here—at this cliff-side hamster run of 22 little cave houses embedded into the rock—is white. The exteriors—other than the white-edged, dove gray steps—are white. Inside, the rooms sport white walls, mottled white tile floors, white furnishings, white fixtures and fittings. The only injections of color come from the swish Missoni throw slung over each bed, and the flash of blue from the small infinity pool, hanging over the cliff edge 1,150 feet above the Aegean Sea.
In fact, the hotel used to be colorful before a 2009 renovation whitewashed it to blend in with the zen cool of its sister property, Katikies, 20 minutes away in Oia. It was, undoubtedly, an inspired decision—not only does the hotel now have that quintessential Greek island feel, but the neutral background puts the focus firmly on the views.
And what views they are. From here—wedged on the cliff edge, the island capital Fira on one side, vertical brown cliffs on the other—they take in the entire croissant-shaped caldera, from the ancient Minoan settlement of Akrotiri in the south, to sparkling Oia in the north, and the handful of volcano-spawned islands in the middle of the caldera itself.
There are just 22 rooms here, although the horizontal layout, sprawling along and down the cliff, makes it feel like a sleepy little village. Each room has its own terrace, on which breakfast is served each morning (the Greek breakfast, with spinach pies and yogurt and honey, is formidable). Despite the tiled floors and bleached surroundings, rooms are exceptionally cozy—perhaps it’s the curved ceilings and feeling of being in the womb of the rockface. Bathrooms—stocked with eco-conscious dispensers of Greek Apivita toiletries—are vast, and continue the cave theme with alcoves, arches and walk-in showers modeled to look like they’ve been sculpted from huge boulders. Many rooms also have Jacuzzis—some indoors, some outdoor.
The poolside Lounge Restaurant is good for lunch, but the real draw here is the Chromata Gourmet Restaurant. Reservations are essential, as there are only four tables, but it’s well worth the wait—I could almost taste the berry “soup” with its floating islands a month after my stay.
Service is exceptional—discreet white-clad staff are at your beck and call at the touch of a button, and never drop their Santorini-sunny smiles (you can even hear them grinning over the phone). It’s not confined to the property, either—at check in, I was presented with a cell-phone pre-programmed with the number of the hotel, so I could call from wherever I found myself on the island and ask for directions, suggestions or to book a table for dinner later. There’s also a twice daily maid service and a dedicated travel desk. Sleek rooms and top level service—that’s all the color I need in a hotel.
Text courtesy of Jetsetter.com, by Julia Buckley