Step away from the rim of the caldera, where the tiny clifftop hotels fight for every square inch, and Santorini’s Oia will surprise you with a property offering a rare sense of space. It’s Santo Maris: a boho-chic, adults-only, all-suite hotel with five large swimming pools just steps away from the island’s prettiest town.
As we arrived at this hotel, the first impressions were that of a self-contained, labyrinth-like village, with clusters of white-bleached houses. This simple architectural design brings to mind the local cave dwelling style, but Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa does not have the space limitations of the cliff-side properties on the caldera.
By comparison, the hotel grounds are expansive, with facilities to match. There’s a fully-fledged a gym on-site and the spa has a good-sized heated indoor pool. Four other outdoor pools make Santo Maris Oia a very generously equipped indeed.
Dramatic architecture, soft interiors
The sturdy buildings combine stone and whitewashed concrete, surrounded by black walls. It’s a very attractive combination, resulting in a dramatic look worthy of Santorini.
Inside the suites, the polished floors give the interiors a minimalist feel, while the ecru tones, organic accents, such as woven baskets and wall artwork, soften the rooms and add a touch of boho chic. To us, this design well reflected the laid-back, peaceful atmosphere of Santo Maris Oia.
We checked in to one of the very spacious Exclusive Sunset Suites, which was fantastic both in terms of privacy and the expansive views. It had a large sea-facing terrace, with and a heated jacuzzi and a romantic swing.
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Things to do
This hotel is well set up to stay in and simply relax, but equally well set up as a basecamp from which to explore the famous Oia. If you choose to stay put, the main swimming pool area has great waiter service, and the spa team drops by and gives free mini-massages.
Otherwise, Santorini’s prettiest town is very close by, and we’d often go there for a walk early morning before the cruise ship crowds arrive, and with the sun still young in the sky. For us, Oia was the prettiest with its pathways deserted and fresh from the morning mist.
We would come back to Santo Maris Oia for breakfast, which, by the way, is a wholesome affair. Served on a terrace next to the main pool, with the backdrop of sea views, it was a great buffet selection, with various cold cuts, salads, pastries, and even champagne.
Beyond that, there was the quality time by the pool, the spa treatments, and attractions of Santorini further inland — or on the sea. You may consider a sailing, touring the island’s various museums (including the archeological sites), or even just visiting the best restaurants (the local Vinsanto wine is always worth trying too). The concierge at the hotel will be very good at organizing everything you may wish for.