Carved into the sheer cliff on the Santorinian caldera, dozens of meters above the surface of the Aegean, Vora Villas offers sensory contrasts and luxury experience, standing out as one of the most exciting new hotels on the island of Santorini.
Our two last trips to Santorini were separated by a decade. In that time one thing has not changed: the picture-perfect style of the sun-bleached houses, blue-domed churches, narrow pathways, and panoramic views over the blue Mediterranean. What has changed is the number of holidaymakers visiting the island.
The hospitality industry offering has been evolving along with the growing demand and today it also includes hotels and apartments that move away from the cookie-cutter templates of white-and-blue cube houses.
Vora Villas is one such property. And it breaks the mold in more ways than one. For starters, it barely qualifies as a hotel, with only three fully-equipped apartments and hardly any other facilities. But it is the Vora’s style that stands out the most.
A play on contrasts
The designers from the Athens-based K-Studio took a hint of inspiration from the traditional cave dwellings of Santorini, but then enriched the concept with the nordic interior design sensibility, which is certainly a fresh take on what you should expect from a hotel in Greece.
The architects pushed the concept to the very edge (literally), perching this luxurious property on the top of the cliff, and drawing a sharp-edged pathway from the entrance and reception point at the top of the site, zigzagging down from one angled wall to another. The place looks bold but restrained, compact but dynamic, simple but sophisticated.
The vertical landscape of the caldera’s rim is an apt location for such a property. Each villa’s terrace feels sparse and open to elements, with the astonishing views to the sea and over the whole island as the main attraction.
By contrast, the interiors are relatively dark, with smooth curves and soft materials creating a feeling of comfort, privacy, and relaxation.
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We checked-in to the Villa Ro, a duplex suite with two balconies, and designed in a palette of muted tones and custom-made furniture alongside dark finishes, such as a black marble bathtub.
All villas have similar aesthetic themes and are fully-contained, with the kitchen and dining area. The suites are not small, but they feel compact and are cleverly positioned on a relatively tiny portion of land.
Limited space means there isn’t much of it left for facilities normally expected at a bigger hotel. There is no restaurant, and all meals are served in-room, which adds to the intimate and exclusive atmosphere.
The seclusion is a feature on its own. We were pleasantly surprised just how much is privacy the central consideration at Vora. This is an extremely rare thing in Santorini hotels, especially the ones situated on the caldera’s rim, where properties are stacked one on top of another, with public pathways often passing right in front of guest rooms.
But Vora took advantage of its isolated spot, using smart design to make sure each room is well-positioned both for views and solitude.
This doesn’t mean the hotel is remote. The center of the cute village of Imerovigli is only a short walk away, and Fira, the capital of Santorini, is also reachable by foot.
Given the sophisticated style of the place, its advantageous location, and its exclusive nature, Vora Villas stands as one of the most unique hotels on the island.