Hotel experience is not all about the views, but it helps, and it makes a real difference, especially in Santorini. The views over the collapsed volcanic Caldera are certainly one of the most spectacular sea views on Earth.
Santorini’s magnificent volcanic cliffs, sprinkled with white towns and villages, are the single biggest reason for why this destination is such a tourist magnet. Thus almost all the best luxury Santorini hotels are perched on the cliffs on the west side of the island: in Fira, Oia, Firostefani, or Imerovigli. So if you want to experience breathtaking views and possibly the best sunsets in the world, choosing one of the cliff-edge hotels to stay in makes perfect sense, even if it means breaking the bank.
But when compiling this list, we did not only think of which luxury Santorini hotels do the best job at taking advantage of the location but also which offer the quintessential experience of this beautiful island. For us, the wow factor comes from the impeccable service, great design, and comforts that make their guests want to spend most of the day lounging on their private decks.
1Grace Hotel Santorini
We kick off with the hotel we had the pleasure of staying at (don’t miss our full review!). With mesmerizing views and incredible sunsets (see how we captured it on Instagram), the Grace Hotel Santorini frequents the “best hotels of the world” lists like no other property. But only staying here, we realized the location is only part of the story. The award-winning design of the hotel blends contemporary design with the rustic feel of the Cyclades, and relaxed vibe of vacations with a five-star service — resulting in one of the most sophisticated luxury escapes on the island.
We love it for: Beautiful views and private swimming pools, and above all, the picture-perfect interpretation of the Cycladic vernacular style.
Read our review: Grace Hotel Santorini.
Photo (including the leading shot at the top of this article) © Auberge Resorts
2Cavo Tagoo Santorini
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A boutique getaway
Cavo Tagoo has all the elements of a trendy stay, with days filled with fun and excitement — rounded off by the never-disappointing scarlet sunsets. It’s a fun, young place with a happening vibe and is an excellent choice for a romantic weekend or a honeymoon.
We love it for: The hotel rooms on Santorini tend to be on the small side — but at Cavo, this is not the case. We stayed at one of their sunset suites with pool, where the living space was plentiful, and the setting of the large pool and terrace decorated with white stones was the perfect frame to the stunning view (see our photos on Instagram).
Read our review: Cavo Tagoo Santorini. Photo © CAVOTAGOO
Katikies Santorini was the first luxury hotel on Santorini that fully embodied the island’s natural geology as an integral part of the design. And even today, it is hailed as the benchmark of the trend, with the Cycladic aesthetics tuned to perfection, synonymous with the Santorini style.
We love it for: The hotel is located in Oia, one of the prettiest villages on the island. It has fabulous views of Santorini’s caldera—especially from around its three stunning infinity pools.
Read our review: Katikies, Santorini. Photo © Katikies
4Canaves Oia Suites
Canaves is a collection of five hotels located mostly around Oia, and the best among them is Canaves Oia Suites. It benefits from the most attractive location on the slope of the caldera cliff. This boutique property features twenty-four suites, two swimming pools, and an elevator ensuring easy access to levels of the hotel — something very useful in a Caldera hotel.
We love it for: Canaves Oia Suites benefits from a great location, enjoying views not only of the caldera but also the picturesque Oia. Photo © Canaves Oia Hotel
5Mystique, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Santorini
Mystique’s designers created a successful fusion of comfortable luxury and traditional Cycladic style, in which all architectural elements are perfectly aligned with the landscape and spirit of the island. Its eighteen cozy suites and villas provide guests with spectacular views of Santorinian caldera.
We love it for: Mystique is set away from the most touristy tracks in Oia and is one of the most private and secluded places in town.
Read our review: Mystique Santorini. Photo © Mystique Hotel
6Vora Villas Santorini
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Vora is a property starkly different from the cookie-cutter hotels, all based on the white-and-blue cube houses template. Its interiors are still carved out from the volcanic rock and perched upon the cliff, but it breaks the mold in many ways. 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. The interiors are relatively dark, with smooth curves and soft materials creating a feeling of comfort, privacy, and relaxation.
We love it for: Other than the astonishing views (see how we captured it on Instagram), the seclusion is the feature here. At all three suites, privacy is paramount. We stayed at the Villa Ro, a duplex suite with two balconies — check this set of Instagram pics we took on the terrace and inside.
Read our review: Vora Villas Santorini. Photo © Vora Villas
7Dreams Luxury Suites
“Each apartment is infused with its own personality. Orfeas is dominated by yellow accent color, the Nefeli by blue, and Armonia’s charming wooden shutters are green.”
— From our review of Dreams.
Located literally above the previous hotel on our list — and perched one of the highest spots anywhere on the rim of the caldera — Dreams is a more established, older hotel. It is as cozy as boutique hotels get, with no restaurant, lobby, bar, or a big swimming pool, and comprising a handful of cute apartments (we recommend the two-level Armonia suite, where we stayed). Secluded and private, and located away from noise and crowds yet close enough to the restaurants of Imerovigli, Dreams is an ideal place for a romantic getaway.
We love it for: There aren’t many stairs in this hotel, which is extremely rare in a cliff-side hotel on Santorini.
Read our review: Dreams Luxury Suites. Photo © Dreams Luxury Suites
Oia is the most popular location on the island, but the views from the cliffs around Fira are just as awe-inspiring. Located a few minutes from the capital of Santorini, Erosantorini uses its caldera-edge location to maximum advantage. Secluded on a two-acre private plot, the hotel has enough space for a three-tiered infinity pool and adjacent terrace, dotted with beanbags and daybeds.
We love it for: Extra special facilities and attractions that include al fresco “movie nights,” an underground cigar parlor and wine cellar. Photo © Erosantorini
If any hotel on the island of Santorini deserves to be called famous, it is Perivolas. Its magnificent setting, fascinating architecture, and organic design makes it the most photographed and talked about hotel in the Cyclades.
We love it for: At Perivolas, the proven formula of beautiful views, cliff-edge swimming pool, and minimalist interiors have been employed to a remarkable effect, resulting in a truly iconic place.
Read our review: Perivolas Santorini. Photo © Perivolas
10Chromata Up Style Hotel
Twenty minutes from Katikies, in Imerovigli, is located its sister hotel, Chromata Santorini. The name means “colors” in Greek, but it’s a tongue-in-cheek name for the Chromata Hotel, as other than the white-edged, dove gray steps, everything here is white. The hotel’s cute white cave houses spill down the cliff edge, layered with impeccably maintained public areas. The hotel also features a luxurious villa, called San Nicholas Cave House, with a history reaching as far as the Venetian era.
We love it for: Glamorous, contemporary design and lavishly furnished rooms, each with private verandas and sea views.
Read our review: Chromata Up Style Hotel. Photos © Chromata
Combining Greek flavors with the comforts of a contemporary lifestyle, this luxury resort provides a tranquil atmosphere permeating all spaces of the hotel. Kirini Suites & Spa’s discreet service is part of the hotel’s appeal.
We love it for: The luxurious A.SPA is said to be among the best on the island. The facilities include a sauna, steam room, indoor jacuzzi, and a heated pool, while treatments range from massages to the “beauty parlor” experiences. Try to book well in advance. Photo © Kirini Suites
Using beautiful stonework and layered light themes Aenaon Villas has created contemporary interiors with plenty of private space. The hotel’s unique design identity is built on a foundation of simple luxury.
We love it for: Secluded location, between Imerovigli and Oia.
Photo © Aenaon Villas
13Sophia Luxury Suites
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Sophia Luxury Suites was the first from the small portfolio of three carefully designed hotels. Located in Imerovigli, the rooms and suites of Suites are still some of the island’s most immaculately composed. The interiors have a natural elegance that is at once authentic and sophisticated — and the views, of course, are fantastic.
The two other hotels are Sophia Oia View, located in the heart of Oia and enjoying superb caldera views, and Sophia Boutique Hotel, located in Finikia, a small village further inland, away from the shore.
We love it for: The suites of the Sophia Luxury Suites are very spacious, especially when compared to many other Santorinian hotels. A couple of them even come with an indoor heated pool, beautifully lit with LED lights.
Read more: Santorinian harmony at Sophia Luxury Suites, Greece.
Photo© Sophia Luxury Suites Santorini
14Charisma Suites Oia
At the all-suite Charisma in Oia, contemporary style meets local aesthetics, blending them into beautiful interiors. The sense of style, with chic furniture and clean lines in the luxury suites, symbolizes the Cycladic allure.
We love it for: The hotel has a great location to enjoy Santorini’s beautiful sunsets. Photo © Charisma Suites Oia