Santorini – we have all seen those beautiful sun drenched images of Oia and the blue roofs and white walls and sparkling Mediterranean sea, so it was an absolute delight when Luxury News Online received an invitation to fly out and review the most awarded and internationally recognised luxury hotel on the island, the Iconic Santorini Boutique Cave Hotel.
Written by James Phillips
All images taken by James
This is my visit to the fabulous Iconic Santorini Boutique Cave Hotel, details and video of my luxurious stay, and in following posts I will bring to you a review of every room at the Iconic Santorini and tips and advice on staying on this wonderful Greek island.
The flight to Santorini Thira takes approximately 3 hours from the UK, and is available through the well known flight operators from the UK where I am based. The flight takes you over Paris and Belgium, and across Italy and Athens to the Greek Islands, passing through a short period of turbulence where the cold air of northern Europe meets the warm Mediterranean air.
Santorini, one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, was devastated by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century B.C.E., forever shaping its rugged landscape and villages. The whitewashed, cubist houses of its 2 principal towns, Fira and Oia, cling to cliffs above an underwater caldera (crater). They overlook the clear Aegean and beaches made up of black, red and white lava pebbles.
The first thing you notice as you step off the plane at Thira airport is the wall of wonderful heat that hits you, which is so lacking in the UK! The process of making your way through customs is fairly quick by UK standards, and then out into arrivals where I was met by the representative of Iconic Santorini with my name on the hotel welcome sign and a big smile.
Luggage loaded and then the short journey of around 20 minutes to Imerovigli to my destination of pure luxury. Met by the hugely helpful and very polite team at Iconic, my bags were taken straight to my room, while I was lead to the welcome area, a cold face towel and a cocktail! I looked around and there before me the famous vista opened out before my eyes of the Caldera, the blue sea and the cruise ships. Santorini felt like home already. Suddenly I had been transported into every postcard and every famous photo I had ever seen of Santorini.
After running through the main points of the hotel I was lead down the iconic Santorini steps to the room I would be staying in for 4 nights. The award winning Cliff Suite. The journey to the room took in the stunning hotel complex on the way through. This is not like your typical hotel, but built on the side of what is essentially a mountain rising from the sea, every part of the hotel is on differing levels, and converted from small houses and shops from times gone by to create today the most amazing and unique experience.
‘I looked around and there before me the famous vista opened out before my eyes of the Caldera, the blue sea and the cruise ships. Santorini felt like home already.’
Bright flowers broke up the white walls and all around were opportunities for a stunning photo, just everything you look at would make a perfect picture.
I had been booked into the Cliff Suite, an award winning and internationally recognised suite of utter luxury and wonder. You can really see why it’s called the Cliff Suite, it’s on the edge of the cliff with it’s own balcony and uninterrupted and sensational views. The suites at Iconic are basically small houses, for that’s what they started out as many years ago, you get your own front door, cool smooth concrete floors, traditional furniture and decor with very thoughtful touches such as a traditional scarf wrapped over the desk chair, hand made wooden towel rails roped together, a sea sponge to wash with, and traditional cushions and lovely window shutters.
The paintwork on the doors and windows is of an exceptional standard, so to is the finish on everything. Attention to detail is exceptional. It’s truly 5 star and immaculately clean, a real testament to the house keeping staff.
So the first thing you notice in the room, is the magnificent bed. It is made of 4 layers, with copious cushions and believe me when I say this is the most luxurious and most comfortable bed you will ever lay in. Period. It really is so difficult to even wake up and force yourself out of in the morning! The same beds, the same decor and furnishings are carried through in every suite at Iconic so everyone will experience this pure indulgence.
Next to point out as I looked around the room was my walk in wardrobe, which is carved from the rock, separated from the room by a single linen curtain, a mini safe, shelving and a thoughtful rail made from wood.
I had a desk and sofa and armchairs too. In a separate room honed from the rock is the bathroom, containing the sink area, toilet and a huge shower with a very large square shower head giving you an amazing experience after a long hot day exploring the island.
Two things that impressed me were the sea sponge and the large pump bottles for shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. In other hotels, even 5 star ones, you only usually get very small one use bottles.
Now comes something really special, my own indoor plunge pool with water jets! Yes this is just the most amazing feature to the Cliff Suite, separated by a glass door, the pool is in it’s own room just off the main living area, and offers the ultimate in seclusion and luxury, the pool is heated and has a water jet control situated in the walk-in wardrobe just next door. You can really lose yourself in here if it were not for the amazing sun and views outside! There really is just so much to look at and experience at the Iconic Santorini!
Exploring ultimate luxury at the Iconic Santorini
The best way to bring home to you my experience at Iconic is to share my video and all my photos which shows you the suites, the food, the views and what its like to explore the Iconic Santorini.
Waking late, as you will invariably do in the sumptuous and most comfortable bed in the world, the attentive staff notice your shutters moving to reveal the view of a lifetime over the Caldera, your personal breakfast table is already laid for you on your balcony even before you wake, as you rise and take in the morning sun on the balcony, your breakfast is delivered; a kings breakfast of the most monumental proportions.
Your waiter brings your breakfast down to you on a huge tray, balanced on one hand down all the steps especially to your table, then takes off each plate at a time and runs through each dish so you know exactly what you are eating, and where the local ingredients were sourced from. It really is a faultless experience and I would challenge anyone not to enjoy every single part of it while looking out to sea.
The balcony of the Cliff Suite and the volcanic rocks really are stand out features!
So let’s explore the hotel. Walking up the steps you pass through several different levels, past other guests suites, not every suite is occupied at any one time, this makes sure you receive the ultimate private experience. Colourful flowers fill decorative pots and planters, the floor and steps all painted grey with white edges, everywhere and everything is immaculate and kept to the highest standards. Pause and look around you; you can’t help it, for everywhere you look there’s a picture postcard image. Walking around the front of the suites under the archway that leads to the infinity pool and boutique restaurant. The gentle running water of the infinity pool is very relaxing and you can’t help but make a stop at the restaurant for a local beer and just to sit there and take in the views.
All the staff are so friendly and courteous, they are all passionate about their work. The reception office is at the top of the hotel above the restaurant, which by the way is split onto two levels, the wooden roof and pillars offer a very Greek traditional feel.
Every set of steps takes you round a different turn and a different view that you will never get tired of. Every suite has a front door which opens out onto perfection, and I will be creating a separate post for each one of the suites in the coming weeks as they deserve such special individual attention.
Iconic is perfect for just lounging around on a sun bed, or by the infinity pool, sitting in the restaurant or just spending you day in the privacy of your room, private pool and balcony with room service just a call away.
Of special mention is the food. Chef Kostas and his team are ultimate professionals and you could not hope to rival their food anywhere else in the world.
Breakfast is a triumph and changes every day depending on the local ingredients available, he really is an artist! There is so much choice at breakfast that it completely fills your table. I watched a fellow guests face on his first morning at iconic as his breakfast was delivered and he couldn’t believe his eyes, and just laughed with joy and amazement at the delights which were being laid out before him. Warm brioche sandwich filled with chocolate and cherries, fruit salad, fruit layered yogurt, Greek toasted Olive bread, Orange juice, Tea or Coffee, eggs, bacon, the list goes on….. just take a look at the pictures! Evening meals are equally as spectacular with a large menu board brought forward with specials and all locally sourced.
At night the hotel takes on a magical appearance with soft uplighting and the twinkling lights of the cruise ships below and the town of Fira in the distance.
The room key cupboard at the hotel is a well known feature of the reception and is a work of art in itself!
Here is my video exploring the hotel and my complete journey from the UK!