The Most Stylish Stay In Santorini? Kivotos Hotel Review
Looking for something different to the cookie-cutter white-washed walls and stone-rimmed pools for your next Santorini stay? A-list hotspot Kivotos is nestled in the heart of the action at the primary position on the caldera, but it’s exclusive enough that even the world’s most famous secret agent could find privacy. Rebecca Cox goes undercover (or at least, underground,) to check it out…
Kivotos Santorini Review
On arrival at the Mavro restaurant, the central hub of the property and home to its fabulous fish-tank-like pool, you’d be forgiven for wondering: ‘where exactly is the hotel?’. But any secret agent worth his salt (or Bond villain, for that matter) knows that staying above ground is impossible passé. The unique Kivotos Villa (of which there are more to come next year) is where it’s at, with a palatial, by Santorini standards at least, spread of rooms, burrowed deep(ish) into the volcanic rock of Santorini. Don a silk kimono and find a hairless cat to stroke and pad barefoot from room to room as you ponder which cocktail to order for that evening’s sundowner (and how you’ll thwart your enemies once and for all). Make your way from the welcoming lounge that leads to the main bedroom, on to the enormous bathroom, complete with private hammam, to the private cave pool and gym, second bedroom (or spa suite) and sizeable kitchen. Set the dramatic mood for these wanderings with themed lighting throughout. Before you’ve completed the lap, we’ll bet you’ll be touching wall panels at random, testing for hidden rooms filled with weapons, gadgets or at least the ingredients for a shaken martini. Alas, just solid walls in every direction, but a well-stocked mini bar, at least.
If you prefer your holiday accommodation firmly above ground and sun-filled, the Signature Suites boast the highest position at the property (and amongst the highest on the caldera) and feature private heated plunge pools from which to enjoy the breath-taking views. At sunset, tourists flock to the winding streets running past the hotel and the neighbouring bar to watch the sun sink below the horizon and the sky turn pink against unparalleled views. Unparalleled, that is, aside from those on your very own private terrace, set above it all and from which you can enjoy the ultimate sundowner. In between the two there are luxe cave suites with private pools and stunning sunset views.
Once you’ve tired of mission planning and pool partying from your private lair, the island is yours to explore. Capital Fira is an easy 30-minute stroll downhill, so save energy for the uphill return, or stop at one of the cafes on route for a glass of cooling lemonade, or Santorini wine (slightly salty from the volcanic soil in which the grapes are grown). Sightseeing in this beautiful capital city is rewarding, as is a visit to one of the many boutiques and curiosity shops that sit between souvenir outlets filled with day trippers. Spare the famous donkeys and take a ride on the cable car to enjoy the dramatic cliff views down to the docks, although the island’s superior boat trips leave from Blycháda or Oia. Back up the hill to Kivotos, if you follow the hiking trail past the hotel you can keep going all the way to Oia and take in stunning views from every angle of this famous coastal stretch.
The food at Mavro is simple, elevated Greek cuisine, showcasing the finest ingredients and flavours from the island and beyond. The service is friendly and attentive, but Greek timing is a little relaxed; order breakfast for some 30 minutes earlier than you intend to eat if you wake up hungry and with a Bond-worthy schedule to keep to. Better to relax and go with the flow; a cocktail (at any time of day) in the hotel pool while taking in the view is by far the best way to spend any wait time during your stay. Oh, and be sure to pop behind the hotel to down-to-earth Anogi tavern during your stay and order the saganaki for the Greek’s irresistible take on grilled cheese (with honey and sesame seeds) for the ultimate comfort food. Another comfort food classic we’ll be recreating (hopefully) at home is the hotel’s Greek scrambled egg with olives, feta and tomatoes, a true breakfast of heroes or heroines.
THE FINAL WORD
Wow-factor rooms, enviable location and a team of friendly staff making sure that mission holiday goes off without a hitch. Double-oh-heaven.
Suites at Kivotos Santorini starts at 900 euros a night | There are 8 accommodation options covering 7 Cave Suites and 1 Cave Villa | kivotoshotels.com
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