We booked two nights at Katikies during June 2013. Let me start by saying that this review should be taken with a pinch of salt, as although we had booked a Junior Suite, upon checking in we were upgraded to a Katikies Suite (the best suite they have). Needless to say, this room was something special and really added to our overall experience.
LOCATION: the hotel is situated at the start of the pedestrian walkway of Oia, which is quite convenient. If you have booked transfers through a third party, then get them to call up the hotel a few minutes earlier, and they will send a porter to your vehicle to collect your luggage. As pictured, the views are amazing from pretty much all around the property. All the walls are white, and look like they were just painted yesterday!
ROOM: as mentioned, we received quite a substantial upgrade from what we had booked. The Katikies Suite was massive, with a vast living area downstairs, a walk in wardrobe and a bathroom with separate shower and a high tech Jacuzzi bathtub. The bedroom was upstairs in a small cave like area. The ceilings were very low on the sides of the bedroom, and we bumped our heads a few times before we figured out how to navigate the room (having everything in white made it harder to judge!). The terrace outside the room was long and narrow, with a seating area, a pair of sunbeds, and a small outdoor Jacuzzi, which was constantly filled with warm water. It was not completely private, as it could be seen from certain areas of adjacent hotels (although not from within Katikies). I don’t think many balconies or terraces in Oia would be completely private, such is the design of this part of the island. As many have mentioned, the hotel is full of steps, and this room was conveniently located just one flight of stairs below the main pool/restaurant area.
BREAKFAST: this is delivered to your room daily. You can either call them up the evening before with your order, or call them up on the morning, but with a 30 minute waiting time. The selection on offer is reasonably generous, and it includes sparkling wine as well. We ordered the night before, and on both days breakfast arrived sharp on time and was laid out on our terrace. The food was well presented and tasty.
DINNER EXPERIENCE: we had one dinner out of the hotel, and pre-booked their “Dinner Experience” for our other night. This is their fine dining option, and there are only 4 tables available, so booking in advance is recommended. When emailing them, they said the dinner is from 7pm to 9:30pm, and I took this to mean it was a fixed time slot for all the tables. However, I later learnt that you can book for any time within those hours. I would recommend going about 45 minutes before sunset, to enjoy the changing colours of the sky (note that you will not get a direct sunset view from anywhere within this hotel). 2 out of the 4 tables are in the front row, and therefore have better views, so you may want to request one of these. The dinner was very enjoyable and we had excellent service as well. We were there much earlier than the other 3 tables, so had the whole area to ourselves for much of the time, which was nice. The dinner came to around €255 including a couple of glasses of wine and a tip.
POOLS: we spent a fair amount of time at the main pool, which is a very serene place to hang out (there are two other pools as well). There are only 6 pairs of loungers surrounding this pool, with another 3 pairs just around the corner. The hotel has about 30-35 rooms I believe, so you may have thought there would be the usual scramble to reserve a lounger every morning, but I didn’t find this to be the case, at least when we were there. On our first morning, we went up at around 9am, and got the last of the 6 pool adjacent loungers. On the second morning, even at 11am, there were loungers free. Apart from this area, there are another 4 pairs of loungers on a separate level, which is a bit further away from the pools. I did note that by each afternoon however, all loungers would be occupied, at least those that were on the main pool level. Poolside service was very attentive, as the ratio of staff to guests seemed quite high. They were always checking on us if we needed shade or sun, and moving around umbrellas accordingly. They do play chill out music at the pool area, which may not be to everyone’s taste, but I personally thought it added to the relaxing atmosphere.
SPA: the hotel does not have an onsite spa, the spa is actually located on a sister property (Kirini). We had each booked a massage on our last day. They told us to just show up at the reception desk and a car would take us to the spa, which was a few minutes drive away. When we did show up, it actually took them 15 minutes to arrange a car for us, which was a bit annoying. The spa is situated in a basement area of Kirini, and is fully indoors. The spa is a bit unusual in that it only accommodates one couple at a time. This has plus and minus points to it. The plus side is having all the facilities for your private use. The negatives are that the spa is small and offers less in terms of facilities (just a steam room and a mildly warm pool, with no sauna or relaxation room), and you cannot use the facilities if anyone else has booked a treatment at the time. The massages are held in a single treatment room designed for couples, and were of a high standard. We decided to take a shower after our massages, and two shower rooms are available (one of which doubles as the steam room). This part of the spa is quite strange, in that the showers have glass doors and don’t offer much privacy. I could see the masseuses walking around in the background as I showered! After we were done, we had planned to go to lunch at a local restaurant. At Katikies, they said this was no problem, the hotel transport would drop us wherever we wanted. However, at Kirini when we said we were going somewhere else (and not back to Katikies) they ordered us a normal taxi, which we had to pay for. We didn’t realise this until it was too late. On the whole, I wish that Katikies had an onsite spa. It was a hassle transporting to and from Kirini, and the Kirini spa itself was not overly impressive. I would give it a miss next time and spend more time chilling at the pool!
SERVICE: this was excellent throughout the hotel. We got to know a few members of staff during our stay and they were always friendly and pleasant to deal with. The room was immaculately cleaned twice a day. Interestingly, there didn’t seem to be many staff of Greek origin.
NEGATIVES: the stay was not perfect and I would raise the following negative points:
1) The spa, as mentioned above.
2) They do not provide irons, claiming this is a safety risk! You can give them items for pressing, and they will charge you for it (from €3/item upwards). If you aren’t going to provide an iron, perhaps you should offer complimentary pressing, at least for the first few items.
3) I did get the feeling sometimes that the hotel would overcharge for certain things unnecessarily (more so than a normal hotel would). For example, we used their transfer to the airport, which was €20/person for a shared transfer. It turns out we were the only two on the large minibus, so it was effectively private. However, it was a pretty standard vehicle. Right outside the hotel, an agency was advertising private airport transfers for €25. The hotel was quoting €100 for a private transfer! Similarly, they quoted €100/hour for a private island tour, whereas we booked through a large tour operator on the island for about half of that rate (also for a private tour).
4) We had a late flight back, but could not get a late checkout. We were offered the use of a shower room to get ready before our flight. This was a very tacky room which was clearly designed for a different purpose. I wasn’t expecting luxury here, but I did expect something better than an all-in-one wet bathroom with no shower hook!
CONCLUSION: despite the negatives above, this was an awesome stay at a truly spectacular property. We never got tired of that view! The hotel really made us feel completely pampered and relaxed. We wished we had stayed longer here, and will certainly be saving up to return one day in the future! I would like to think that I would have given the same overall rating even if we had been allocated the room we had booked.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Katikies Hotel in Oia Santorini is renowned for its leading luxury, unparalleled services, warm atmosphere and sense of romance uniquely combined in an exceptional setting and natural environment in Oia Santorini, inviting its guests to experience moments of pure luxury. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Katikies Hotel Oia
- Katikies Hotel Santorini/Oia