Just back from 4 great days at Perivolas. First of all, early September is a glorious time to be in Oia -- great weather, everything is still open, but not nearly as crowded as high season. A terrific vacation.
We really enjoyed Perivolas and would go back. We were pretty sure this would be the case after having read the reviews, but we were quite curious what we would ultimately think about the various aspects of the property given that the reviews were somewhat mixed. Here's the truth in our view. For context, we are very seasoned travelers in the US and abroad, have been fortunate to stay in many top-tier properties around the globe, and tend to notice the details. In the end, we suspected that personal tendency toward noticing certain details is probably the reason for the mixed reviews on this property.
The general property is stunning and unique, a classic as others have rightly noted. The pool area, which is the central focus of the hotel, is really nice with a gorgeous view, and the infinity pool is everything you would imagine. It's a pretty quiet and serene setting, with the adults only policy (welcome from our view) and only 17 units on site. The rooms are very nice, generally well kept up (it doesnt feel like a new property, but it doesnt feel poorly maintained), and you'll get a good sense for the aesthetic from the pics online so judge for yourself. We thought they were pretty cool and unique. We lived out of suitcases (Oia is super casual, even at upscale restaurants, so not hard to do) and so we didn't mind the absence of drawers etc. The fact that the shower unavoidably soaks the whole bathroom is an unnecessary and silly design feature with no obvious aesthetic benefit (fix this Perivolas!) as many have noted. Irksome but not the biggest deal in the world for us. Also, if you are picky about your location for laying out by the pool (e,g, do you want access to an umbrella for some shade), you will want to get there on the early side and snag a spot -- only an issue for us once, but a bit disappointing to have to think about this. I suppose keeping the pool area fairly small contributes to the boutique feel of the property, so understandable from our view.
The food was spectacular. Breakfast was good -- we thought not quite to the level that others have written up here -- but very good omelets and the buffet spread with yogurt and fruit etc. was nice. But we did not have a single thing at lunch or dinner that we felt was other than exceptional. While we had a lot of enjoyable means in town, we didn't have any other meals that rivaled the food at Perivolas. Menus are a nice combination of simpler and more complex dishes, lighter/heavier, etc. Fun to explore various restaurants around Oia, but definitely worth having several lunches / dinners here. Book dinner tables in advance for best view.
The one area that stood out for us as a place where improvements easily could and should be made was the service. While it didn't bother us much, we tend to be attentive to this kind of thing, especially when paying these kind of rates. Perivolas was twice the cost of our top-end hotel in Mykonos, for example, and the service was not nearly as good. You would think the property would strive for excellence in this area. The general problem seems to be in staff hiring / training -- they are all quite nice and are trained to be good -- but not excellent. Just a few examples of service lapses: (1) Our "complimentary transfer" from the port was a taxi driver who smoked the whole way to the hotel -- everywhere else we stayed in Greece had a shuttle service. Why not Perivolas, or at least make sure there is quality control if outsourcing this? (2) When we arrived, there were flies in the complimentary vin santo in the room. A bit gross. We asked for this to be changed out, and it eventually was, but there were no apologies at all ; (3) Seems like there is not enough staff generally. For example, we saw one couple lugging in their heavy bags since there was nobody to greet them on arrival. Disappointing at any top-end property, but at a warm-weather resort with a lot of stairs and reception a good distance from the drop-off point, we would have been really annoyed if this were us; (4) When we needed something from time to time (e.g., an ipod dock that we had been told was available, or keys to the rental car that had been arranged), the general presumption was that we would come to reception to get it rather than they would bring it to our room; (5) cleaning staff often talking among each other in an loud and animated manner around the property as they are doing their jobs, disrupting the serenity of the setting. Individually none of this was a big deal, but in general we found indicative of service at a level below the best. Perhaps more importantly, concierge was generally quite helpful. Not perfect (e.g., failed to highlight for us that there would be an extra charge for fuel on our boat trip), but generally quite good.
All this having been said, I don't think there's anywhere better to stay in Oia from all we saw and heard. We had originally considered Katikies as an alternative, and we visited the property to have a look. It was nice, but not nearly as unique a property as Perivolas. The decor felt a bit generic, the environs felt far less boutique-y and private, and the property was much more difficult to navigate. We heard very similar perspectives from others.
So, all in all, from our perspective Perivolas was very good and a special place, and we would go back. However, we were a bit unclear on what to expect in reading the reviews beforehand, so thought this perspective might help clarify for others.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The charming and intimate Perivolas Hotel is the ultimate in the relaxed and elegant simplicity of island living. Combining breathtaking views with the luxury of absolute tranquility, beautiful architecture, warm hospitality, excellent cuisine and an inspiring land and seascape. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Perivolas Hotel Oia
- Perivolas Santorini/Oia
- Perivolas Hotel Santorini