This may be the most architecturally interesting hotel I have ever stayed in. It is built right into the side of a mountain, and so to get from point A to point B in the hotel one has to do a fair amount of vertical traveling. In addition, the rooms themselves are modern caves cut right into the mountain; my room, for example, had natural rock growing in it. This makes the hotel a fascinating and incredibly scenic place in which to stay; the view from my balcony, for example, was stunning in all directions, including straight down to the harbor below.
To get to the hotel, you will be met at the parking lot by a representative, who will carry your bags to the reception desk up and down some stairways and cobblestone streets. The receptionist will then take you to your room. (If you are mobility-impaired, this is not the hotel for you, but then Santorini is probably not the destination for you, as there is always some stairway or cobblestone street to be accessed. If you are not impaired, though, you should be able to manage just fine: I am 63 years old, not exactly in peak physical condition, and never had any real difficulty.)
In addition to being interesting and beautiful, the hotel offers exceptional service and comfort. Our room was very clean and received maid service twice a day. The location is superb, both in terms of scenic views and convenience to sightseeing. A short walk (up, of course) takes you to the city (more like a village, actually) of Oia, which offers pretty streets with sun-washed white buildings, good restaurants, and shopping. From the main square of Oia one can also take very modern and comfortable buses to other places of interest on Santorini like the main village of Fira and, beyond that, the ruins of Akroturi. The buses are quite cheap (1.6 euro to Fira, for example) and always ran on time. The hotel can provide you with a schedule.
Breakfast is included in the hotel rate, as is free wifi, although since the rooms themselves are built into the mountain the wifi usually works best on your balcony or in the hotel public areas like the breakfast area. Breakfast is served right next to a really nice pool which wanders into a cave; it is a better-than-average continental breakfast with mini-croissants, chocolate croissants, bread, cheese and cold cuts, hard boiled eggs, juice and coffee, etc. Eating breakfast out in the open, with a view of the hotel and a windmill rising up behind you, the mountain to your left, and the open sea in front of you, is just a wonderful way to start the day.
I would also like to mention the friendliness of the hotel staff. I dealt a lot with Hossnah, the woman who managed the desk in the morning, and she was a jewel: friendly, efficient and accommodating beyond words. The man who managed the desk in the afternoon dealt with my wife on occasion and she always had comparably flattering things to say about him. In fact, in the whole time I was on Santorini, I can't recall meeting one single person who wasn't friendly and pleasant. This is really just a wonderful location for a vacation, which perhaps explains why we ran into so many honeymooning couples on the island.
This is certainly one of the very best hotels I have ever had the pleasure of staying at. I gave it five stars only because there was no option for six or seven.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Esperas is a unique full service hotel that offers you the opportunity to experience the traditional cave houses of Santorini coupled with one of the most breathtaking views on the planet. A five minute walk from the center of the picturesque village of Oia, the complex is exclusively situated on the edge of a hanging cliff side (the Caldera), overlooking the breathtaking sunset and the volcanic rocks. An ambiance of comfort and relaxation is present throughout the 20 houses, complemented by traditional furniture and antique pieces. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Esperas Traditional Houses Hotel Oia
- Esperas Traditional Hotel
- Hotel Esperas Traditional
- Esperas Santorini/Oia