Having conducted many months of research about the best place in Oia to stay, the Nostos Apartments topped our wish-list. However, we doubted that so late in the season there would be availability at the apartments, but luckily we managed to secure a room about 2 months before departure. We reserved a 3 person room, but on arrival were delighted to find we had been upgraded to the junior suite (room 109) which consisted of two double bedrooms as well as the usual Nostos amenities of kitchenette, living room area, bathroom and private terrace (more about that later!).
We arrived in Oia in the evening, and by the time we took the 20 minute taxi ride from the airport (arranged by Nostos at our request) to the apartments, it was dark. This did not dampen our first impressions. Oia at night is almost as beautiful as it is by day, the whitewashed buildings lit up by lights and candles, which many of the hotels and apartments leave burning on the terraces at night (Nostos included). We were met from our taxi by a young man from the apartments who expertly carried our very heavy luggage down the 100 or so stone steps to our apartment (and I might add, carried it back up the steps again on departure! Excellent service! We would have probably still been there now had we had to carry it ourselves!). When we reached the room we were blown away with what greeted us. Lit up in the darkness the apartment was cosy and inviting, immaculately clean and much more spacious than we had hoped for. We were met here by Andreas, the Nostos manager, who explained a few things about the room, the services available and the famous Santorini cats (you may try to resist them, but if they take a liking to you, your food and your balcony there is no escape!!).
Since it was late, we decide to grab a bottle of wine and some food from the local shop (situated at the top of the stairway to the apartments) and make the most of the warm evening and the private terrace. We knew that the sea was to the front of us, but in the dark it was impossible to see where it began or where it stretched to, we could simply hear it lapping at the shore far below us. Aside from the distant sound of the sea, and a faint buzz of the town's bars and restaurant above us, the night was almost silent. Tracing the line of lights around the caldera coastline, we could tell the area of sea in front of us must be vast, but being unable to see quite how vast in the darkness we went off to bed with great anticipation to see how Oia would look by day.
We were not disappointed! We opened the shutters and literally gasped at the scene in front of us – brilliant blue sea for as far as we could see, the island of Thirissia to the right, the whitewashed buildings of Fira to the left, the port of Armeni below us and sky hazy with sunshine. Words cannot describe how beautiful the caldera view is. We had seen perhaps hundreds of photographs before arriving in Santorini, but no photo can do the view justice – it is simply breath-taking.
And the Nostos apartments are perfectly placed to take it all in. Our balcony was completely private, equipped with chairs, table, sun-loungers and shade, we were not overlooked at all and we took every opportunity to use this space. We found ourselves lounging in the sunshine for hours just watching the yachts and sea-liners pass by; the view was mesmorizing. Each afternoon, the near silence would be broken only briefly by the tinkling of bells as the donkey-taxis trotted up the 290 or so steps from the port carrying newly arrived tourists and luggage. And then all would be still again!
When the heat became too much, we would cool off in the pool – located at the bottom of the apartment site, and nearly always empty (despite the apartments being at full occupancy), this was another oasis from which to enjoy the view. The pool is on the small size, but adequate for the size of the complex which has only about 8 apartments. The pool was always clean, but unfortunately not heated, which meant despite the 30 degree or so heat, the water was often pretty chilly at first!
Each morning we would take breakfast in the lovely breakfasting room. Located just above the swimming pool, the room is light and airy and each table is placed so as to take advantage of the view through the spectacular picture window. The range of food available was exactly the same each day, but the variety was adequate – breads and pastries, fruit, greek yoghurt, cold meats and cheese, hard-boiled eggs and museli. If you prefer, you can request a tray and take breakfast to your balcony.
In terms of service, the Nostos apartments are impressive. Our apartment was very well equipped (we were especially pleased with the kitchenette, in which there was a range of utensils, pots and pans, cutlery and crockery – this allowed us to make our own lunch most days – a Godsend in such an otherwise expensive location). The beds were comfy enough (although a little on the hard side) and each main room was fitted with an air-conditioning unit, which we found essential at night. The furnishings are simple, but this is exactly as it should be in a location such as Oia – it simply adds to the charm. The room was dutifully cleaned and tidied every morning and re-stocked with essentials. Each morning, before we woke, the sun parasol on our terrace would be raised, and each evening it would be taken down again, and the afore mentioned candles would be lit. The attention to detail in the Nostos apartments is exemplary and the staff work extremely hard to ensure the high standards are kept.
As for our stay in Oia, we enjoyed it wholeheartedly – it is as beautiful as all the guidebooks and reviews suggest. The main street can be a mecca for day-trippers and tours and therefore busy and also very expensive, but by choosing where to eat, drink and shop carefully, this can all be avoided. We would recommend the excellent 218 restaurant, which although a little pricey was comparable in cost to many far inferior establishments and offers one of the best views of the caldera. The food there was inventive, plentiful and of very good quality. Also recommended is a trip to Kathoros beach – rocky, but pretty secluded and only a 15-20 min walk from Oia centre. Best avoided are the boat trips to the volcano – overpriced, over-rated and tourist-trap hell! We would consider hiring our own boat on any future trip to explore the islands at our own pace.
My husband and I both work hard and often very long hours and this trip was vitally important to us after a really tough year. Our hopes and expectations were therefore high and a lot was resting on the Nostos Apartments being able to provide us with a little piece of paradise in which to escape for a week. In the end, our holiday in Oia was without doubt one of the best we’ve had and not least so because the Nostos Apartments provided such a tranquil and relaxing environment in which to enjoy this beautiful location. We’d like to thank Andreas and his team for making our stay so enjoyable and look forward to staying at Nostos again (hopefully!) in the not too distant future.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Small settlement located in OIA on the Santorini Island,consist of 8 units for 2 till 5 persons, reception, bar and pool facilities. Settlement is situated on the edge of the Volcano crater, overlooking the see and islets around. Each unit is fully equipped and can work as an independent bungalow (fully equipped kitchen, terrace etc.) Cave-like looking apartments, just 3-5 minutes walking distance from the center of the village and shopping center, but on the really calm area... relaxing and romantic atmosphere ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Nostos Apartments Oia
- Nostos Apartments Hotel Oia
- Nostos Apartments Santorini/Oia