We booked a cruise whose itinerary included the Greek isles but did not include Santorini. We've always wanted to see Santorini, so we decided to take a pre-cruse trip to the island and explore it ourselves. I have always found that immersion in a culture for more than a few hours gives you a better feel for the place.
I have a philosophy that rarely disappoints me. If I book the best property or the finest hotel I won't regret and wish I had stayed elsewhere. This, of course, can end up being very pricey, but if you plan things far enough in advance you can usually take price into consideration.
As I to researched Santorini, I found that reputation-wise the Katakies hotel was noted both in the press and in the media as the finest hotel on the island. My efforts to correspond with the Katakies were unsuccessful. They ignored several emails and frustrated my attempts at garnering a good room and a moderate rate.
Finally I asked American Express to get involved and they spoke directly to the Katakies. I was told that the rooms available in the Katakies had no king sized beds but were solely queen or smaller. My AMEX rep recommended the Mystique as also very upscale. We went with her recommendation and booked the mystique.
We arrived and stayed at the end of the Season, in fact the web site we looked at on the hotel noted the fact that the day after we were to depart (October 30th) they were closing for the season. We felt like we were on Santorini all by ourselves. No crowds, restaurants open seating, same beautiful scenery and wonderful sunsets that were touted in everything we'd ever read about the island, but it felt like our own private island.
After a short flight from Athens, we were met at the airport by a mercedes van and driver who drove us to the hotel. The hotel is located in Oia, the most scenic part of Santorini. We had packed for a fourteen day cruise and had two suitcases that would have staggered a large elephant. We are both traveling with a large suitcase each weighing in at around 49.9 pounds (airline limit is 50). When we arrived they wouldn’t let us touch our bags. One of their staff hefted our bags on his shoulders and proceeded to walk down about a quarter mile of steep stairs. The view was amazing.
The hotel is built into the side of a cliff on an extinct volcano caldera. Much like Tahiti, the island is a semicircle with the actual volcano vent in the center of a lagoon on an island. If you can imagine a round volcano rim sinking, with a small part of it collapsing and allowing water to enter, you get the picture. The cliffs (that were previously the rim of the volcano) surround the lagoon on three sides with an open portion that cruise ships can sail in and out of.
We walked down the steep pathway to the office, which was midway down. We were met by Antonia and Vasilia, the management staff, with two glasses of champagne and a warm greeting.
We had booked one of their best rooms and they upgraded us to their best suite as an American Express courtesy. It was an amazingly beautiful room with it's own balcony and a view that couldn't be compared to anything I'd ever seen before. It was the most secluded room on the property.
The king sized bed was equipped with the finest linen and was very comfortable. The staff was young and willing to go out of their way to please. Our room also had an exercise gym in a small separate room attached to the suite, as well as a nice kitchen table and a sofa. The design of the room was very relaxing and pleasant. You can see from the photos that they used drift wood as a motiff. I've seen drift wood used poorly in Florida and other tropical resort areas and it usually comes off as cheesy, but this was beautiful.
I had the opportunity to view the Katakies while on the island and much prefer the Mystique for both ambience and beauty. The view from each of these hotels is nearly identical as they are within a few hundred yards of each other, however the staff friendliness and skill of service at the Mystique are superlative.
They also have a gourmet restaurant situated on a deck adjacent to the pool which is a fantastic spot for breakfast or dinner serving only hotel guests, a gravity pool and a cave doubling as a wine tasting room/cellar where the chef prepares gourmet wine tastings and meals for guests.
Our room was approximately 500 feet above the ocean on the cliff.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Mystique is a stylish property consisting of 39 suites and villas built exactly on Oia's most famous cliffs with dazzling views of clear blue crystalline waters towards the Volcano and the Aegean Caldera. 18 Km from Santorini Airport and 20 km from Athinios Port.All accommodations are a wondrous exploration of driftwood, a free spirited, untamed material that harness the elegance of simplicity. Enticing patterns carved into the walls. All suites open onto sea-facing terraces with relaxing daybeds. Cobblestone pathways lead to the plunge pool surrounded by sun beds for the utmost relaxation.Guests may experience an outdoor infinity-edge pool, the "Aura" Bar, the "Charisma" Gourmet Restaurant, "ASEA" the new artisan Japanese restaurant and the "Secret" Wine Cave. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mystique Hotel Oia
- Mystique Oia
- Mystique Luxury Collection Hotel Santorini/Oia