Went to Santorini (along with Naxos, Crete) for our honeymoon. Decided to stay in both Enigma Apts & Suites and their sister property Astra Apts & Suites (in Imerovigli) after reading the reviews on Trip advisor.
From the get-go our e-mail correspondence with Chrisoula for the booking process was seamless, friendly and professional. We booked the private hot tub suite (suite 8) for three nights. A driver met us and picked us up at the ferry during a very rainy day (their first in months!) We arrived and the bell hop promptly (without missing a beat) took our very heavy bags and took them into Enigma and to our suite. As I'm sure you've read in other reviews, Enigma is quite a feat to navigate. It's built entirely on the cliffside. You must be limber, not afraid to climb and you cannot have a tinge of vertigo. There are a lot of stairs and they are STEEP. Suite 8, is at the very bottom of the hotel property - and you have to walk down about 6 separate sets of stairs to reach it. (in three days we got the work out of champions - and we're healthy, active early thirty-somethings)
Not to be redundant, but Chrisoula knows her job and she does it well - She's informative (great with tailored suggestions for food, entertainment, travel), friendly, down-to-earth and super helpful. The staff and her work like a well-oiled machine. The server/bell hop was always ready with a smile and delivered our delicious breakfast down those stairs and then up our stairs in our suite to our balcony. Impressive. The hotel is small, 8 suites. All very close to each other. Even ours, was located directly next to another suite (without balcony) - which didn't feel very private. The way the rooms are staggered -it's difficult for any of them to be entirely isolated - so keep that in mind. Suite 8 is the only one that has a completely private balcony and hot tub - and whose balcony is only accessible through the suite itself.
The suite was quite large with a great sitting room, kitchen (small fridge, two burners, utensils, glasses and plates), flat screen t.v., CD stereo/radio, bathrobes, large closet with a small safe, and two bedrooms on the second floors. One in the back (built into the rock/cliff) and another in front right outside the balcony. Cute Mediterranean decor, tile floors, candles, airy. (See pictures). The balcony and the views from it MADE our time at enigma. It was ours exclusively and it was très romantique! We spent 80% of the time there eating our breakfast and enjoying the views, or relaxing with wine at night in the hot tub gawking at the sun setting (it was different every night). We were greeted with a complimentary bottle of wine and waters on our arrival - and the daily included breakfast delivered at your suite at the time of your choosing (they even call to confirm that morning) was a lovely touch. Great little selections like cheeses, tomato, cucumber, breads, fruits - Greek yogurt and honey. Such a sweet, calming way to start the day.
The cons I list below are not deal-breakers by any means, but for the price you pay - I really expected more. The few negatives: the room itself - though big - felt at times a bit claustrophobic - mostly in the bedrooms and definitely in the bathroom - The room is built in a tunnel shape and as a 5'9 girl - it felt slightly enclosed. Getting to and from the balcony, required you to walk up the stairs and I hit my head a lot on the close curved ceiling. The main bedroom in the back was recessed into the rock face and once the lights were out - it was pitch dark -- and a little more scary than cozy.
The bathroom was a let down - I wish it had been a little more luxurious and bigger. No windows, no bath, only an open, nice sized shower with good water pressure. The mirror is this wierd, luminiscent-lit mirror that is tagged with the Enigma logo. Also, the toilet smelled a bit - perhaps it's just the plumbing and the way the bathroom is inset into the cliff - but it never smelled 'fresh' in there. The mattress and the bedding weren't anything special. The bed was a queen - medium to hard with simple sheets with a very light coverlet.. Wish we had had more pillows and perhaps a light duvet - or a cashmere blanket?
Lastly, (and I can't speak for the other rooms' hot tubs) - the hot tub is somewhat of a misnomer. The tub was a good size - deep and could fit at least four people. The problem? Our hot tub never really got "hot". It was always heated, but the water temperature never went above warm. We did ask Chrisoula about that, but she said the heater was in fact, operating.
Everything else aside, we really enjoyed our stay. The service was impeccable - the views truly unbeatable - and I loved our private balcony suite. The walk up and down the stairs? Unique- ah - but at least we burned off our indulgent meals. Fira (or Thira) - for me wasn't the ideal town for us. It is in the heart of Santorini, the main bus terminal is located there and it's where all the cruise ships dock (sometimes five ships a day!) and unload their passengers. During the day (and this is nearing low season!!), the little town was packed and bustling - ATMs often emptied of money.
The town is LITTERED with jewelry stores, overpriced goods and souvenir stores (buy your wine at the grocery store - specialty stores price up everything by at least 15 to 20 Euros) and it's just entirely too touristy for our taste. I am glad we ended our trip staying in Imerovigli at Astra (a half hour walk from Fira) where it was a little more authentic, and much calmer. If you want to be where the action is, where the party/drinking is (and the better restaurants, too) - stay in Fira. Also, we never rented any transportation: walked everywhere or took the bus (that can take you everywhere you need to go: the beaches (meh! not ANYWHERE as nice as Caribbean beaches), the country side/vineyards (never went - we found Greek wine mediocre), and of course, Imerovigli - (although you can get there by foot) and gorgeous Oia (go there early in the morning so you can avoid the crowds)
Astra organized a problem transfer to their sister property Astra (although NOT free of charge, as it once was - we quickly found out) -
Last two little points: Enigma lends out laptops free of charge and the rooms have internet access which was a big plus (especially on our rainy night when the cable t.v. wasn't working) - also be sure to have a lot of money on hand because they do not accept credit cards here - and with quickly emptying ATMs, we had to stockpile cash. If you are considering staying at Astra - please read my review there...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Enigma Hotel in Santorini (Apartments & Suites) is perched on the cliff side of western Santorini, in the heart of Fira, the capital of Santorini island. Its wonderful location provides its guests with a spectacular view of the famous Santorini volcano and Caldera complex, the Aegean Sea, the island’s traditional old port and, best of all, the celebrated Santorini sunset. This view, along with the hotel’s excellent service and facilities, places it as a fine Santorini hotel in Fira.The Enigma Fira Santorini luxury hotel provides an amazing atmosphere for your holidays in Santorini. Enigma’s luxury Santorini suites, apartments and studios are elegantly-designed and feature a plethora of modern amenities that fuse harmoniously with the charming island-style architecture, creating one of the most picturesque hotels in Santorini. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Enigma Apartments And Suites
- Enigma Apartments Hotel Fira
- Enigma Hotel Fira
- Enigma Apartments & Suites Santorini/Fira