My wife and I stayed at the Sun Rocks in Santorini from Friday 10 June to Tuesday 14 June 2011. I have stayed at a many nice hotels and resorts around the world, including many other Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH). All in all I would rate my stay at the Sun Rocks as a B grade. Would I stay here again – definitely, and definitely would consider other Katikies Hotels. I looked for a while at different hotel choices in Santorini. I narrowed it down to the San Antonio and Sun Rocks. I think either would be okay, though after arriving and seeing Santorini, the San Antonio is not near anything else. So for that matter, I was glad I chose the Sun Rocks.
Here are my positives and negatives of our stay, not just limited to the hotel, that I hope will be helpful to others evaluating where to stay and Santorini.
0. Santorini is a beautiful island and quite different than other places I have been. The natural beauty and the white-washed, blue domed architecture is classy and inviting.
1. Location of Sun Rock on Santorini is PERFECT! It is in Firostefani, the quiet sister town to Fira. Fira is way too commercialized and loud for my taste, but is a short walking path to Fira – making Fira easily accessible for shopping and restaurants. All the cruise ship people invade Fira, so I am glad I was not in that.
2. Sun Rocks had a wonderful sunset view! Everyone goes to Oia, but very nice to sit on veranda or at Sun Rocks pool to watch the sunset. According to one of the staff members, we were fortunate enough to see one of the best sunsets of the early summer time.
3. Within view on the walking path at the hotel entrance is a mini market. Perfect place to go buy some water, snacks, wine or beer and save some money versus from room or hotel.
4. The breakfast every morning was quite nice, and was included in the stay. Though was busy at times, the food was good and menu options were nice. Also can get a glass of sparkling wine / champagne if you want!
5. I have to tell you about “Lefty”, the manager of Sun Rocks. He was AWESOME! Extremely helpful and can do anything for you. You ask, and he will do it. On our first full day there, my (only pair of) prescription sunglasses broke – the nose pad broke off. You can not be without sunglasses in Santorini! Lefty personally took my sunglasses at 5PM and took them to have them fixed and was back in 1 hour! And he did not even charge me anything for that! Now that was service. Then, on our last day there, I asked him where I could get a bottle of Mastica liquor to take home. Well, turns out you can not find it, but Lefty appeared with a bottle for me to take home (this I paid for of course)!
6. Had a romantic fine dining experience at Elea Restaurant at the hotel and I have to say it was AWESOME! My wife and I are “foodies” and we love dining experiences. I am leery at time with restaurants at hotels / resorts, as I have found the best restaurants and food can be “off the beaten path”. But I was impressed – the service, the presentation, the taste were all there. Nice use of gastronomy without over doing it. And quite a reasonable “prix fixe”. And on top of it, the most exquisite sunset you can imagine!
7. My wife and I rented a convertible Smart Car on day so we could explore the island. I recommend doing this, as there is much to see in Santorini. We drove to Oia and Ammoudi Bay, down to the Ancient Thira ruins, to Perissa Beach, and to Estate Argyros winery. Ammoudi Bay was really a neat and pretty. Ancient Thira is something worth seeing – but take water and wear good shoes. The drive up the switchback road it gripping to say the least. Estate Argyros winery was a fun little wine tasting, and their vinsanto dessert wine is amazing!!!
8. Pool and pool deck at Sun Rocks was nice. My wife and enjoyed the pool drinks… perhaps a little to much! Though the drinks were really expensive, they were always freshly made and very yummy! We enjoyed the mojitos and caipirinha the most, but the bloody mary’s were good as well! Hey, we were on vacation for a few days without the kids – we splurged! Was nice to order a bottle of water, have the staff put ice in the glass for you, put in lemon or lime, and fill the glass. The water would then go in a tub with ice right at your umbrella.
9. I recommend dinner in Ammoudi bay. It is certainly off the beaten path to some degree, but if you like seafood this is the place to go. Little restaurants sandwiched between the cliffs of the caldera and the sea. We had a table right at the water’s edge. If leaned wrong in our chairs we would be in the water! My wife and I splurged – had fresh (and I mean fresh – we saw them cutting it up that morning) calamari and whole lobster with champagne to toast! It was awesome and an unforgettable romantic dinner by the water!
1. We arrived late to the hotel, like 23:30 or so and our welcome and greeting to the resort was less than stellar. No one showed us around the resort (or even said, tomorrow morning we will show you around) and we waited while another couple got checked in. We just kind of stood there. When we got into our honeymoon suite room, the A/C was not turned on and the room was hot. The Jacuzzi hot tub in our room was SOOO hot, you could barely touch it! Knowing how much I was paying, I was actually highly concerned that I made the wrong choice of places to stay and was not happy. All my anxiety and concern evaporate the next day when we went to breakfast and the staff greeted us by name (Mr. and Mrs. Xxx) – not sure how they knew that. And then Lefty (see above comments) welcomed us and went over everything about the Sun Rocks and Santorini.
2. My opinion on the beaches in Santorini is NG, no good. Definitely do NOT come to Santorini if you are looking for nice beaches. I did not get to Red Beach, which looked intriguing to me. They are certainly not white and certainly not sand. Due to this, the water is not “pretty” in my opinion. Will find much nicer beaches on other Greek Island, in the Caribbean, Hawaii, or South Pacific for sure!
3. Word of WARNING about the pool – the sun lounges are VERY limited and it can be frustrating to get a set of lounges for you and your spouse. We seemed to luck out and did not really have a problem, but I saw many not-so-happy couples show up and find no space available. If this is what you were planning on doing for the day, morning, afternoon – you could be disappointed and frustrated. Plan accordingly – even if it means going to the lounges at 10:00. But be respectful – it is just not acceptable to put your stuff down to “reserve” lounges and then go away. If you are there at the pool or eating at the pool restaurant, that is cool. I hate to say this, but I almost wonder if the Sun Rocks needs to consider implementing some sort of policy and making guests aware.
4. Our room was okay. For the money I was spending and compared to other hotels I have stayed at, the room was okay. We stayed in a honeymoon suite. I believe the room # was 109 (there are not numbers on the rooms). I looked on Trip Advisor extensively to help determine which room class I wanted to book, as I felt the Sun Rocks website did not do that great a job to help showcase the different rooms. The room was within sight and ear shot of the hotel “front desk” and main way in and out of the resort. Thus, there was a lot of foot traffic all the time, which certainly took away from really any privacy. You could not sit / lounge on the veranda in privacy, as the neighboring room shared the walk space. Plus, on the veranda was a closet used by the cleaning staff. The first morning I woke up and wanted to walk out onto the veranda to enjoy the caldera view and there were cleaning staff there (which only added to my frustration and anxiety from the arrival the night before – see above)! The room consisted of a huge main room area, but it was only filled with 2 sitting chairs, and little desk, and a small table. Felt this space was poorly utilized and not really practical for use. Still ended up with suitcases on the floor. There was a Jacuzzi hot tub with an outside window. The window could not be closed due to an issue with it, which would have been nice to close for some quietness. Because there was no real privacy, you had to be “careful” when in the Jacuzzi, if you can interpret what I am saying. The Jacuzzi was a constant problem to ever get the temperature and jets working. Was either too hot to touch, or they seemed to turn it off which was not good either. This was a major perk to the room, and it just was frustrating. The guest should be able to adjust the temperature and the jets without having to ask. The bed and bedroom were okay. The bedroom room was separated from that main room in an open fashion which was nice, but the bedroom area and bed were too small and cramped. The bathroom was disappointing. One thing I have come to appreciate is a nice, fancy bathroom. The bathroom was too small. The shower water pressure was a trickle, it was a single sink and not enough counter surface. Typically on vacation with a pool / sea, we commonly end up taking 2 showers a day – in the morning and then in the evening to get ready for dinner. Thus, the bathroom is key, and ours could have been much improved. The robes and slippers were too small for me (the husband) which frustrated me, and I am not a “big” guy. The pictures on the Sun Rocks website is NOT of the Honeymoon room I stayed in. I would NOT recommend my room.
5. This one is not really something Sun Rocks can deal with, but there were power lines running through the resort. Thus, in my picture of the beautiful caldera, you can see the eye-sore power lines. Kind of frustrating and had to be aware when taking pictures and such.
6. Probably the overall main reason I would give a grade of B to Sun Rocks is the inconsistency of the service. At times the service was impeccable. Putting out towel on pool lounge, good balance when at the pool of asking if need anything to “bugging”, wonderful breakfast service. Then at other times the service was far from desirable – to a very slow morning at breakfast, to my wife asking for cream for her coffee and it not coming until her coffee was cold, to feeling like you were begging for service at the pool, to seeing some of the staff standing idle while you could be helped. For a SLH, this inconsistency in service must be improved upon.
7. Not really a negative, but just a heads up – there are lots of steps! Not a big deal to me, but just something to be aware of. If you have bad knees, are elderly, or have some other issue, you should take heed!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sumptuous aesthetics abound, reflecting its luxurious, low-key, in-house lifestyle where complete peace and tranquility in a magical setting artfully combine with abodes flourishing in comfort, convenience and seduction. Enmeshed around it is the meticulous attention to detail that makes all great hotels bask in magnanimity, that has made Sun Rocks Boutique Hotel, a key destination, time and time again, for Santorini weddings and honeymoons, a prominent couples only hotel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sun Rocks Santorini
- Sun Rocks Hotel Santorini/Firostefani