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“amazing view”
Review of Ira Hotel & Spa

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Ira Hotel & Spa
Ranked #4 of 21 Hotels in Firostefani
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed 1 July 2013

The whole stay was superb. Amazing view from our room.The staff and facilities are excellent and all needs were met. Everyone is very friendly and make you feel at ease.Overall a very comfortable and relaxing time. Staff went out of their way to help. Breakfast was high quality.We liked it! Relaxing and hospitable!

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank gkotso
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 22 June 2013

This was our second favorite stay in Greece as far as accommodations go. The hotel is perched on the cliff side just 20 minutes up the trail from Fira. Beautiful views from the patio areas and charming room, although a bit small. Note as well that our room had steps with no railing leading up to the bed and bath area of the room, so if you have trouble with balance or steps, you may want to request something that does not have this type of set up. Also, getting to the hotel and our room was a series of multiple steps. First down to the hotel entrance, then down to the office, then down to the next level and finally down to the level we were staying at. Maria at the office was one of the most delightful and charming people we met at our accommodations and we would stay here again if we make it back to this beautiful island.

Room Tip: If you don't mind the steps, get something down near the pool.
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  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Kawhileiwhilei
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 June 2013

We recently returned from a 4 night stay at the Ira. I read all of the reviews on here and didn't really understand the majority of complaints. As far as the hotel being too "hilly", excuse me people and look around. The entire AREA is on a cliff. How exactly are they supposed to build the buildings and make the pathways. If you are on a cliff you gotta go up or down at some point! It's an old, old, beautiful town located on the remnants of a volcano, you have to be able to walk!

We arrived into Fira by Blue Star Ferry and the driver for the Ira Hotel was there promptly to greet us with a sign. We got in the air conditioned mini bus and went up up up the mountain through Fira and then into Firostefani. Yes, there is a cobble stone path that links the cities together. We arrived to the hotel Ira and were greeted by the staff who kindly took our bags for us. (no hands held out at any time). We were met by darling Maria at reception who checked us in right away and we were led to our room. We were in Ermis and it was a nice size room in comparison to some of the hotel rooms we've had in Europe. Remember people, you are NOT in America any longer. The bed was a double, there was a long desk with a chair, a mini fridge, closet with storage and some more storage by the dresser/desk. The bathroom was large enough with a toilet, shower and sink. Yes the shower did have a handheld wand and if you wanted to wash your hair, you had to first wet it, lather it, then rinse while holding the wand. It was difficult, but it wasn't the most convenient thing. No big deal. At times the water pressure would change on me and the water would go from warm to HOT. It's virtually impossible to keep the water in the shower, but there is a drain on the bathroom floor and we had to use towels at times to step on as the floor got soaked after every shower. Really, this was no big deal to us.

I felt that the bed was uncomfortably hard, but DH seemed to like it. No, I wasn't a fan of the color of paint in the room (bright blue and pink) and yes the bedding could use updating but it was clean and fresh and none of that mattered when we opened the patio door and stepped out onto the balcony. At that point, I didn't care if I was staying in a cave. Words cannot adequately express the beauty that greets you in the Caldera. The water is just a stunning blue, the volcano is gorgeous contrast....the cruise ships and schooners come into port and if you look to your left, you see all of the houses and hotels built into the side of the mountain. EVERYONE in Fira and Firostefani has to walk and up down those hills. There is NO getting around it. What a beautiful place.

Breakfast starts at 7 and I would run and get a cup of tea and croissant and run back to my balcony just to sit and stare at the view. It's honestly one of the most beautiful places I've been. Speaking of breakfast, you're not staying at the Ritz, so don't expect a Ritz style breakfast buffet, but they do have a decent breakfast. There were eggs made in a different way every day, plenty of breads and croissants and home made jams and jellies. Lots of fruit, lunch meats, cheeses, little puff pastries filled with different items every day.....(spinach, cheese, etc) Also cereal, FRESH juices, coffees and teas. You could sit out in the lovely courtyard and eat or they were happy to provide you with a tray for you to take your food back to your room. They ALWAYS asked if there was anything they could do for us.

The pool is on the smallish side, but really, I don't think anyone is there to swim laps. It would be wonderful for a quick dip to cool off. The deck overlooks the Caldera and has ample lounge chairs and umbrellas for everyone. The hotel provides you with nice size plush beach towels, which you could also take to the beach if you wanted.

The "lounge" area, is absolutely lovely with a very large sectional couch, a bookshelf with books to borrow and a computer for guests use. Yes, the wifi was free. In your room and out. Sometimes it was very slow, other times it wasn't. The last two days it was so slow I couldn't upload any more photo albums. No big deal.

Navigating the hotel itself is tricky because of how it is built into the mountain and yes there are LOTS of narrow staircases so you do have to be careful. If you have problems walking, don't stay here.

DH and I did the walk from the hotel to Oia. We were told it was 5 miles and about a 3.5 hour walk. We pretty much took our time and we made it in 2.5 hours. What an amazing walk with incredible views. Again, if you are in poor health or have any impediment that would keep you from walking, then don't do it. At times it is very up and down and at times you are walking on cobblestone, sometimes pavement, sometimes very slippery rock and sometimes loose soil. You just have to be careful and pay attention. It was worth it to us, but like I told DH, I would have cried if someone told me I had to walk back. We took the bus back for 1.6 euro each. Make sure you have plenty of water and that you use the bathroom before you leave. there are NO facilities along the way. I had to find a rock to hide behind because drank too much water and well, it had to come out. Also, put on sunscreen ESPECIALLY on the backs of your legs and calves. The sun was at our backs the entire trip and we didn't think of that and got completely sunburned on our legs. There was one little stand where a lady was selling waters and drinks and snacks.....

On our last day, our flight didn't leave till 825 pm and we had to check out at noon as they had a wedding party coming in and needed our room. They were very gracious in letting us store our luggage and use the lounge and pool for as long as we wanted. We walked into town to do some more shopping, then laid by the pool until it was time to go. They called for the car at 7pm and we were to the airport by 715.

I loved the hotel and all of the staff and I would definitely stay here again if I ever return to Santorini.

Some tips: We bought sodas and wine at one of the little markets down the walkway and brought them along with snacks back into our room for the evenings. Much cheaper than buying the items from the mini bar. We got waters for .30 euro and cokes for .80. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from in the area.

Room Tip: just make sure you get a room with a caldera view and a balcony. It's a must.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank suezinohio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 May 2013

We stayed 3 nights in IRA hotel end of May. Hotel is really nice, with multiple terraces, a small swimming pool and a sensational view on the volcano and the city of Firostefani. We were delighted by the service staff, which was very welcoming and helpful. Nevertheless, we spent a first awful night in the first room we had. Because of the wind, there was a lot of noise in the room (whistling through the window and pounding hard at the wall) which forced us to change room in the middle of the night. We were proposed a new room the next day but it's a pity the hotel never offered us any compensation. In general, decoration in the rooms is a bit outdated, especially for an hotel with this level of prices.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank poivreblanc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 May 2013

Short version: we loved this place (booked six nights, and then stayed another two). Given our great experience, I was curious about the handful of negative reviews here, so I’ll give my perspective on the issues a few others raised in a moment. But first...

Rule number one: If you go to Greece, you have to go to Santorini. Otherwise it’s like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower (okay, so it’s a lousy analogy, but bear with me).

Rule number two: If you go to Santorini, you need to splurge and get a room on the caldera, overlooking the sea. This is arguably the world’s most beautiful island, so trust me - this is not a place to skimp and save on a room. Being able to walk out onto your very own balcony and see the incredible views that Santorini affords is well worth the extra money. Think feelings of happiness and well-being every time you walk out onto your balcony (which is why you go on vacation in the first place, right?)

There are a lot of hotels with caldera-front rooms, but you could not do better than the Ira. The location is prime: high up and on the cliff edge, with sweeping views across all of the islands that make up this glorious little spot (one of Santorini’s other names was Kalliste, “the most beautiful”). The rooms are classy, clean and cozy; tile floors, extremely comfortable beds (ours was a king-sized dream), and they haven’t stinted on cost when it comes to furnishings, linen and other features. There’s a small fridge (too small, actually - my one suggestion for improvement), a safe, and free wifi (which is a bit on and off, but mostly works). Lovely small pool, situated on a terrace with another unparalleled view. And a rooftop terrace (ditto). And a lounge area (ditto).

When we were hotel hunting here, I’d narrowed down choices to four well-reviewed places that all had caldera rooms. Then I saw this statement about the Ira under its policies: “Children cannot be accommodated at the hotel”. Yes! Sign me up! Don’t get me wrong: I like kids - I even have one of my own - but when I go on what is intended to be a relaxing vacation, I don’t appreciate someone else’s unsupervised brats running around and screaming the place down in the room above/below/next door/half a mile away. So this is an adult hotel, one for those who prefer their tranquil appreciation of Santorini’s unique beauty unsullied by youthful cacophony. (Actually, there was a small child staying on the last day - I don’t know how it got in).

Ira’s staff were always friendly and helpful, even before we arrived. We were picked up at the ferry (the driver wouldn’t hear of a tip despite lugging our large suitcase around). Maria - who seems to be everywhere - manages the place with unfailing competence and good humor, and is ever willing to answer questions or provide help and advice.

Tip #1: If you book a caldera room (and you’re going to - see above), request the one called Artemis... it’s at the top, it’s lovely, and the bathroom has a sizeable Jacuzzi tub. Most importantly, the view from the private balcony is breathtaking.

Tip #2: Don’t fly from Athens, take the ferry - and the slow one at that. Blue Star Ferries runs a service that takes a little less than 8 hours and calls at Paros, Naxos and Ios along the way. Unlike with the high-speed (5 hour) ferry, you can sit outside and enjoy the world going by as you cruise past island after island until you reach Santorini. But wherever you get off, be quick about it - the ferries have a fast turnaround, and if you don’t pay attention you may find yourself with a surprise new destination.

Tip #3: Like many places in Greece, many establishments here do not take credit cards (the hotel does, of course). So be prepared to bring cash or an ATM card.

Other notes: The hotel is around 15-20 minutes leisurely walk from the center of Fira, and the path along the caldera gives endless stunning views, with various restaurants along the way. If you want to buy essentials, a small grocery/convenience store is located a few minutes walk from the hotel on the main road (towards the center of Fira), and another mini-mart is nearby on the caldera walk.

As I said, a handful of people here didn’t like the Ira. Here are my comments on issues raised by others in the “poor” and “average” reviews:

1. “Rooms are very small”. I guess it depends on what you expect. Our room (Artemis) was perfectly adequate, and sweet. Split level bedroom and living area, bathroom on the level below. Actually, the more I think about this the more unfair it seems: our room was larger than the average American hotel room, and way, way nicer.

2. “Bathroom is down stone steps, dangerous to negotiate at night”. I can see how this might be an issue for some people; certainly if you’re traveling with someone elderly or otherwise mobility-impaired you should consider this. We didn’t find it to be a problem. Besides, if you hadn’t noticed, Santorini is all about stone steps - many of them, everywhere!

3. “Bathroom is small with no shower, just a bath”. I didn’t find our bathroom particularly small but the lack of a regular enclosed shower is a fair comment... there is a shower head in the large Jacuzzi bathtub, and no curtain. This was a minor inconvenience for us, but if you really can’t survive without a regular shower, you won’t care for the arrangement here.

4. “Pool is tiny”. Well, sure, it’s on the small side, but it’s not tiny. We loved it - one end is deep and the temperature was perfectly refreshing. It’s there for you to cool off, not swim laps. And this pool has one of the best views in Santorini.

5. “Furnishings, bedspreads etc, are Motel 6". I don’t know if this comment was valid whenever it was written, but it certainly isn’t now... everything was good quality and tasteful, and we found the property to be immaculately maintained in general.

6. “Breakfast is unimaginative”. Also not true (if it ever was). There was a wide variety of items available every day (various breads, cheeses, salami, tomatoes, yoghurt, cereal) and warm items that came and went (mini-pizzas one day, scrambled eggs another, a delicious spinach pie the next).

7. “Not worth the money”. This is of course entirely a matter of perspective, and also of when you book and what you pay. We stayed in early May, when the weather is lovely and the island isn’t overwhelmed as it is in high season. We booked through booking.com and had a wonderful superior caldera view double room for 135 Euros a night (when we added two days to our stay the hotel gave us the same rate for the extra days). For the view and the accommodation we had, this was a steal. You’ll pay more in high season, of course. Ultimately it comes down to how you look at things: if a cosy, charming room with a fantastic view, in a hotel that’s quiet and superbly situated, is worth the price, then this is the place for you. But if you expect a huge American-style hotel room with a giant TV and lots of luxury features, then you may be disappointed. But how many of those rooms come with this view? (Answer: zero).

8. “The walk from Fira is all uphill”. Seriously, dude? I’m 57 and unfit and it was fine (it isn’t as if it’s steep). You can’t walk anywhere on Santorini without going uphill some of the time. Besides, why not take the glass-half-full approach: Cool - the walk to the center of town is all downhill!

9. Finally... “TV reception was poor”. It was fine when we stayed here... but with Santorini outside, what on earth are you doing watching TV?!

All in all, a fantastic stay... our time on Santorini ranks as one of the most relaxing vacations ever, and the Ira and its staff were a significant part of that.

Room Tip: The room called Artemis is high up and has a great view.
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  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank Sweetkoshka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 March 2013

We booked this room through a travel agent as part of our Greek Honeymoon. This hotel was excellent, and by far the best we stayed in during our trip. The room we had was very unique, had two levels, a balcony and a Caldera view. The woman at the front desk was EXTREMELY helpful, and put up with all of our questions with a smile and was never short on advice as to where to eat, what beaches to go to, and where to watch the sunsets. From this hotel, you can take the footpath right into Fira and there are many shops and views along the way. The included breakfast was modest, yet satistfying. We did not want to leave!

A few tips:
Try to bring cash with you, as there are not many cash machines in FiraStefani
Rent an ATV, they are very fun and quite safe if you use common sense
Try to visit a winery, this was one of the highlights of our stay.
Dont rush to get back to the ferry, they are usually late and it is quite hot at the port
If the ferry offers discounted rooms once you are on board, TAKE them, they are very reasonable and equipped with beds, and private restroom with shower.

Room Tip: The Zues and Apollo rooms are excelent!
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Sebastian B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2013

My stay at Hotel Ira was amazing from beginning to end, I was sad to leave! The hotel organised a car to pick us up at the airport and leave us to the port to catch a ferry when we were leaving. We stayed in one of the cave style rooms and although didn't have a view of the ocean it was amazing! Huge big bed built back into the rock that kept the sleeping area cool, the bathroom had a really large walk in shower and the living space was very comfortable.

Outside our room the little bridges and stairs makes this hotel truly unique and you can watch the sunset from a great viewpoint while having a glass of wine or a beer :). The pool area is also amazing with a breath-taking view of the Caldera. The best part had to be the food for breakfast, so delicious. For dinner there are loads of great little restaurants within walking distance that the hosts and staff are happy to recommend.

I couldn't recommend this place more, it was truly an amazing experience.

Room Tip: no matter what room you take there are plenty of places within the hotel where you can enjoy the vie...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank travellingdarling15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ira Hotel & Spa

Address: | Santorini, Firostefani 847 00, Greece
Phone Number:
Region: Greece > South Aegean > Cyclades > Santorini > Firostefani
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Firostefani
#2 Luxury Hotel in Firostefani
#5 Romantic Hotel in Firostefani
#6 Family Hotel in Firostefani
Price Range: £94 - £288 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Ira Hotel & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Find yourself in between the clear skies and the eternal blue of the Aegean Sea! Relax and enjoy one of the world’s most amazing places! You are here: in Ira Hotel & Spa swimming pool area where caldera’s beauty meets summer’s loveliness ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ira Hotel Firostefani
Ira Hotel & Spa Santorini/Firostefani

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