When in Santorini, one must stay at a caldera-rim hotel. The views are like no where else on earth. We considered hotels in Fira but read it was too commercial, Ia was too remote, so we finally settled on Imerovigli and chose the Astra.
First of all, we were glad we arranged for hotel pick-up from the airport. That way, when you arrive at Imerovigli Village, your Astra porters will be already waiting to carry your luggage up and down numerous odd-shaped steps and pathways to check-in! We saw other visitors arrive at the village square without greeters and they were completely lost - not a great way to start a vacation!
At check-in, (ours was a breeze) you'll be given a few sheets of useful information about the layout of the town, where to eat and what to do. We did what the guide books suggested as well as a few of the hotel's recommendations and found there's nothing quite like local knowledge. Every place we dined from the hotel listing we enjoyed tremendously. Even their suggestions for sightseeing were already on top of our list. We found everything fabulous except for the sunset sail on the Thalassa. The views from the sea are indeed amazing but the smell of diesel from the engine throughout the trip (hey- wasn't this meant to be a sailing boat?) was bad. The cheesy saxophone player (one of crew) belting out Kenny G specials really didn't quite go with the spectacular sunset either.
Our spacious 1 bedroom apartment was typical Cycladic island-style, with white-washed walls and stone floors. We loved the fish sculpture by Yorgos Kypris on our living room wall. We had a small kitchenette on the side and a tiny shower-only cobalt-blue titled bathroom. Our bed was large and firm but we wouldn't have minded a few rugs here and there as we found the decor somewhat spartan. We also had a breakfast nook just outside our bedroom wall. All this came with views, views like no where else on earth! There's something so heavenly about enjoying a fabulous Astra breakfast in your terry cloth robe, the air incredibly crisp and clean and looking down at the azure-blue ocean yonder.
In a nutshell, go can't go wrong with the Astra. The people are nice and very helpful and Santorini is beautiful. The facilities are good – free wi-fi (they'll even loan you laptops), next-day laundry (they charge a few Euros for a huge bagful), room service.
Please do arrange for hotel pick-up if it's your first time in Santorini. Caldera-rim hotels are literally carved from the side of the volcano and getting to them could mean lots of steps and walking. Almost impossible with heavy luggage!
That said, bring good walking shoes. The coastal walk to Fira is breathtaking day or night. Some portions of the walk has worn-out steps and can be slippery when wet.
Don't miss out on the Astra breakfasts which they deliver to your room or poolside – wherever you prefer. The pastries, deli items and the home-made Greek yoghurt is just what you need to start the day!
Skip the Standard apartments and book a Superior one for more privacy. We had a lovely Standard apartment facing the pool. Wonderful when the pool is quiet but horrible when the deck chairs all fill up and other guests are just a few feet from your front door at the bar.
Tap water in Santorini is very hard. We purchased lots of bottles of mineral water to brush our teeth with. Our favorite grocery store nearby was Kapellakis.
Rent a Smart car and drive around the beautiful island! The front desk will arrange everything, even delivering the car to you. We absolutely loved Ammoudhi – the small fishing village below Ia. We enjoyed lovely seafood prepared by great folks at Dimitri's Taverna. My husband even had a dip with the fishes in the cold, crystal-clear water. Visit the wineries and the beaches. The drive up to Ancient Thira is windy, steep and narrow so be prepared! Also expect to do lots of walking at the mountain top.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Built at the highest point of Santorini’s steep cliffs at the legendary caldera, the Astra Suites complex enjoys the privilege of a magical panoramic view to the caldera and the immense Aegean Sea. It is the place where everything and everybody “conspire” to make you feel a VIP during your vacations. Twenty seven sumptuous Suites decorated in Cycladic style and 8 tempting suites with jacuzzi and private swimming pool welcome you to a hospitable environment where the discreet service of each individual guest is the complex’s basic instinct, and the protection of his private moments constitutes the staff’s basic priority. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Astra Hotel Imerovigli
- Astra Apartments Hotel
- Astra Apartments Imerovigli
- Astra Apartments Santorini
- Astra Suites Santorini/Imerovigli