Location, Location, Location!
This is a perfectly positioned boutique hotel, that offers cave style rooms and cave style bathrooms in the superior suites. Our balcony, in room 7, offered uninterrupted, 180 degree views, and front of house seats of the amazing Caldera and the famous Skaros rock just below us.
We arrived late, in total darkness, and were met by John, the immensely cheerful and smiley late night porter, who warmly greeted us, took our breakfast order, and then escorted us to our room. We had a very clean, compact, pretty, boutique/ cave style room, and lovely ensuite with rain shower.
What a treat awaited us on waking the next morning, when looking out of our door which faced our balcony, was the Caldera in all its glory...the views were simply breath taking. The sunsets from here were also better than anywhere else: we always watched the sunset from our balcony, before we left for the restaurants. We felt it was definitely the best decision to stay here in Imerovigli, as it is a very well maintained resort area and everything is easy to get to. We felt it is better maintained, and much more upmarket than Fira, which is the port town, where all the cruise ships come in, and so Fira, although interesting, and fun to visit, felt more touristy, with more hussle and bussle, long queues for the cable car, and more people to squeeze past in the busy shopping streets. It all depends on what each person is seeking in a hoilday.
At the Iliovasillema Suites in Imerovigli, the staff were very friendly, extremely polite and very efficient.The team is superbly lead by Elina, the ops manager, who is clearly very passionate about ensuring everyone is happy, and has everything they need. She is so polite, warm hearted and respectful, and works very hard to offer an efficient service . She also offered great tips for eating out and places to visit. Alex, in reception, was utterly charming and so helpful. She also gave us great tips on places to visit, one being Tranquilo at Perisssa beach. We went and had a fabulous meal there.
Breakfast at Iliovasillema is continental style, with beautiful homemade fig jam and pots of honey, but you can also add to this by pre-ordering from the menu, e.g boiled eggs, fruit salad, ham etc ...all fresh and all prepared by Lia who served us our breakfast each morning, always with a smile and a genuine passion for excellent customer service. We also had lunch a few times on our balcony during our timeout from touring the island and on every occasion it was delicious! (It's a small menu but enough choice there for an easy lunch). Roberto also never stops smiling and always greeted us cheerfully. The whole team all work extremely hard and it can't be easy dealing with such a variety of clientele. Plus we had storms there for a few days...the stairs became rivers of water and the whole of Imerovigli looked liked someone had thrown mud everywhere. The staff worked tirelessly to clear it all up whilst trying to offer the usual services...they all stayed calm, kept smiling and got on with it.
There are some good restaurants in Imerovigli and Firostefani and more in Fira and Oia, Perissa and other resorts, so you will be spoilt for choice. There are a few supermarkets and a wine shop in Imerovigli and also a cash machine, just past the bus stop on the right, in the wall of Sunbird(?) Car Rentals.
We felt the views from Imerovigli are amongst the best in Santorini. We felt that Imerovigli gave the very best views across the Caldera and one could see both ends of the crescent shape of the Island ( you can't get this view in the other parts owing to the curvature of the cliffs) If you stay at the beach side of the island , you will miss the nightly sunsets and miss out on being in the most beautiful part of the island for the incredible views, but if you are on a budget, then Perissa beach is a great option, with lovely beach side bars and not too touristy. Perissa has a lovely chill out vibe. Also you can get a taxi back to Imerovigli for 20-25 euros depending on the time of night ( we went for the day and stayed for live music.The buses had long stopped running by the time we left!)
From Imerovigli, it is so easy to get to Fira on the bus (8 minutes) and from there to Akritori, Ancient Thira, Pyrgos, the Lighthouse, the airport, and also the islands beaches, all accessible from the central bus station in Fira.
You can also easily get the bus to Oia from Imerovigli (15 minutes bus ride), or in the other direction walk/get the bus/taxi to Firostefani (15 minutes walk. Take flat shoes, ladies, and a cardigan as its breezy most evenings!) . Make sure you do the walk through the incredible upper and lower pathways of Imerovigli to Firostefani and onto Fira, through the little cliff streets that are the essence of Santorini.
My second choice to stay would be Firostefani now we've seen it, which I also felt reflected the very typical essence of Santorini. Fira felt a bit scruffy/touristy by comparison. Oia was very pretty in parts, in the tourist street areas, but as it is at one end of the island, it is a bit of a trek to all other attractions, so it would be best to hire a car if you stay in Oia.
Would I stay at Iliovasillema again? Unreservedly YES! Especially for a special occasion, for the best views,for the customer service, and also because the price is more reasonable than other nearby hotels, all of which are small, (also check out laterooms.com for special deals). The staff here really care about their customers...I like the fact that they are genuine and when they smile they mean it from their hearts. They are sensitive souls who work long hours to create special memories for your holiday...please treat them with respect and be aware they are humans too, and just trying to do their very best for you.
It was my 50th whilst we were away and when we had come back from our day out the room maid, Joanna, who must have noticed my birthday cards had placed a posy of pretty flowers which she had hand picked and placed in ourroom. How incredibly thoughtful, and typical of the customer service here.., little extra touches of thoughtfulness that mean so much. It was so much appreciated. Joanna also is fantastic at cleaning the rooms! They were spotless after she had finished each day.
We just want to thank these wonderful people for making our stay with them such a positive and thoroughly enjoyable experience. They deserve a medal for all their efforts to offer consistently high standards of customer service, warm cheery welcomes each day, genuine concern for their guests, and a genuine desire to ensure all customers receive a high standard of service and happy experiences whilst under their expert care.
We will miss you guys. Thank you for making our holiday so special!
Hope this review helps. Wherever you stay, we wish you a wonderful stay in Santorini!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In Imerovigli, one of the most beautiful villages of Santorini Island, you will find the ILIOVASILEMA HOTEL APARTMENTS ("Iliovasilema" is the Greek word for "sunset"). Iliovasilema is situated on the enchanting and world famous Caldera. Built 350m above sea level, offers to its guests the most fascinating view of the volcano and the little islands of the Aegean Sea, as well as of the dazzling sunset. Iliovasilema was initially built in year 1996, has been renovated and remodeled in year 2002 and still grows, following always the rules and the tradition of the Cycladic architecture! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Iliovasillema Hotel Imerovigli
- Iliovasilema Hotel Imerovigli
- Iliovasilema Suites Santorini/Imerovigli