funnily enough, I’ve managed to put off writing this review for far too long.
we had a 5 week European holiday in july/august which we planned for nearly 18 months. santorini held a special place in our hearts because we’d been there 13 years earlier and had always dreamed of returning. we had previously stayed in perissa but new for certain we wanted to stay this time overlooking the caldera. as anyone who has looked for accommodation overlooking the caldera can attest, finding a hotel you’re really happy with can be an exhaustive process.
and it was no different for us. we were intentionally picky about what we were looking for, reading as many “terrible” posts as we did “excellent” on trip advisor to make sure we were getting a balanced viewpoint of each hotel.
the reason I mention all this is that by the time we picked artemis, we’d almost put too much time into it and in the process, inadvertently lumped a lot of pressure on the hotel to live up to our expectations. we were there for five nights and it was costing a lot of money and we went there hoping for - and dare I say, expecting – a perfect caldera holiday.
as can be seen, we didn’t rate this stay “excellent”. I think that’s perhaps why I’ve put off writing this review, because deep down I wanted it to be “excellent” but knew honestly it wasn’t worthy of that rating. having said that, i’ll very quickly step in here and say there were many “excellent” aspects of staying at artemis.
first and foremost, the staff. the hosts - angela and chris - were wonderful. they run a very well organized ship and are intent on making their guests welcome and part of the family. as others have mentioned, the idea of the 7.30pm surprise was the perfect example of their focus on the guest. whilst we were there, the sun was setting around 8.15pm. and as you tend to do whilst on santorini, you watch the sunset every day. as part of their wonderful hospitality, angela and chris send mystery treats to each balcony anywhere between 7 and 8pm. this was usually either a cocktail or some kind of dessert. it’s such a simple idea. but it added such a simple level of excitement to that time of day.
there are three other staff working there – eddie, julietta and gazzie. they were equally fantastic. they were always smiling and so interested in connecting with the guests. a lot of hotel reviews we read mentioned as a negative the attitude of the staff. nothing could be further from the truth at artemis – it was one big, warm welcoming family.
the location is unsurpassed. imerovigli is geographically the highest point on santorini. it offers amazing views over the caldera, including west to oia and the sunset. it’s fair to say that just about any hotel along the caldera has amazing views out over the water. but not all have equally amazing views to the west. skaros rock, which juts out in front of imerovigli, is somewhat of a barrier to the view of villages to the east – specifically firostefani and to a lesser extent, fira. there are many many hotels in these parts which have almost blocked views of oia and definitely restricted views of the sunset.
imerovigli however, has undoubtedly the best views on offer. and artemis sits high up on the slope. the view from lower down is still good, but not as good as the view higher up.
breakfast was served on your balcony from 9am, at a cost of €14 p/p. I don’t think we ate a better breakfast during the three weeks we were in Greece. we never finished what was given to us, such were the generous servings on offer. and with possibly one of the most amazing views in the world on offer, breakfast was an unusual highlight of the day.
but we didn’t give our stay an “excellent” rating, and there has to be a reason.
the rooms were okay. not great, but okay. we were happy with our room, but... we’re not high maintenance guests and weren’t expecting anything palatial. after all, you’re there for what’s outside not what’s inside. but the rooms were small-ish. we were in a junior suite, and it’s not unreasonable to expect a slightly larger room with the money being paid. yes, you’re paying for the view, but it’s not unreasonable to expect a little more.
being ex-backpackers from many years ago, we are easily pleased. the bathroom was fine, but I would imagine many guests would have been disappointed with the shower. the water pressure was almost non-existent and without a shower screen of any type, it was impossible to stop the bathroom floor getting covered in water. and when I stood in the bath to have a shower, my head was only inches from the ceiling.
does any of this matter? not particularly to us. but in our view, it was enough to prevent us giving the hotel an “excellent” rating. but there were other minor irritations.
our room was one of two sitting alongside each other – the two highest rooms in the hotel. the balconies for both rooms are adjoining, separated only by a small two foot high wall. so when you’re both on your balcony, there’s no privacy. this wasn’t an issue with the other rooms. but it was an issue for us. as it turned out, our neighbours were lovely people. but we had envisioned a private balcony and it was anything but.
and lastly, we had a problem with the sun. our respective balconies were protected from the morning sun and offered us shade until about 2pm. but from 2pm until about 7.30pm, it copped the full force of the afternoon sun. and in summertime Greece, the sun is hot. they had umbrellas on lower balconies, but not on our balconies because of the prospect of wind blowing them away. the end result for this was that we couldn’t use our balcony from 2pm onwards. we had to schedule our day around the idea of not being able to use our balcony in the afternoon. we noticed one of the guests in the lower rooms sitting in the shade of his umbrella reading a book one afternoon. we would have loved to have been able to do that, but we could not – it was way too hot. we had this amazing view from our balcony, but we were unable to actually enjoy it for at least 5 hours of the day. so in many ways, we felt like we were denied one of the simple pleasures in staying in a hotel overlooking the caldera. I asked angela about it, but all the umbrellas are cemented in to prevent them blowing away and they didn’t have another one to offer us.
as I said, this wasn’t a problem for the other rooms. but again, it was enough for us to knock a point off what was otherwise a memorable stay. would we stay there again? of course. but we’d simply choose a different room.
- Also Known As:
- Artemis Villas Hotel Imerovigli
- Artemis Villas Santorini/Imerovigli