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Santorini / Grace Hotel Santorini, Auberge Resorts Collection

Modishly minimalist across its seven tiers, this ultra-chic Cycladic boutique has the powder white colour scheme you’d expect in the world-famous caldera and sweet touches like keepsake Polaroids on arrival.

With front row seats to the daily sunset spectacle, you’d be forgiven for assuming Grace Hotel Santorini, Auberge Resorts Collection would be teaming with phone cameras and bronzed beauties in theatrical poses, but that just isn’t the case. A world away from Oia’s clamorous crowds (but just a short car journey in reality) and with no immediate neighbours, the coveted quieter side of the caldera is encapsulated in its terraced contours. While most hotels on the island claim to have views of the sun from dawn until dusk, Grace’s location at the highest and most central point near the village of Imeroviligi (whose name even means “view spot”) can actually come through on the promise. No wonder it’s a Carrier favourite.

Travel notes:

  • 20 rooms and suites; 1 villa
  • The Bespoke by Grace programme encourages guests to get to know the local culture through experiences like artisan sandal making and visiting a local honey farm
  • The minimum age here is 14 years but younger children are permitted in the villa and in Santaro restaurant
  • Although the striking views are some to never be forgotten, the elevated location and 7 different levels make it one we don’t recommend for guests who may struggle with mobility
  • The Oia-Thira hiking path – known as the most beautiful hike in Santorini – runs through Imeroviligi and is a must do

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A sense of place

Plenty of style there may be, but Grace Hotel certainly is not lacking in substance. In fact, it excels at it, with staff welcoming guests with a warmth and sense of personal exclusivity that can sometimes be mislaid in the busier areas. New arrivals marvel that they’ve managed to bag this much space on Santorini of all places, before setting out to meet the chef to go over their gastronomic yes’s and no’s. Meanwhile, the honeymooners found lounging around the infinity pool (said to be the biggest in the Caldera) get lost in the hum of the mellow music that melts away tensions and the views of Agios Georgios church, while some zenned-out yogis can be found mid-flow at sunrise on Skaros rock.

In pursuit of…

…being shamelessly spoilt. From crossing the threshold you’ll want for nothing, even the things you didn’t know you needed. The turndown service is tailored to daily desires, bespoke fragrances waft through rooms and there’s a whopping 14 different menus for breakfast alone, including a five course champagne option. The most thoughtful of gestures begins at the reception desk, where a candid Polaroid is taken and then whisked away to be put in a personal memory box; there’s also a muslin bag for collecting keepsakes in there, like the cork from that special wine bottle and some tea leaves from an afternoon tea experience.

"A world away from Oia’s clamorous crowds and with no immediate neighbours, the coveted quieter side of the caldera is encapsulated in its terraced contours. "

Wake up here

White-washed and wonderful, the unicolour rooms are broken up by bold blue and purple hues and black and white photography – the artists of which can be discovered by downloading a special app. With a nothing-is-too-much-trouble approach, in-suite service stems from private dinners to yoga mats and Pilates balls delivered at a moment’s notice when the mood arises, making it almost enough to warrant not leaving at all. Guests see double in the Grace Suite, where two plunge pools can be found both inside and out, while a private entrance opens up to the VIP Suite that brags about having the largest terrace of the property.

On location

Tucked snuggly into the rocks, The Villa is a pocket of customised calm in its own right. Although attached to the main building, it keeps its own air of privacy for independent living not too far from the usual hotel comforts. It’s also the only place little islanders can stay. Although there’s a limit to where children can venture – the main area being the Graeco-French Santaro restaurant – there’s not really a feeling of missing out. Mainly due to the in-villa spa with hammam, dedicated wining and dining areas and two pools, one indoor for a quick dip and one outdoor to practice that breaststroke.

A Carrier curation

We’ve been enough times to get to know the Santorini behind the selfies, so much so that we know it flies relatively under-the-radar when it comes to the wine circuit, despite having made the most of the nutrient-rich volcanic soil for more than 3,000 years. At a family-run estate close by, there’s a seasoned sommelier ready to wax lyrical about all things vino from the unique viticulture to the best grape varieties that the island has to offer.

When to visit Greece

Greece is blessed with a Mediterranean climate. From mid May to mid June and mid September to October the climate is pleasant and sunshine is plentiful. July and August are hot with temperatures reaching 37°C. Winters tend to be mild in the south but much cooler in the north with an increased chance of rain.

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