Oia (Ia), Santorini 84702, Cyclades Islands, Greece
Among the many islands in Greece, Santorini is one of the most picturesque and unique. It is a natural wonder – shaped like a crescent moon from a volcanic eruption, the formed caldera provides stunning 180 degree views of the Aegean sea from almost anywhere on the island. On our recent honeymoon we had the pleasure of staying at Katikies Hotel in the town of Oia where the sunsets are spectacular and the views of the whitewashed hilltop villages are unparalleled. With all the charms you would come to expect of a luxury boutique hotel, Katikies is a distinct experience. The hotel is carved directly into the hillside, and the landscape of winding paths lead you on a never-ending discovery of multiple pools, lounge areas and delicious dining options while providing the perfect layout for ultimate privacy. Upon arrival the general manager, dressed in Santorini white to match the pristine facade of the hotel (which we were told is painted twice a month), led us to our honeymoon suite, recessed in a cool cave interior which boasted a massive indoor soaker tub and rain shower in addition to a private outdoor hot tub, shower and spacious sundeck, where we were served a special order breakfast every morning.
While I was blown away aesthetically, I always say the true mark of a good hotel is not the immediate “wow” factor, but the experience you have during your stay and Katikies thought of everything: branded robes and slippers, Bulgari bath products at our disposal, Bose iPod dock (equipped with iPod and preprogrammed playlist), conversion plugs, and even our own local Santorini mobile phone to call on the hotel for any of our pressing needs both onsite and off. Turn down service was strictly adhered to and every night we returned to our room to find freshly cooked petit fours for a sweet nightcap. The staff were extremely helpful, professional and enthusiastic whether in planning our itinerary, in pouring our drinks with keen attention while we were lounging by the pristine pool, or fluffing and re-fluffing our pillows and even promptly mopping our puddles as we made our way back to our loungers after a dip. Stealth rather than invasive, they left us feeling ultimately pampered.
Well worth the price tag, this is 6-star service at its finest.
Amoudi Harbor, below Oia Amoudi Santorini, Oia 84700, Greece
Sunsets in Santorini are a nightly occasion and there’s no better viewing spot than at the bottom of the Oia cliffs at the laid back, yet upscale Sunset Taverna in the Ammoundi Harbor. We were given the option to go down the hill by donkey or taxi — take the taxi. The path is riddled with donkey dung and the charm of taking the “scenic route” wears off quickly. The view on arrival was much more appealing — true to name, the restaurant is located at one of the prime sunset viewing spots on the island with tables so close to the water you feel like you might just dive right in. Everything about this place is as close to the water as it comes. Their extensive seafood menu is caught fresh from the Aegean sea and the majority of the fare served is produced locally. The wine list boasts vintages from Santorini’s own vineyards that I am shocked to learn is home to the world’s oldest wine producers.
We ordered the Red Mullet to start (a Greek specialty) along with the Stuffed Eggplant with Feta Cheese followed by Sunset Taverna’s famous 95 euro Lobster Spaghetti. If you ask they will allow you to select your own lobster from a sea front tank which is like a mini ocean up for slaughter. With eyes too big for my stomach and a taste for the extravagant, this led us to upgrade our order from the already excessive 1kg lobster (serves 4) to the 1.5kg serving — but we finished the entire meal (there were only 2 of us). While unnecessary to consume any more food at this point, our servers kindly brought us some form of complimentary chocolate lava cake that went down surprisingly effortlessly along with a couple shots of ouzo and a locally produced dessert wine. Like all good Greek feasts the meal lasted 5 hours and we left completely satiated. The Sunset Taverna was one of the best meals we had on our honeymoon (and we ate well!). While the price was exorbitant, we did go a little overboard with our selects and it is entirely possible to order a more reasonably priced meal and still get a taste of the fresh fish and take part in the view.
Amy Burstyn Fritz is Director at Knot PR, a Toronto-based communications agency that works with lifestyle, fashion and culture clients. She has work with various organizations in the fields of media, marketing and public relations before becoming a partner at Knot PR in 2011. Amy’s love of the arts has led her to work and volunteer with a number of top Canadian arts organizations including the Canadian Opera Company, the Canadian Art Foundation and Luminato.