How do you arrange a fantasy romantic vacation when you are a perfectionist? I wanted to surprise my husband for his 43rd birthday, with a trip to a gorgeous destination that would provide rest, relaxation and beauty. The problem: we have four small children, and as a result, we don't do this very often, and I therefore wanted it to be absolutely perfect.
I needn't have worried. After much research, I decided on Andronis. From the moment we arrived, it was clear that the decision had been the right one. As we entered the boutique hotel after being picked up at the airport in Thira and escorted to the hotel by its director, we were greeted by Panos, the client-relations specialist, a young man, with boundless energy whose aim for the entire vacation was to respond to our every question or request and by Sophia, one of the hotel receptionists. We were seated on a lounge and served drinks and a traditional Greek refreshing desert called "mastika". Panos took us on a tour of the hotel, describing in detail its amenities, the possibiities for excursions, the island - and at all times, with a smile and with a sincerity that was simply touching.
As we toured the premises, we were overcome with awe at the breathtaking beauty of the view. One cannot imagine the beauty without actually seeing with one's own eyes. The pictures we took are not half as spectacular as the place in real life. It's stunning beyond belief and as soon as we saw the view of the volcano opposite the hotel in the midst of the clear and still waters of the Aegean, we knew that we were probably not going to be doing much in the way of excursions.
We were taken to our room, the Athena (#7) and were blown away by its originality and simple elegance. As we entered, we came upon a sitting room, minimalist in its decor yet so classy. The juxtaposition of the gray-treated concrete floor and the creme-coloured wood furniture was beautiful. This sitting room had a double door exiting to a huge veranda, complete with three couches/benches with the spectacular "caldera" (crater/volcano) view. We continued through an entranceway, topped with cream-coloured linen drapes to the bedroom. The bed, with its just-right-firmness of its mattress, faced another set of doors, exiting to the veranda. What this meant, is that we could lie in bed, with the doors open and the sea-breeze coming in, staring for hours at the caldera. We were stunned to see that the bathroom, which we walked down a few steps to get into, was like a spa, complete with a separate sauna, a large jacuzzi with a window overlooking the caldera, and of course a fabulous shower and all the amenities complete with delicious-smelling shampoos, shower gels, etc.
We had arrived hungry, and immediately went to the hotel restaurant which is outdoors, again, overlooking the spectacular view and run by complete professionals. It was then that we met the lovely Hara, a young woman with a heart of gold, who together with Oliver contributed greatly to our fantastic holiday. These two people were so attentive to our every wish that it was incredible. Hara and Oliver introduced us to the hotel's divine Greek salad, made with peeled Santorini tomatoes, grated cucumbers, delicious feta cheese and special Greek home-made croutons. It came with olives that were marinated in a honey-garlic sauce, filled with peppercorns that were divine. Hara and Oliver knew to always bring us extra olives because we loved them so much! The restaurant is completely organic and the chef is a genius. The hotel has a special spot, jutting out a touch from the mountain, a terrace with a stone-inlayed floor, on which one can have a romantic evening dinner by lantern-light, overlooking the sea and also have a wine-tasting evening. We dined here one night and ate the freshest fish we have ever eaten in our lives - it simply melted in our mouths.
In the evening, we would stroll down to see the sunset at the castle, and then went to one of Panos' recommended restaurants, which was always terrific. Each night, when we returned to the hotel we would be greeted by Sophia or Despena, the second hotel receptionist, who were so sweet and considerate, always ensuring that we had what we needed, and always so warm and friendly. Upon our return to our room, it was apparent that there had been a night-service in the room, complete with decadent chocolates awaiting and a menu for us to order breakfast for the next morning. Wow - what a choice, from freshly-squeezed orange juice, to the most creamy delicious yoghurt with fresh fruit and silky honey, to eggs any way you like (I love poached but find it a rarity when a hotel has this), to smoked salmon, fresh bread, different types of coffee, etc. The fantastic thing, is that each morning, breakfast was brought to our veranda by one of the several young men, either Oliver, Florin, or someone else, and we dined outdoors overlooking the view, and in heaven.
It was truly difficult to drag ourselves away from the hotel. The place is an oasis of tranquility, carved into a mountain, and with only 15 suites, is completely peaceful. Our days were spent mainly at the infinity pool, lounging and relaxing in the midst of the breathtaking view. There are simply no words to describe the scenery and the calm. Hara and Oliver were constantly ensuring that the guests had drinks, whether specially-made cocktails or simple cold water with diced strawberries inside it, while lounging.
We did manage to get away one day, on Panos's suggestion, to the close-by village of Fira. We rented a quad which was a lot of fun, drove to Fira, and then boarded the Thalassa sailboat to the volcano where we hiked. We watched the sunset which was gorgeous, particularly accompanied by one of the crew who played the sax. The rest of our time though, was spent at the hotel.
On one afternoon, my husband and I took massages in the beautifully-designed hotel spa. That was the ultimate!
On our last night, after five nights in the Athena, we were moved to the "Orpheas" because our room had been previously booked. What a surprise - we thought the Athena was the epitome. The Orpheas was beyond belief - in it there was a multi-lit jacuzzi which was more like the size of a small swimming pool, and a separate gym, complete with nautilis equipment, stationary bicycle, pilates balls, and free-weights. The room was enormous and of course, the view was of the spectacular caldera.
After six nights at Andronis, my husband and I were totally chilled out. Never had we had such a calm and relaxing vacation and it was very difficult to leave. The hotel is run by outstanding people, topped by Maria, the professional manager who is on top of every single detail in the hotel. Maria is the type of person you want running your ship with incredible energy and warmth to boot.
The vacation at Andronis was a true dream, a small taste of paradise. We're back at home, with our four small kids, and despite the hectic schedule, every time we need a break, we close our eyes, imagine Andronis and steal a little piece of serenity.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Reflecting traditional Aegean architecture and overlooking the island’s volcanic crater or caldera, the Andronis Luxury Suites represents the most luxurious, dreamy escape in a Mediterranean setting beyond compare.Elements of minimalist design combine with stunning island sunsets, while multi-level balconies blend with a predominantly white assortment of furniture and finishes, awoken occasionally by touches of red and blue to tickle the senses. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Andronis Luxury Hotel Oia
- Hotel Andronis Luxury
- Andronis Luxury Suites Santorini/Oia, Greece