I recently spent four nights at Aigialos with my wife and her family (mother, grandmother, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew). We chose Aigialos after looking over the website and reading some good reviews here on TripAdvisor.
I'd be remiss if I started with anything other than the stunning location. Aigialos (like many hotels in Santorini, to be fair) is perched along the caldera of the island. From the path running past the rooms, you can take in the entirety of the caldera side of the island, from Akrotiri in the south, past the volcano of Nea Kameni in the middle of the caldera, to Oia at the northern tip of the island. There isn't much of a view from inside the rooms themselves (or at least from the three rooms our group had), which from my research is only something you see at the tippy-top end of the price range of Santorini hotels, but you don't go to Santorini to sit inside, you go there to be out in the gorgeous weather. Many of the rooms have private or shared terraces from which you can enjoy the view over breakfast or anytime during the day. If I could give the location six stars, I would.
This brings me to the restaurant. Wow, considering that I couldn't find much information about the restaurant at the hotel beforehand, we were pleasantly surprised. Breakfast each day was a highlight, featuring sweet and savory pies, a basket of homemade breads, eggs, yogurt, fruit, you name it. The one dinner we had there was excellent. I guess it isn't a "restaurant" per se, just a few small tables out by the pool and a couple of bigger ones inside past the reception desk, so maybe they don't publicize it because they're not equipped to handle large numbers of diners. Regardless of the reason, if you stay here, don't miss breakfast and have dinner here at least once. Our one gripe regarding the restaurant was that one morning we ordered breakfast to be delivered to our rooms in order to be out early for an excursion the hotel had booked for us, and all three rooms received their breakfast well past the time windows we had specified on the order cards. Eating at the restaurant is a safer bet.
Additionally, service at the restaurant and at Aigialos overall was excellent. Vivi, the manager, was especially helpful with answering questions we had before and during booking, and with arranging for us to be able to stay a bit past the regular checkout time since our ferry wasn't until later in the day. Georgia at the restaurant was so friendly and did a wonderful job of explaining unfamiliar ingredients and preparations to us.
The rooms themselves (15 in total, if I'm not mistaken) are all unique because the hotel is housed in a collection of old buildings, including a church, that were converted to be a hotel. They were pretty, nicely decorated, spacious and clean. Beds were comfortable, showers were pleasant.
There's one drawback I should note, though this shouldn't in any way be taken to mean that I don't highly recommend Aigialos. The biggest one (and, I think, one that's probably shared by a lot of hotels in Santorini) is that it's a bit hard to get to. From where our van from the port dropped us off, it was up a cobbled path and then down a cobbled flight of stairs (not steep) to the reception area. It can be problematic for guests with mobility issues; my wife's 86-year-old grandmother opted not to join the rest of us on our excursions two of the days because she didn't want to deal with the steps. It won't be a big deal for most, though. In another example of the fine service at Aigialos, all our bags were carried to our rooms from where we were dropped off; that porter (whose name I didn't get, unfortunately) works far harder than those at most hotels.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Aigialos Collection consists of sixteen, renovated neoclassical houses that were originally the fine homes of the island's noble captain families. The architecture and design of the houses bring to life the traditional way of life of the island's nobility. Restored to perfection by master masons using local volcanic stone and coloured lime plaster, the houses are linked by cobbled walkways. Situated on the rim of the caldera, sheer cliffs that rise from the sea, the hotel overlooks the island's famed volcano. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Aigialos Hotel Fira
- Aigialos Hotel Santorini/Fira