Where do I start?
First, no one has mentioned this, but Blue Dolphins DOES NOT HAVE A POOL. When I booked, I (mistakenly) thought every hotel in Santorini did. Most do, but not all. Be aware of this because we stayed in August, it was sweltering hot and a pool would have made this stay a point higher.
Starting off though, I booked with Shine hotel, one of the other properties that the manager had at the time. After taking our deposit, I received an email from the owner saying his contract had run out with Shine and he could offer us a hotel room with Blue Dolphins, for a higher price. I said that would be fine, but since he took my deposit already, I wanted the room at the same price. He answered back that he would give me a reduced rate, but that Blue Dolphins was a much better hotel than Shine so I gave in. He said he would cancel the reservation at Shine and make our reservation at Blue Dolphins.
One month before our departure, I received an email from the new owner of Shine saying my reservation was all set. After emailing both hotels I finally got that worked out, but then we had to arrive.
True, the hotel has stairs and lots of them, and uneven as well, but really if you want to stay on the caldera side of the island you need to expect and be willing to deal with that. Yes, they made us breathless and we had to stop several times up, but by the end of our 6 night stay we were grateful since we had eaten quite a lot of food and could use the workout.
The view IS amazing, and we were staring at it when we arrived while Thanos worked out something and got our key ready. He told us to stay on the terrace, and traipsed off to reception. The view was so beautiful (of Firostefani) that we were certain it would be a wonderful hotel. When he showed us to our room, it was "Milos" (all hotels are names after Greek Islands), right off the terrace. I was certain Alexis said I would "share" a terrace, but I thought it would be with only one other room. But, not worth complaining about. When Thanos brought us to our room, we were surprised how small it was, and then Thanos told us that to get hot water, we had to flip this little switch and flip it off after we had used the hot water. The little switch would be a bane to our existence the entire time. We would forget to turn it on, we would leave it on and forget it was on, and the switch had to be on for at least a half hour which was not so convenient when you are hot and sweaty and want to take a shower that is not icy cold, etc.
Throughout our stay, this is what happened to us:
Our first night was very hot, and when we talked to someone who worked there the next morning, she recommended NOT using the air conditioner because there was a cross wind that with the windows open at night would cool off the room.
We had lain in bed all night bathed in sweat, window open and all and we didn't even know there was an air conditioner. We opted to run the air conditioner (it is controlled by a remote control and is on the wall over the window, we just didn't see it and it wasn't pointed out to us when we checked in) and it did make our stay much more comfortable--if there was no ac we would be giving this hotel one star. We are certain we were told not to use the ac because she was either afraid we would short something out for the whole hotel or that they were trying to save money on the cost of running it.
The second day, I woke up to my husband grumbling in our bathroom--we had no water. No water. Now, this is a thing that happens on the island we were aware of before we went, the sewer system in Santorini is terrible--you can't flush the toilet paper or drink the water--but we knew that, so it wasn't bad, but he had just used the toilet and couldn't flush it (ew) so we went outside, where there was a young woman who was staying in Ios, the room next to us. I asked her if they had no water and she said they had no POWER, and went inside and checked--yep, no water or power. The maid showed up (who was so sweet) and she flipped something, and we got water.
Now, the whole island has problems with the water and electrical system, and the woman at the travel agency told us that often when the electricity goes out, the water will too. So, the water or power could have been the island and not the hotel, to give them credit, but of course we don't know.
The plumbing in our room was so bad--there is a grossness alert here so skip this paragraph if you get grossed out easily. The toilet wouldn't flush anything but number one, and I won't explain what we had to go to get it to flush anything else. You couldn't flush after a shower, you had to wait an hour or so. It ran forever before filling up and was LOUD as well. We said something to Thanos our first night, whose answer to us was that he didn't use the toilets (!) and therefore couldn't explain anything to us. We let it go and dealt with it, because after a while we were so upset by it that we thought we wouldn't be able to deal with it if we were told the same thing twice, or that we would be told that we just had to deal with it. Other hotels, restaurants, etc. we had no problem with flushing--perhaps they have very small pipes, who knows.
The TV was tiny and got very bad reception, all channels in Greek.
The mattress was VERY thin, unpadded. I got a crick in my neck after the third day of sleeping on it that didn't go away for a week. The pillows were thin and uncomfortable. We didn't ask for more pillows, though that could have helped, because by this point we were so disgusted that we just wanted to leave and not say anything.
The bed was obviously a waterbed at one point, and the mattresses laid on top of some wooden planks. One day after sleeping, I was rearranging the sheets and made the mistake of lifting up the mattress. Oh, it was so disgusting under there! Full of dirt and filth and...ugh. I quickly dropped the mattress, said something to my husband and he told me the bathroom had an air filter that literally had dirt hanging off it in bunnies.
There is a refrigerator in the room, quite nice since it was so unbelievably hot and we could store bottled water (because the water was temperamental). Breakfast is free, but we were afraid to eat either the hard boiled eggs or yogurt or milk, they would put them out with no refrigeration at 8:30 where they would sit until 11:00. They were under umbrellas, but still...This left jam, bread, cake and orange juice--which is a fine breakfast for us and so we did have something we were ok with eating. Since we were on the terrace, when the breakfast crowd would show up or if someone wanted to stay there and drink late into the night, or even a couple, we would hear every word and it was quite bothersome. Also, there is a church nearby that starts its bells at 7 a.m., church bells are lovely and I usually have no gripe about them, but these were very loud and would go off every 15 minutes for hours, and wake you up from a dead sleep only to not let you get back to sleep--like a snooze alarm you would be bolted out of bed in shock as if a brass band suddenly started playing next to your bed.
We very well could have had a bad room, sure. Or just stayed there at a bad time. But you would be better off staying somewhere else. We stayed in the Andromeda Villas in Imgerovilli 5 years ago and loved it (we should have stayed there again, but we were on a little budget this time) and the Hotel Mathios in Akrotiri the last night (because we took a ferry to Ios for a few days and back before we flew home), which was so wonderful...don't stay at Blue Dolphins. You will be glad you didn't.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Blue Dolphins is situated in the village of Firostefani, which is a 10 minute walk from the capital village of Fira (through a beautiful pedestrian path on the caldera). We have the privilege of being at a magical location in terms of view and peace of scenery, but also close to the restaurants, bars and nightlife of Fira, the capital of Santorini. Blue Dolphins is also connected to the picturesque village of Imerovigli which is also just a 10 minute walk through a pedestrian path on the caldera. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Blue Dolphins Traditional Apartments Hotel Firostefani
- Blue Dolphins Traditional Apartments Santorini/Firostefani