Story and photography by Melanie Votaw
Chromata Up-Style Hotel
Imerovigli, 84700, Santorini
Cyclades Islands, Greece
Tel. +30 22860 23227, +30 22860 25288
Fax: +30 22860 24623
If you’re like me, you have nurtured fantasies of staying on the Greek island of Santorini with its famed white buildings cascading down the cliffs toward the Aegean. The 5-star Chromata Up-Style Hotel, which sits on the island’s highest point at the top of the Caldera’s rim, fulfilled my fantasy to a tee. It features the classic white cave-style Cycladic architecture with shades of gray on the steps, precisely embodying the Santorini of my imagination.
Located in the quiet village of Imerovigli, the Chromata is a short drive from the airport and just a ten-minute walk up from the island’s main town of Fira. In fact, my plane pulled out of Athens at 11:00 a.m., and I was in the Chromata’s office by 12:25 p.m. The hotel arranged for their driver to pick me up from the airport and take me back for my return flight. (Of course, you can also take a boat from Athens to Santorini.) I worried that I might have to climb a lot of stairs, but that wasn’t the case at all. The porters took care of my bags, and the office was actually one flight down from where I stood when I was dropped off.
I stayed in one of the smaller rooms, but it was lovely – all white with a queen-sized bed, fine linens, flatscreen television, and three stairs that led down to a table, minibar, dresser, and bathroom with a shower and white bowl sink.
My private balcony overlooked the volcano and the sea, as well as most of the island’s beautiful cliffs and architecture in both directions. The famous sunsets did not disappoint either, and the Chromata is in a perfect spot to see them from the bar with a special sunset drink or from within the infinity pool that reaches right out on the cliff.
One of my favorite moments was when breakfast was brought to me on my balcony, and I ate it in the sunlight, looking out at the sea, the hotel’s infinity pool, the cliffs, and the volcano. I ordered a traditional American breakfast of bacon, eggs, and juice, but I was also given a generous basket of breads and pastries. Everything was exceptionally well made from the freshness of the juice to the flakiness of the croissants. I’d love to be transported there right now for another one of those balcony breakfasts.
Besides the amenities mentioned on the hotel’s website – bell boy service, beauty treatments, Internet corner, laundry service, travel desk, and 24-hour room service – my room came equipped with a cellular phone to call the hotel from anywhere on the island and an iPod with speakers and a nice selection of music. Each evening, the maid arrived with bottles of water and offered turndown service and fresh towels.
Just down the stairs from my room were the infinity pool, cocktail bar, and two Jacuzzis. I booked a massage with the front desk, and I was phoned in my room when the excellent practitioner arrived to give me a wonderful rubdown in the hotel’s spa room.
The Chromata has 22 rooms and suites, all with a private veranda and view of the Aegean. Some suites have a private Jacuzzi, and all rooms are air conditioned with a remote-controlled thermostat. Each room also contains a safe, hair dryer, bathrobe, and slippers, and wine and fruit will be waiting for you in your room, as well as a welcome drink upon your arrival. There is a Hammam and a cold water foot bath on the premises, and there is free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.
There is plenty to do … or not do … depending upon your preference. You can spend your time at leisure at the hotel, visit the shops of Fira, take in the beaches or famous Oia, take a boat to the volcano, or shop in one of the island’s other villages. Unfortunately, the archaeological site of Akrotiri remains closed, but keep watching for when it may reopen. I understand that it is spectacular.
Meal options are many. You can have dinner in the Chromata’s intimate 4-table restaurant, which serves classic Mediterranean cuisine, you can walk to Fira for dinner at one of the countless available restaurants, hire a car or taxi to take you to another part of the island, or simply walk a few steps past the hotel to one of the quiet restaurants of Imerovigli.
The Chromata is one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and part of the Katikies hotel group. It is open from April 1st through November 30th, and room rates range from €360 to €1,575, depending on the size of room you choose and the time of year you visit. Taxes and breakfast are included in these prices, as well as the other amenities mentioned. (Children under 13 are not accepted because of the hotel’s location on the cliff.)
Would I stay at the Chromata again? No question. Santorini is one of those places that is exactly how you imagine it, and the Chromata is the quintessential Santorini experience. I especially recommend it for honeymooners; I can’t imagine a more romantic place to be.
© November 2010 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.