If you’re heading to Santorini, you know you’ve got to splurge on a villa at some point, no doubt about it.
We chose Altana Traditional Houses and Suites due to its stellar ratings and location in Imergovoli. I’d say Imergovoli is somewhat similar to Oia in terms of appearances, but with less crowds since it’s better known as a residential area. You won’t much find much shopping here, which suited us just fine! In your search for the perfect villa in Santorini, there are three main areas you’d fine popping up constantly: Oia, Fira and Imergovoli. Having visited all 3 areas, I can’t stress Imergovoli enough.
Oia and Fira are beautiful too, but there’s another aspect to staying in the cliffside villas in Santorini you wouldn’t think about until you’re here to see it for yourself. Villa properties are stacked and layered on the cliffside. To put it simply, if you happen to book a villa that’s on the lower parts of the cliff, chances are every property above your villa will be treated to a full view of the balcony/outdoor pool etc of your villa. This “lack of privacy” is compounded in Oia and Fira, since these are immensely popular tourist attractions, and the main shopping & sightseeing streets are located at the top levels of the cliff. There are also public walkways almost everywhere around Oia and Fira, so privacy can be compromised at times. In fact, when were strolling around Oia, we came across a local resident berating a photographer and a couple who had apparently stepped into her private property lines. She was yelling at them non-stop for 15 minutes, and it was scary. While the photographer stood his ground, the poor bride looked miserable after. It was pretty sad, paying thousands of dollars to fly into Santorini for a photoshoot, and getting screamed at by a local for trespassing.
While Imergovoli also gets its share of tourists (due to the Fira – Oia hike path that cuts through Imergovoli), it’s on a much, much lower and tolerable scale. We didn’t even notice or hear them much. Plus at Altana, they’ve constructed a little entryway in between the actual living space and the public walkways, so there’s added room for privacy.
We met one of the owners, Christos, during check-in, and he welcomed us with a huge smile. He is the epitome of “friendly”, seriously. You can’t help smiling while talking to him, and he encourages you to ask as many questions as you’d like, whether about off-the-beaten-path trails, food recommendations, etc. We ended up taking an hour to check-in because we just had so many questions and found it so easy to talk to him!
By the way, if you need help renting a car or making restaurant reservations, or really, anything else, just let them know and they’d handle it for you in a jiffy!
But before I go on further, I’ll let the pictures the talking for Altana (taken with the awesome Nikon D7500!):
The pictures are beautiful, the views out of this world, but believe it or not, seeing, and enjoying it for yourself is a hundred times better. Each of their property also undergoes renovation every one in 2-3 years, so they’re constantly in pristine condition. In-room breakfast is a must-try; we felt like kings!
We stayed in the Superior Cave Villa, hands-down the most luxurious villa we’ve ever been in! It has an interesting history too – it’s a restored wine cellar, and they’ve retained most of the original layout. It’s two interconnecting caves, with two private entrances, with one leading right out to the sheltered, temperature-controlled pool. I’ll admit, I initially wanted an outdoor, unsheltered pool, but decided to try this out, and was so glad I did. Why? Because the sun gets really warm in the afternoons here in Santorini, and the shelter provides sweet, sweet escape from the sweltering heat. Also, a sheltered pool means no one from above’s able to see you, so you’re granted full privacy. Last but not least, temperature controlled – so whether you’re going in the afternoons or evenings (when the sea breeze blows crazy cold) – it’s always the perfect temperature. We soaked in the pool every morning, afternoon and evening, and I was never self-conscious about people staring!
So in summary, fantastic owners/service, stunning location and views, luxurious in-room amenities, with an amazing restaurants a stone’s throw away. Where else but Altana?
And if you’re looking for nearby dinner options, be sure to check out Anogi (Christos will recommend it to you, and all the best dishes too!). It’s about a 5-minutes walk from reception, and they offer authentic, delicious Greek cuisine:
It’s so good, you’d probably want it the next day too.
Being here made me dream of the good life, and it’s made me resolve to work even harder to succeed so I could make Santorini, Altana Traditional Houses & Suites in particular, an annual getaway eventually!
PS. All photos featured are taken with the Nikon D7500!