Perivolas Hotel, Santorini, Greece

Santorini is the supermodel of the Greek islands, a head-turner whose face is instantly recognizable around the world: multicolored cliffs soar out of a sea-drowned caldera, topped by drifts of whitewashed buildings. With its reputation for dazzling panoramas, romantic sunsets and volcanic-sand beaches, it’s hardly surprising the island features on so many travelers’ bucket lists. Set within an amphitheatrical landscape of curves stepping down to a black stone terrace, hotel Perivolas stands out from Santorini’s whitewashed cliffside.

Once the homes, wineries and stables of Santorini's fishermen and farmers, this group of 300-year-old caves has been transformed into a complex of serene private houses, with a spectacular pool flowing over the edge of the cliff into an Aegean horizon. The hotel boasts 20 private houses, each enjoying free Wi-Fi internet access and a comfortable seating area. The wellness center features a steam bath, sauna, open-air hot tub and massage facilities. The 24-hour fitness center allows guests to exercise while taking in views of the cliffs.

The cave-carved rooms are bright and breezy, with whitewashed walls, smooth vaulted ceilings and clever skylights that let in plenty of light. Splashes of fuchsia and lilac echo the bougainvillea dotted around the grounds. The Lifestyle Studios make perfect little boltholes: one has big windows looking out to sea and a downstairs bathroom, the other has kept its original bread oven. The Perivolas Suite is a true rock-star retreat, with its steam room, indoor hot tub big enough for ten, and a private pool extending out from a cave to a wow-worthy terrace.

The unheated infinity pool is all curves and startling Aegean views – a knockout splash of bright blue against black volcanic rock that's graced the cover of many a magazine. Claim a poolside lounger for front-row seats to Oia's famed sunsets, far from the selfie-loving crowds. When you tire of watching the graceful ballet of ships across the bay, retreat to the 60sq m spa, carved right into the cliffside. The steam room, sauna, massaging jet showers and outdoor hot tub make short work of travel-weary limbs; try a massage, detoxing body wrap or sea-lavender-infused facial.

Housed in a restored wine cellar, the Perivolas Restaurant serves Mediterranean and Greek cuisine prepared with local products, only to hotel guests by head chef Nena Ismyrnoglou, who creates the menu and trains the kitchen staff as well.  Tables are candlelit with views out to sea. Feast on fresh local seafood – grilled seabass, octopus carapccio and ravioli with langoustines or lemon-braised lamb, proscuitto salad with roasted walnuts and the decadent chocolate soufflé. All the dishes are full of fresh aromas and flavors guaranteeing you a culinary journey of Greece and the Mediterranean that will please the eye as well as the palate.

Towards the end of your stay at the Perivolas Hotel Santorini, you are caught thinking you would like to stay here forever. If you simply cannot, at least try to enjoy it for the days you are being here and let everyone else simply envy you.  If you are looking for a romantic escape, deluxe retreat or summer getaway, do not hesitate to visit their website where you can directly book your stay or become their fan on Facebook

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