We are blessed and overjoyed to have visited the absolutely stunning Santorini a few weeks ago. From the second we got into our hire car (let’s skip the airport fiasco, Santorini’s airport is notoriously dismal), we were wowed. We felt as though we had stepped right into the pages of the Conde Nast Traveller magazine, with the addition of stray cats, holiday shop tat and a f*** load of ouzo!
We’d recommend Santorini to anyone who is looking for a romantic escape with excellent cheese, wine and views. I chose to book this holiday slightly out of peak season, because I can’t stand pesky kids dive-bombing into the pool and water-logging my sacred copy of Tatler. We left London mid May (with heavier suitcases and sighs of misery) and returned at the end of the month.
We went to Avis for the hire car – easy peasy quick collection from the airport upon arrival. Thierry very carefully checked that our car was brand spanking new and had all mod cons. I am an extremely fussy traveller so I was only too happy to discover that my iPhone could sync with the Bluetooth on the dash, ensuring that my amazing holiday playlist could be blasted out across the island as we whipped around the crazy winding roads (à la Thelma and Louise).
We had the misfortune of travelling with EasyJet there and back, much to Thierry’s dismay. I have travelled with EasyJet several times before and would note that if you are used to flying business class, you might want to get borderline hammered before boarding. In EasyJet’s defence, we had an excellent pilot who expertly navigated the turbulance that sent our plane jostling through the sky like a bat out of hell. At one point, a little girl in the row behind us screamed “Daddy! Are we going to crash?” (Thanks kid – shouldn’t you be at school? Cue: anxiety attack).
We stayed at the delightful ‘Splendor Resort‘, in a luxurious superior suite with a balcony overlooking the mountains and ocean beyond. There was an array of private pools, plus a shared pool with a very endearing little beach bar. By the end of the hol, I had acquired an inflatable unicorn and invented my own cocktail (The Pink Fairy). Thierry was dying to pick a more risqué name, which I was horrified about (the bar guy Alex found the idea particularly amusing – boys are immature)!
Spendor Resort is family friendly and is located right at the top of the island, with good links to local restaurants and shops. The island itself is a lot smaller than we imagined, it only takes a couple of hours to get from one end to the other! You definitely need a car if you’re going to stay at Splendor, unless you are an avid and slightly sadistic rambler/hiker who can go for hours. Sturdy footwear required (not for me, I am no lover of ‘practical’ shoes). You’ll get a decent parking space close to your hotel room or suite, which makes life easier, even if you are essentially sliding into an oven on wheels each morning.
The suite we stayed in was BIG (hello upgrade)! We had a raised bedroom area with funky fluro blue lights round the ceiling. Thierry loved this, as he is secretly Austin Powers and has the exact same at home. There was a large living area with a decent-sized TV, fridge with freezer section and a tea-making area. Our balcony had fab views of the mountains and sea beyond, although we don’t recommend sunbathing naked because the Chinese family next door will probably pop out onto their balc armed with cameras very frequently (possibly on purpose?). There was a great sized bathroom with spa bath, which you could fit up to 4 people in if you felt the urge.
The decor in the suite was delightfully non-offensive. White walls. Obligatory terracotta tiles underfoot. Modern fixtures and fittings. White linen bedding. Grey suede-effect corner sofa. Thank God.
The best of the best (trust us, we only eat out in Mayfair, Chelsea, Belgravia etc):
1. Cafe Galini, Firostefani
Perfect for: The Basic Bitch Brunch
2. Grace Hotel, Imerovigli, Thira
Perfect for: 5 course champagne breakfast
3. Onar Restaurant & Bar, Firostefani
Perfect for: cocktails
Do not eat at any of the above if you object to paying a tenner for a cocktail or hate avocados and other nice things. Will do a review of each in separate posts!
1. Gavalas Winery – beautiful local wines with an excellent host and historical tour
2. The Red Beach – not red, technically speaking, but still beautiful
3. Donkey saving in ‘The Heart of Santorini’ – more on this later
4. Shopping in Fira – stock up on olives and wooden penis-shaped everything
5. Rooftop pizza eating and designer shopping in Oia – we found Moncler, Heidi Klein, Givenchy
After a week of absolutely heavenly romance, relaxation, shopping, stuffing of faces, drunkenly diving into private pools and exploration, we were ready to return to London to start planning our next juicy adventure. This was our first holiday together and I am super ecstatic to report that we didn’t argue once (apart from when I had an explosive brat attack in one of the restaurants because they wanted to serve me mountain-sized salad on a hangover, rather than a tiny one).
The bar girl at Splendor Resort told us of a cute local philosophy: If you can stay together a month after you visit Santorini, you’ll be together forever…
*WATCH THIS SPACE*
Possible next stops:
Murcia, Porto, Versailles, Cannes.
Catch you soon!
Thierry & Victoria