For my first night in Santorini, aka on the night of my actual birthday, I stayed at the impeccable Grace Santorini. Located in Imerovigli, which is a super quick 10 minute drive from the Santorini airport in Thira, Grace Santorini is one of the best hotel I have stayed in overall.
Unlike other islands, the topography of Santorini is uneven and can be quite steep. This is, naturally, due to the volcanic activity both creating the island as well as shearing off entire sides to create the picturesque visage seen in all those photos online. When I arrived at the hotel, I had to walk down a slew of steps -- the island, in general, is not for the disabled -- and I marveled at how easily the Concierge team at Grace Santorini managed my single piece of carry-on luggage. "What do you guys do when guests have big bags?!?" "We carry it," was their very nonchalant answer.
Upon check-in, I was greeted with a warm hug (!) and many wishes of "Happy Birthday!" I was immediately struck by the views, naturally, as well as the absolutely perfect temperature. During the day the temps are 70-ish and at night the weather varies around mid-fifties. Late April really is the ideal time to the visit the island -- Grace Santorini opens for the season April 1. Since it was my birthday, the hotel upgraded me to one of their Deluxe Suites with a Plunge Pool. Although I didn't get a chance to hop in, because I was SO HUNGRY, the pool is heated and lovely! Plus, again to harp on this, there is that amazing view of Santorini.
The Grace Santorini had plenty of birthday welcomes and gifts, but I think it was their standard amenities which really stood out to me. In particular, they have a special program called "Sleep in Grace," which has lavender satchels, lavender spray, lavender lotion and several pillow options to help people like me -- I am a WRETCHED sleeper -- sleep better.
The combination of the specialized sleep program and an ENORMOUS shower with scalding hot water, helped put me right to bed. I slept through the night in the cozy accommodations before getting up SUPER HUNGRY!
PHOTO: Sleeping area
Thankfully Grace Santorini has an equally impeccable food-and-beverage program (more on my birthday dinner later). Breakfast is stunning and a la carte. The views are hard to beat, as is the general tastiness of the food. Even though I ate more than my fair share of everything on the menu, I still managed to lose weight -- likely due to all the hill climbing.
One of the standout items though is their Latte. Look at this below!! I've never seen a latte made so rich and foamy the pieces of brown sugar I dump in sit on top without falling!!! ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!