For those of us who travel frequently, finding the right adjectives to conjure to readers the emotions a magical and very special place evokes remains a lengthy, difficult challenge no one ever feels sorry about. After all, for those who don't get to travel as much as us, I am told "travel writers get to fling themselves to destinations on everyone's bucket list while the rest of us (the world) toils in their offices merely looking at photos and reading your words." "What's there to feel sorry about in that?!" As a result of this seemingly unfair dichotomy, I find myself extra cautious when I pronounce a destination as "dreamy" or, in my case, "worth the wait." Santorini, even after much thought and deliberation, is in every sense dreamy and most certainly worth the wait -- and part of the pleasure of these memories comes from my three days and nights at Canaves Oia Santorini.
PHOTO: View from my suite at Canaves Oia Hotel
Canaves Oia Santorini is a boutique, Small Luxury Hotels property resting on the hills of Oia created by the volcanic eruptions of the island of Santorini. Comprised of five different sleeping elements -- the Hotel, the Suites, the Villa, the Sunday Suites and the just opened Epitome -- the gracious hospitality, accommodations, food, view and extreme proximity to the white-washed, neo-classical mansions (which lay the pictorial foundation for the blue-steepled churches and homes in pops of color, not-to-mention the windmills, canvasing nearly every photo taken of Santorini) makes a stay at Canaves Oia an absolute bucket-list item.
PHOTO: One of the views on my many strolls through Oia, Santorini
The hotel itself is literally adjacent to the narrow cobble-stone streets which begin the street of Oia, aka the place to go for those who desire to walk the phenomenal photos of Santorini ricocheting around the internet. I can not emphasize enough how much the proximity to Oia is important when staying in Santorini. Imagine a place with approximately 15,000 residents. Add to this imagination, Santorini itself is merely 29.42 square miles. Then stretch your imagination by placing two million (!!!!) visitors to this tiny island and each-and-every-one of them trying to walk through Oia, with its street barely fitting three to four grown adults across. Driving inside Oia is next to impossible and the public transportation buses are outrageously full, perhaps even more full than the ones on the Amalfi Coast. Getting from the other side of Santorini, such as Perissa, could take the better part of three hours.
THREE HOURS ONE WAY.
Instead of wasting precious time on a bus, the relaxation element of staying at Canaves Oia is well-worth the price, particularly when the hotel has elements such as the pool (showcased in the photo above) which has a full-service bar and a grotto. I don't even like to sunbathe and I spent 2-3 hours by the pool every day to soak up the water, views and Greek rays. My post-Greece tan made me look like I had lost ten pounds when at Canaves!!
Guests staying in one of the suites at the hotel also have a personal spa jacuzzi, perfect for late night soaks staring at the moon, and access to the beautiful pool at the Canaves Oia Suites. Services is impeccable and friendly, with every need met before being asked, including free sunscreen and plenty of free, icy-cold water for the hot days.
While the views and accommodations were certainly nice for a boutique property, my favorite element of the hotel was the complimentary continental breakfast. The chocolate nutella french bread was phenomenally decadent and tasty, with just the right portion-size to leave room for superb house-made lattes. Actually, every dessert was the best I had on the island of Santorini, including this very rich birthday cake below. I had one bite -- with every intention of literally having one bite -- but before I knew it, the cake was half gone and I had to call the concierge to take it away so I wouldn't eat more!! The molten chocolate, drizzled with caramel, dazzled my tastebuds ... absolutely dazzled.
If you are looking for the right combination of the important elements for a hotel in Santorini, I have to say Canaves is the only option you should consider when staying in Oia. It really was perfect -- and well worth the wait!