We need to admit something from the outset: there aren’t actually that many all-inclusive hotels in Santorini, as the majority only offer breakfast and lunch, but not dinner. The truth is that most hotels know they can’t compete with Santorini’s excellent restaurants, so they just don’t bother trying.
However, plenty of luxury resorts feel all-inclusive, with private beaches, personal infinity pools, and other exclusive facilities. Sited on the edge of the caldera in the towns or villages of Fira, Oia, Imerovigli, and Firostefani, these resorts afford stunning views and what’s been called “the world’s most breathtaking sunset.” Most rooms here don’t come cheap, but that doesn’t seem to deter the half a million who visit every year.
But don’t be put off by high prices, as Santorini Island also offers plenty of mid-range and even a few low-cost hotels to suit couples looking for a romantic break on a budget — and there are plenty of low-price villas for families as well. And so our review of the best Santorini all-inclusive hotels includes low-cost options, mid-range hotels, and one where if you need to ask the price: you can’t afford it!
Grace Hotel Santorini, Auberge Resorts Collection
The whitewashed walls of the Auberge-owned Grace Santorini are spread over seven levels, straddling a cliff that overlooks the Aegean Sea. It’s located in Imerovigli, a small village on the western coast of Santorini, which was built on the highest point of the caldera cliffs. The name ‘Imerovigli’ comes from the word vigla, which means “view spot,” and being at the highest vantage point for miles around means the views are nothing short of spectacular; especially from the resort’s private roof-tops.
The stand-out feature of this resort has to be the stunning infinity pool, which is the largest on the caldera. The food is also amazing: the five-course breakfast menu includes champagne, whilst lunch and dinner are served at Grace’s signature restaurant Santoro, recently honored at the prestigious Greek Cuisine Awards. The restaurant is open to the public, so it is best to make reservations to ensure a table with the best view.
The Grace’s twenty rooms and one villa are all slightly different, but all continue the minimalist Greek theme of whitewashed walls, with natural wood accents and small but tasteful decorations. The Superior Suite offers the largest terrace, whilst the Grace Suite features two plunge pools (inside and out) and a private steam bath. However, the starting price of $21,000 for six nights may be a bit rich for some, so we usually recommend the Honeymoon Suite. It’s a large room (just over 480 square feet) and offers a private terrace, heated plunge pool, and a particularly airy and open-plan feel.
A dedicated, twenty-four-hour butler heads up your impeccable and unobtrusive room staff team, whose attention to detail is amazing. If you check out the guest reviews, you’ll find that everyone who’s stayed found it an unforgettable experience, and it’s an especially great place to stay in Santorini for couples. If you can afford it, book it!
Address: Imerovigli, 84700, Greece
Best For: Romantic couples
Price for Honeymoon Suite (6 nights, peak season): $13,670
Celestia Grand Villas
The Celestia Grand is a high-end villa complex, located just south of Santorini’s capital Fira. There are only seven villas, lending the complex a very secluded feel, and there’s not much within walking distance, which adds to the privacy. It was for this reason that the Kardashians stayed here when they visited Greece in 2013 (although at that time, it was part of the neighboring Volcano View Hotel). Reportedly, they had a bit of a disagreement with the hotel staff over their request to smash some plates, proving that money can’t buy everything, no matter how famous you are!
Each of the Celestia Grand’s seven well-appointed villas is unique, and each has a different price point. The Junior Villa, which we’re recommending, is the least expensive option. It’s a spacious open-plan suite, built in a classic, Cycladic style with hand-sculpted ceilings, lava rock walls, and whitewashed stucco, including an airy bathroom with a large hand-crafted hydro massage tub. As well as the large 5-ply king-size bed, there’s also a sofa bed in the sunken living area. Just outside the villa, there’s a cozy patio with a great view of Fira’s old harbor, which you can walk down to using an old donkey trail if you’re feeling adventurous.
Directly above the suite is a private roof terrace, with superb uninterrupted views of the famous caldera and volcano. The roof terrace also has a private whirlpool, sunbeds, and a shaded nook where your breakfast will be served daily, which is included in the price. The Junior Suite suite can accommodate up to three people, including children, if required. In fact, all the villas allow children as guests, but the villas’ secular nature means you’ll hardly ever meet them (unless they’re yours!) and, more importantly, you won’t hear them either.
The service, as you’d expect, is highly personalized, and your concierge will meet with you on day one to talk through your individual requirements and answer any questions. After that, you’re free to enjoy your stay in perfect isolation. For a touch of five-star luxury, the in-house chef will prepare a candlelight dinner under the moon and stars on the edge of the caldera cliffs. It’s a magical setting, which you need to experience at least once. Just don’t ask if they’ll let you smash the plates when you’ve finished — the answer will definitely be a resounding “no”!
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Address: Fira, 84700, Greece
Best For: Couples and families
Price for Junior Suite (6 nights, peak season): $5,192
Zoe Aegeas Traditional Cave Houses
The Zoe Aegeas (pronounced “eh-GEE-us”) isn’t an all-inclusive hotel, but perhaps it’s something better: a small group of entire two-floor apartments, built right into the rocks of Oia. Known as cave houses (“yposkafa”), these split-level accommodations have been dug out of the volcanic rock, then topped with a traditional Greek dome. Cave houses were deliberately built near to the sea, and as such the apartments are only 550 yards from Amoudi Beach. That’s less than 6 minutes on foot, making the Zoe Aegeas very popular with romantic couples looking to take a moonlight stroll or a midnight dip, as well as families with kids who can’t wait to swim in the crystal clear water of the Aegean.
(20-second fact break: Cave Houses have been the traditional dwelling in Santorini, and particularly Oia, since the early 1500s. They were built close together to easier defend against pirates, and the volcanic rock ensured they stayed cool on the inside, protecting occupants from the mid-day sun. Many cave houses were damaged by an earthquake in 1956, but most of these have now been refurbished to their former glory. 1n 1974, Greece passed a law that all new or refurbished accommodation can only be painted white and blue.)
Booking one of the four cave houses gets you an apartment that sleeps up to four, with a second double bed in the upper bedroom (which is more of a loft). The beds are actually quite something: they’re an integral part of the cave house construction and carved from the volcanic rock, so you’ll actually be sleeping on Oia itself! The decor of the 750 square-feet condo is typical of Santorini: whitewashed walls and archways, with dark wood antique furnishing. Each apartment has a private terrace that gets you the instagrammable panoramic sunset and views of Thirassia Island and the volcano.
It’s good to see that the accessories and equipment provided are genuinely useful — not just a kettle and a few old coffee cups. They even provide a free-to-use laptop with a decent WiFi connection, so you don’t need to take up space packing your own.
A major bonus is that your apartment is just steps away from the famous Sunset Point, regarded by most as the best place to watch the sun go down in Oia. The place can get very crowded, but you’ll be able to get there as early as you want and stake a prime location (which might get you a few envious glances, but that’s life!)
If we’re honest, there are plenty of similar cave house hotels in Oia, with many available at similar rates. What sets them apart is the level of service, and in this, the Zoe Aegeas has a secret weapon. His name is Zac, and he’s the owner of the four apartments, plus a single-level studio and a nearby villa. With so few guests to look after, Zac can afford to spend a lot more time with each person, and he’s one of the reasons that so many guests recommend the Zoe. And if you hear a knock at your door in the morning. it will be Zak bringing you freshly-baked cakes from his favorite bakery.
Address: Oira, 84702, Greece
Best For: Couples (and families of up to 6 in the villa)
Price for Cave House apartment (6 nights, peak season): $1,891
Voreina Gallery Suites
For our next choice, we’ve moved away from the caldera-view resorts and traveled inland to the heart of Santorini. The Voreina Gallery Suites, opened in 2011, are located on the northern edge of Pýrgos, former capital of Santorini and the largest preserved village on the island. Nestled in the foothills of Mount Profitis Ilias, Pýrgos is surrounded by photogenic vineyards, responsible for the renowned Assyrtiko white wine brand.
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Pýrgos is only seven and a half kilometers south of Fira, but it’s worlds away in terms of lifestyle. Here, the pace of life is more relaxed; everyone seems to have plenty of time on their hands for a leisurely glass of ouzo in the main square, with its bijou coffee shops and ancient tavernas surrounded by rows of pine trees.
The complex consists of nine unique suites, plus four self-contained villas a little way along the road. Each is decorated in contemporary bright, earthy tones, with subtle accents of lime green, ochre, magenta, and sky blue. Designed by two brothers — an architect and a geologist — the idea behind The Voreina was to create an environment where guests feel as if they’re staying at a friend’s home — and we’re pleased to confirm that their idea works brilliantly!
The ‘Gallery’ part of the name is due to the original art donated by past resident artists: art lovers will appreciate how these works have helped create what the brothers call a ‘habitable gallery.’ Original pieces hang in every accommodation, including the Superior Suite which we’ve chosen for this review. The first thing you’ll notice is how ‘roomy’ the suite is, with a floor space of over 700 square feet. There’s a real fireplace (not that you’ll need it!), a proper kitchen complete with oven and hob, and a huge flat-screen TV.
Bathrooms are enormous, with a combination hydromassage and rain-shower that’s bigger than most hotel bathrooms. With ultra-comfy 100% organic Coco-Mat mattresses, the oversize beds can accommodate 6-footers and over with ease. All suites have their own private courtyard with a large plunge-pool, offering spectacular sunset views of the Aegean Sea.
Service is efficient and very discreet: Breakfast, ordered the night before, arrives promptly at any hour you choose (up to noon), and the friendly receptionists, or even the owner himself, are happy to recommend local restaurants and cafes, so you can immerse yourself in local Greek food culture. The staff are also very good with kids, which is not always true with boutique hotels.
Address: Pyrgos, 84701, Greece
Best For: Couples and families
Price for Superior Suite (6 nights, peak season): $2,702
Nostos Beach Hotel
Well, here’s a find! The gorgeous Nostos Beach Hotel is just 10 yards from the beach, yet a double room can be booked for only $525 (including gratis sunloungers!). For this review, we’ve chosen their top-spec room – but that still comes in at under $850 for a week’s stay. We’ll get into the rooms’ details soon, but first, we need to talk about the beach – because it’s kind of special.
Kamari Beach, known locally as simply ‘Black Beach,’ is made from tiny grains of volcanic glass, which give it a rare black coloration. Stretching for just over 5 kilometers, it’s one of the three longest beaches in Santorini, and also one of the most popular with tourists. Towering over the beach is an enormous mountain called Mesa Vouno, site of the ancient city Thera. At night the rock glistens in the moonlight, adding a magical aura to late-night strolls along the black sands. And with your hotel being so close, you can wait until the crowds have gone home and have the beach to yourselves.
The Nostos Beach hotel offers 25 rooms, including a limited amount of doubles with balconies facing the sea. Our recommendation is to take one of these, if they’re available, as breakfasting on your balcony while looking out over the Aegean is one of the key Santorini experiences and surely the best way to start your day. The rooms are clean and comfortable, and though you don’t get the opulence and luxury of a 5-star resort, they’re still surprisingly well-appointed, with little touches like a complementary bottle of sweet white wine, produced at one of Santorini’s award-winning vineyards.
Probably the best way to sum up the Nostos is to quote one of the many glowing reviews: “This is not a fancy 5-star hotel, but the style, location, cleanliness and friendly staff, including Petros the owner, made it feel like 10 stars.” (Andy, USA).
Address: Kamari, 84700, Greece
Best For: Beach lovers on a budget
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Price for Double Room with Balcony and Sea View (6 nights, peak season): $844
For our final choice, we’re staying close to Kamari’s black sand beach. The adults-only Strogili Hotel offers an unusually wide range of room options, but we’re particularly interested in the 2-person studio annex, set roughly 230 feet away from the main hotel. That’s because it’s a superb example of a traditionally-constructed cave house, yet it’s available for less than $1,500.
Although the hotel and annex are about a mile from Oia’s best sunset-viewing spots, the trade-off is the peace and quiet you get by being away from the loud music and, errm, drunken revelers that come out at night. And being so close to the beach, you’ll get one of the best views of the Aegean Sea from your balcony. A lot of the hotel was renovated in 2019, and most of the budget was seemingly spent on the interior, which is in the typically minimalist Greek style. One nice touch is that most of the wooden surfaces have been artificially distressed (à la “shabby-chic”), which beautifully complements the cool interior colors.
As with most hotels in Santorini, there is no proper restaurant here. But that’s not a problem: the choice of local restaurants and tavernas — even just 10 minutes out — is almost overwhelming. However, the Strogili provides al fresco Greek breakfasts, drinks, and snacks at the poolside bar, under the shade of some well-placed palm trees. Of course, you’re welcome to swim in the pool, but with the Aegean on your doorstep, there’s really no need!
Address: Kamari, 84700, Greece
Best For: Romantic Couples
Price for Cave Studio Annex (6 nights, peak season): $1, 494
Santorini Windmill Villas
We promised different, and this is it! Santorini Windmill Villas have re-purposed three iconic windmills as villas, and you get to stay in them. Offering private and unrivaled panoramic views across the Aegean, each villa is totally independent and comes equipped with a private kidney-shaped pool complete with hydromassage jets, a large terraced area, and even your own flower garden. Each windmill can accommodate up to 5 people — meaning they’re family-friendly — but over 90% of bookings tend to be honeymoon couples or groups of friends.
The three Windmill Villas are on the north-east coast of Santorini, roughly 900 yards from Pori Beach. The beach is not an organized affair: there are no sun loungers or umbrellas, but that just adds to the exclusivity. In fact, most people don’t know Pori Beach exists, apart from a few local families who turn up for a dip every afternoon.
Each windmill(known as Blue, Green and Lilac due to their internal color scheme), follows the same basic design. The ground floor consists of a living room, a dining room, and a fully-equipped kitchen. Moving upwards, the first-floor bedroom features a built double bed and a large en-suite bathroom. But it’s the second floor which really shows the windmill’s character, with another en-suite double bedroom and a spare sofa bed all sat under an iconic cone-shaped ceiling. Bookings are typically 6-8 months in advance, and it’s not cheap by any means; but the experience is priceless.
Address: Pori Beach, Imerovigli, 84700, Greece
Best For: Couples and families
Price for Two bedroom Villa (6 nights, peak season): $5,514