The incredible beauty of Santorini has made it one of the most visited of the Greek Islands. Located in the Cyclades Islands in the Aegean Sea, the island’s classic architecture with brilliant white houses and its signature blue-domed church roofs draws honeymooners and couples of all ages seeking that perfect Instagram-worthy vacation. All this attention can also lead to overcrowding and high prices, so find out where to stay in Santorini for couples.
The three primary towns in Santorini for visitors are Fira, Imerovigli, and Oia. All offer stunning volcanic caldera and water views. Of these, Oia is the most popular and also the most expensive. But if you want easy access to romantic and fine dining restaurants, stunning sunset views, and luxury hotels, Oia is the place to be.
There are many luxury hotels and suites in Oia, most notably those from the Canaves Oia and Andronis brands. Some of these offer amazing locations in town, just steps off the main pedestrian street, with stunning views overlooking the caldera. However, since town can get insanely busy from day trippers, cruise passengers, and tourists (although not nearly as bad in 2021!), I’d recommend staying just outside of the town of Oia at the Canaves Oia Epitome luxury hotel if you are visiting Santorini on an anniversary trip, honeymoon, or milestone birthday. See our full itinerary for 10 days in Greece here.
Canaves Oia Epitome Hotel Review
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While Canaves Oia Epitome Hotel is not adults-only, it is very well outfitted for a couples trip to Santorini. This luxury hotel is the newest of the Canaves Oia properties and delivers five-star service and quality at a slightly lower price point than its original properties in town.
Location Near Oia
We loved the location of the Canaves Oia Epitome. While not located in the heart of Oia, it offered three huge advantages:
- It is quieter because it isn’t in the middle of town, but it is only a 10 minute walk up to town, or a 3-5 minute free hotel shuttle ride;
- The hotel has beautiful sunset views;
- It is only a 10 minute walk down to Ammoudi Bay if you want to take a sunset catamaran ride or enjoy one of the fish restaurants by the water.
Plus, it is accessible by car so you don’t need to drag your luggage down the pedestrian streets of Oia and if you book a taxi, tour, or shuttle, they can pick you up right at the hotel entrance.
Rooms at Canaves Oia Epitome
Canaves Oia Epitome opened in May of 2018 and new rooms were added in 2021. As the newest of the Canaves properties, it offers a fresh and stylish decor, utilizing the volcanic rock that is abundant on Santorini, as well as the traditional domed architecture. It is the only property on the island that offers both sea and sunset views from the privacy of each of the 24 luxury villas.
Room types range from Deluxe Suites to Three-bedroom Villas that can accommodate up to seven people. We stayed in a Honeymoon Suite with a private plunge pool. These 45 square meter, one-bedroom suites feature a private patio with a table, two sunbeds, and a private plunge pool.
Walking in, we were so happy to have splurged on a luxury hotel for our 20th anniversary trip to Greece. We loved having the option to relax in the sun and cool off in the privacy of our own small pool, which offered views of the other buildings and the sea beyond.
The room itself had all of the features you would look for in a luxury hotel — a spacious seating area, a comfortable King sized bed, nightly turndown service, comfortable robes and slippers, a relaxing rain shower and double sinked vanity. The Epitome also provided a Nespresso coffee machine, tea kettle, welcome drinks, and an in-room safe.
Both nightstands offered electrical outlets and USB outlets for device charging, as well as digital lighting controls. One drawback was that the lighting control panels, which are scattered throughout the room, emit a glow at night that I found too bright and needed to use a sleep mask.
To get picky, I was not a huge fan of the bathroom set up. The bathroom sinks are behind the bed and on one side is a WC, and one the other side is a large walk in shower, with a frosted glass door. I prefer a little more separation between bathroom and bedroom and more privacy, especially so that lights don’t wake anyone if I get up at night to use the loo. The knobs on the shower and bathroom doors can also get a little slippery, so after a shower it can be hard to get a grip and open the door without some help or a washcloth to grab the handle.
Of course none of this prevented me from fully enjoying my stay or wholeheartedly recommending the Canaves Oia Epitome — I just would have made some small design changes if I had the chance.
Dining at Canaves Oia Epitome
The food and the service at the Canaves Oia Epitome were truly top notch and what you expect at a luxury hotel. Breakfast was included in our rate, and because we booked through a Virtuoso travel agent, we also received a welcome amenity and a $100 food and beverage credit. (If you want me to hook you up with a Virtuoso travel agent for these perks just let me know!)
Every morning at the Canaves Oia Epitome started with an incredible breakfast. You can order from a menu, but there are no limits to what you can order. Every dish was perfectly prepared with the freshest ingredients. Breakfast dishes are usually accompanied by a basket of pastries, coffee, juice, and fresh fruit. The omelette with arugula and tomato salad was one of my favorites.
It is also well worth the splurge to make a reservation at Elements, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant. On our first night we tried the Degustation Menu and wine pairing at Elements. While it was certainly a splurge, it was also a perfect way to kick off the trip and one of the best dining experiences we have had to date (and we are foodies!)
The service felt highly personalized, the timing was neither rushed or slow, and the service was superb, with true care and joy being taken in presenting each dish. Our dinner started with five (yep, five) different amuse bouche offerings. Some of the meal highlights were the table side preparation of traditional Santorini tomato balls and the Shabu Shabu table side preparation of Kobe A5 steak. I was so happily satisfied at the end of that meal that I couldn’t even eat until the following afternoon.
Pool & Amenities
In addition to the private plunge pools, the Canaves Oia Epitome has an infinity pool with beautiful sea views. Despite the hotel seeming fairly full while we were there, you could always find some sun lounges at the pool. These comfortable padded loungers rimmed the pool edge and were serviced by the hotel’s main restaurant.
There is a small wading pool and a rectangular infinity pool that is large enough for swimming or great for cooling off. In addition to the pool, there is a small fitness room and a spa that is opening in summer 2021. The hotel also offers yoga classes, although we didn’t notice these during our stay.
Things to do on Santorini for Couples
Santorini is a perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Everywhere you turn, the views look like something from a postcard, or an Instagram post! The blue are that blue and the whites gleam brightly. Sometimes it is hard to believe that it is truly real.
If you are looking for things to do in Santorini for couples, here are some suggestions:
- Take a wine tour: we took a half-day wine tour with Santorini Wine Trails and loved learning about Santorini’s wine making history, its unique way of growing grapes with vines in a basket shape to combat the island’s dry, windy and sunny weather, and visiting three different wineries. Our visit took us to Gavalas Winery, Domaine Sigalas, and Gaia Wines, which has a lovely location on the beach.
- Book a couple’s photo shoot: we booked a 90-minute session with Nikola from Flytographer and had so much fun exploring Oia and capturing some amazing pictures that will always remind us of this special trip and anniversary.
- Enjoy a special dinner: I’d highly recommend the Degustation dinner at Elements. We also enjoyed cliffside dining at Lycabettus but didn’t find the quality of the dishes or services as impressive as Elements. The view was terrific but I’m not sure it was worth the price.
- Take in a Santorini sunset: a private sunset catamaran tour would be ideal, but you can also enjoy the sunset views at the Canaves Oia Epitome or down in Ammoudi. If you don’t mind crowds, you can also join the throngs up at the castle ruins in Oia to take in the view. Just get there early for a good spot.
Our stay at the Canaves Oia Epitome was truly a dream come true and everything that we had hoped it would be during these two years of planning, cancelling, rescheduling, and eagerly awaiting our trip to Santorini. I’m actually grateful that we came in 2021 when tourism was only a fraction of the 2019 visitor numbers. This allowed us to enjoy Santorini at its best, without the cruise ship crowds and throngs of visitors.
You may also want to consider adding a few days in Naxos to your Greece trip. Read my review of where to stay in Naxos for couples.
Note: Feature photo from Nikola of Flytographer in Santorini.