“ Address: Imerovigli 847 00 22860-22618 „
We went to Santorini on 26 June 2012 for a week. There are 2 sides to the island, one side is flat and consists mainly of beach resorts. The other side is built into the cliff face and is therefore very high above sea level. I had my heart set on the cliff side of the island but soon learnt that the hotel prices on this side are very high, particularly because we are quite fussy about hotels and prefer a modern style and wanted a good balcony view. After much searching I came across Tholos Resort which was expensive but reasonable in comparison to other similar hotels.
Tholos is a small family run hotel with 12 rooms.
**Booking & Prices**
I booked directly with the hotel which I felt most comfortable with. There were cheaper prices available from 3rd party websites but they weren't that much cheaper and always feel like a risk. The hotels website is easy to use and booking was a breeze and the online booking facility looked professional and felt trustworthy.
For 7 nights in the hotel we paid Euro180 per night which came to Euro1260 in total. Yes this does sound expensive but when put into context is very reasonable.
The hotel is located in a town called Imerovigili. The town mainly consists of 4-5* hotels but also houses a few restaurants. It is a very quiet peaceful area and a great place to relax and feel like you are away from it all. We visited all other towns on the island and none were quite like Imerovigli...yes it may not have everything there on your doorstep (bars, shops, restaurants) but it was so relaxing.
The hotel is roughly a 15 minute taxi journey from the airport. Upon booking we were asked if we would require a taxi transfer to be booked via the hotel for Euro20 each way. I compared this to prices on HolidayTaxis and found it to be a very good price so asked the hotel to book this for us. Imerovigili is a 30 minute walk from capital city Fira where you will find plenty of shops, bars, restaurants. Therefore you are not too far away from everything. The walk is on a popular path along the cliffs and there are several bars and restaurants along the way.
The buildings are literally built into the cliffs which looks amazing and means the hotels have an amazing view. Beneath the buildings is a sheer cliff drop which is quite nerve-wracking but also amazing and so different from anywhere I have ever been before.
Due to the way the buildings are built there are many steep slopes and steps which must be used to get around. Tholos itself is built on a few different levels and you have to walk down steep steps to get down to the rooms from the reception. We are both young and healthy therefore this didn't pose a problem to use, however anyone who struggles on their feet would find this part of the island difficult if not impossible. There are no lifts and not many slopes for wheelchairs therefore its really only for the able bodied. Despite this the hotel staff do all they can to help and insist on carrying your suitcases up and down from your rooms etc.
The rooms made available on booking are standard, superior, family, junior suite & honeymoon suite. I reserved a superior room and when I booked with the hotel I requested room 205 after reading a Tripadvisor review which recommended this room for a great unobstructed view and most private balcony. The hotel said they couldn't guarantee we would get this room but they would do all they can to accommodate my request. I was very happy when we were taken to room 205 and thought it was nice that the hotel had genuinely considered my request.
You enter the rooms via the balcony as because they are built into the cliffs there is no other way in. The balcony was very large and offered a picture perfect unobstructed view towards the sea where we could see Crete in the distance and watch the sunset at night. I have never seen such an amazing view, never mind had it on my own balcony and found this to be the highlight of my visit. On the balcony there was a table, 2 chairs and a parasol.
The room didn't disappoint either - I was already aware that the room wouldn't be quite as modern as our usual choices but I actually really loved it and in the end was glad it wasn't too modern as that wouldn't really have suited the place. The room consisted of 2 areas, the lower area near the balcony doors was like a mini lounge / kitchenette. There was a sofa with a large glass table, and nearer the window was a chair with a purple material cover, another small table and a writing desk. The kitchenette included a work surface, sink, full size fridge and basic crockery, glass ware and cutlery. We weren't planning on cooking our own food during the visit so the kitchenette was fine for us, and actually a bonus in what was advertised as a hotel room (as opposed to an apartment) Yet the large fridge offered storage for our own wine and water supplies which proved very useful and a step up from the tiny minibar style fridges that we usually find in hotels.
The second area of the room was slightly raised from the first area differentiating it from the rest. The bed was king size and was one whole bed (not 2 beds pushed together) It wasn't really comfy but didn't really bother us, however anyone suffering with back problems may have found it uncomfortable. Opposite the bed was a dressing table with mirror and a wardrobe. I was pleased to see the dressing table as I like to get ready infront of a decent mirror and not in the bathroom. There were also plug sockets located right near the dressing table so I could dry / straighten my hair. The wardrobe was slightly smaller than I would have liked and only had a very small hanging area with few hangers, so most of our clothes were left folded on the shelf.
The bathroom really let the whole room down. To me it looked extremely dated and very old as though nothing had been upgraded for a long time. Everything seemed to have a yellowy tinge even the mirror. Despite this everything worked well in the bathroom, the water was always hot and the shower was powerful. The shower was actually in the bath but the shower head was attached to the wall and there was a shower curtain which was fine.
There was a phone in the room and also a safe in the wardrobe. I wasn't that keen on how the safe worked, rather than being digital you opened it with a key attached to your room key, meaning if someone stole your room keys they could not only get in your room but also in the safe! The room was also fitted with air conditioning which worked perfectly and kept us nice and cool when needed. There was a television in the room which had a lot of channels but unfortauntely none were English, I don't like watching TV while away but was hoping for some sort of music channel for when we were in the room but we struggled to find anything. But this hardly mattered as one shouldn't be watching TV whilst on holiday.
In terms of freebies there were some mini shower gel and shampoos in the bathroom and in the fridge we were given a complimentary bottle of local white wine and a few large bottles of mineral water. This was such a nice touch, it was lovely and generous to get the wine and we enjoyed it whilst watching the sunset one night. But even better was the water, I always find the first thing you need when you arrive in a hot country is water and of course you can't drink from the taps in Santorini, so it was brilliant to be able to pour out some cool water when we arrived and have enough to last for the first couple of days. We were also given a while towelling robe and matching slippers each which were great for chilling out in before getting ready in the evening and gave the stay a luxury feel.
There was never any noise in the hotel and our sleep was peaceful and uninterrupted. Despite the bar being open until late no loud music was played.
The whole hotel was kept really clean. The maid visited our room every day and cleaned it well and left fresh towels daily. We saw the maid around the hotel but were never disturbed by her and got the feeling she tried to make sure we were out when she visited which was very thoughtful. The pool and bar area was also kept very clean so we have no complaints about that.
We don't usually spend a lot of time by the pool on holiday but this pool area was too good to ignore. It consisted of a small swimming pool which despite not being exactly an infinity pool still gave the same impression of literally spilling into the sea in the distance, several cushioned sun-beds with parasols and small tables, and a manned bar area. The view from the pool was just as amazing as our balcony. The pool itself was more of a size for chilling and taking a dip rather than actually swimming which suited us fine. It was a nice temperature, not too cold but fresh enough to cool you off.
The pool area as a whole was small but since there are only 12 rooms in the hotel it was more than enough room and on most occasions we were either the only ones there or there were only 2-3 other people. The hotel provided beach towels which are left on the sun beds for your use and then you simply leave them behind when you leave where they are collected and washed. Our time by the pool was always very relaxed and the bar staff were always on hand to help us with anything we needed. We also noticed in the hotel guide that the pool is open until 21:00 which means you can watch the sunset while chilling.
As mentioned above the hotel bar is in the pool area but is open until late. We only used the bar area once when we were chilling by the pool during the day and thought we'd try a cocktail. The cocktails were really well made and presented well. They were reasonably priced at Euro12 each which is quite good considering the quality.
Breakfast was included in our booking and because of the nature of the hotel there is no dining hall which means breakfast is delivered to your balcony every morning. This was a great luxury and meant we could drift out to enjoy breakfast in privacy before getting ready. Breakfast was available any time between 07:00 - 12:00 which was great for lazy days when we didn't awake until later. To order breakfast you simply called reception to request it and every time it would be brought to the balcony within 10 minutes.
This was definitely the best breakfast service I have encountered at a hotel. The breakfast itself was perfect, it consisted of tea or coffee, fresh orange juice, mixed bread rolls, cream cheese, fresh tomatoes, cheese, meats, an omelette, fresh fruit and pastries with chocolate spread. All the food was tasty and there was plenty to keep us going throughout the day. In fact we were so full that on most occasions we simply shared a salad for lunch.
On the first night we arrived late afternoon and decided we would have our evening meal in the hotel. The hotel restaurant is for guests only and consists of an area a stage down from the hotel pool which shares the same fantastic view, and has 3 small tables. The bar staff come down to take your order and carry the food down from the kitchen. We both ordered pasta dishes, I had the Pasta with tomato sauce and my boyfriend had pasta with salmon. We also ordered a caprese salad and some bread.
We were both very impressed with the food which was fresh, well cooked and very generous. We were so impressed that we dined at the hotel again on another of our nights but that time ordered the food to our balcony where we enjoyed a meal at sunset. I read mixed reviews on the food in the hotel but cant understand how people couldn't rate it, we are quite fussy with food and only eat in highly rated restaurants at home therefore would recognise microwave meals when we see them, and there most certainly weren't. Therefore if you do stay in this restaurant we would highly recommend you give the meals a try.
On our other evenings mainly dined in local restaurants such as La Maison and Blue Note which were both very good. The local restaurants are expensive but the quality of food is completely worth it. We did venture out closer to Fira on one occasion to try a place we had seen on our walks, but found this to be overpriced and not very good. Therefore in our opinion Imerovigili has the better restaurants and we would recommend staying local.
Usually we don't get to know the staff to well at a hotel and rarely communicate with them, however with this being a small hotel we felt like we knew the staff and they really gave a personal touch to the service. My boyfriends suitcase went missing and didn't arrive in Santorini until later in our holiday and the 2 hotel receptionists couldn't have done enough to help us out. They insisted on calling the airport and helped us call the airports back in the UK to chase the missing luggage. They seemed genuinely concerned for us and we felt really glad we had chosen to stay in a smaller hotel where the receptionists actually remembered who we were and remembered about the missing suitcase. The other hotel staff were also very polite but in a laid-back and friendly way. The gentleman who brought our breakfast to the balcony each day always checked that we were enjoying it and would ask if we wanted anything different next time etc.
We've never had any problem with hotel staff in the past but there are always a bit cold and inpersonal, whereas here it was like being part of a family and we felt so comfortable and at ease with the staff, and were never afraid to ask anything. We didn't have to complain about anything but I got the feeling they would do all they could to solve any problems we may have encountered.
**Other Hotel Amenities**
There isnt really much else to mention other than on our final day we checked out at 12 noon yet our flight wasn't until 18:00 and we were worried about having nowhere to get changed/shower etc before our flight, however on the restaurant level of the hotel there was a toilet which also had a wet-room style shower as well as a sink and mirror. This came in really useful on our final day and meant we could freshen up before taking our flight home.
I couldn't say enough good things about this hotel and Santorini in general. Being quite young we prefer to try new places each year and rarely say that we would return somewhere, nevermind to the same hotel...however in Tholos I feel I have found a hotel that I genuinely would see myself returning to at some point. I already miss the relaxing atmosphere of the place and sincerely wish we could have stayed longer. I would highly recommend Santorini as a beautiful unique place to visit, and would of course recommend Tholos which in my opinion appeared to the one of the best placed hotels and had the balance just right between luxurious and comforting.
Tholos Hotel Resort
Tel: +30 2286022618