Santorini is synonymous with sumptuous island escapes. But as any visitor to this enchanting part of Greece will tell you, not all luxury is created equal. For guests fortunate enough to secure a stay at the Katikies Kirini, a whole new level of splendor is unlocked.
The sprawling property was repurposed from a historic monastery just over 15 years ago. Since then, it has cemented its status as one of the island’s most stunning retreats; a haven for dependable hospitality. It clings to the edge of the volcanic caldera at the western edge of Oía. An alabaster fortress of solitude, it still allows easy access to frenzied nightlife in the heart of town—mere minutes, by foot. You might not end up making it too far off campus, however, considering all of the enticing food and beverage on offer here.
Let’s start off with a look at the latter. Guests can thumb through an encyclopedic wine list drafted by Yiannis Karakasis, the property’s resident Master of Wine. “A great wine list is a combination of diversity, excitement and adventure,” according to the world-renowned expert, “Wine is fun, above all; this together with producers who are true to their land, gives the best result.”
It also doesn’t hurt, of course, to own a jaw-dropping setting from which to serve it. And when you’re sitting at the Katikies Lounge, enjoying the sunset over the caldera’s edge, the glass of Assyrtiko in hand will weave its way into memories you’ll never forget. Naturally, the most popular wine variety of Santorini is in no short supply on the menu. There are enviable examples, by the glass, from several local producers. But you’ll also be invited to explore other native expressions built around Savatiano, Agiorgitiko, or Xinomavro. It’s much easier to understand the value of each if you indulge in an evening wine-tasting course offered to hotel guests, deep in the recesses of the former monastery. Just make sure you’re back at the lounge for the daily magic hour ritual of tsibologima. It simply entails indulging in a number of bite-sized snacks—including island-sourced charcuterie and cheese—paired alongside fresh wines or cocktails.
A more formal dining option is available at Therasia, open nightly at 6:30pm. Artfully-rendered cuisine here can best be described as Modern Mediterranean. It is conceived by Michelin-starred chef Ettore Botrini who wows guests with seven-course degustation menus that evolve with the seasons. Recent standouts include Aegean crab seasoned with summer vegetables, anise and Assyrtiko; Veal Tonnato enlivened by bottarga, hazelnuts and Greek coffee; and his signature mushroom tartlet—a geometric marvel for both mouth and eyes. The full menu is offered at €165 per person, but it’s best realized with the addition of an €80 wine pairing.
And it ought to all be realized right now, during the magic that is shoulder season. Most Santorini locals adamantly encourage you to visit during these magical moments on the opposite ends of summer. Arrive from May through early June or September into mid-October and you’re gifted optimal opportunities to enjoy mild weather minus the throngs of tourists. You’ll also enjoy a place like Katikies Kirini at a discounted rate. Rooms here, with unobstructed views of the iconic landscape, outdoor patios (and plunge pools if you reserve a suite) are currently going for as little as €417 per night.