WIN A LUXURY HOLIDAY TO SANTORINI AND READ OUR BEGINNERS GUIDE TO THE ISLAND…
Date Posted: 19 March
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We’re giving you the chance to WIN flights and a three night stay at the Grace Santorini – an exclusive boutique hotel nestled above the world-famous Caldera with breathtaking views and sublime sunsets. We’ll also dress you head to toe in a brand new Thomas Pink holiday wardrobe worth £1,000. Head to www.thomaspink.com/competition
To whet your holiday appetite, Tom Barber, one of the co-founders of award-winning Original Travel and also the Travel Editor for Esquire Magazine, gives you his ultimate guide to Santorini…
Of all the Greek Islands Santorini is the most iconic thanks to cliff edge-clinging white houses; big blue skies, seas and church roofs; and killer sunsets that run a fuller pantone range even than a Thomas Pink summer shirt collection. Add in some seriously slick boutique hotels, a buzzing bar scene and recently arrived direct BA flights and Santorini is dictionary definition Greek chic.
Despite the island’s cast of classy boutique hotels Grace Santorini is hard to beat. Just over a mile from Fira, the island’s buzzy capital, the Grace is so delectable you may be tempted never to leave. There are just 21 rooms and suites (and one private villa) and your typical day might go something like this – start with a champagne breakfast (natch) then swan around the supremely elegant white interiors before settling down beside the main attraction – the infinity pool overlooking the massive volcanic caldera that makes you realise you’re perched on the rim of a massive volcano. Don’t worry it’s long since extinct. Come late afternoon, order a Grace cocktail (apple, pear, lemon, vodka and lemongrass) at the Pool Bar and gawp at arguably the world’s best sunset with the sun disappearing beyond the caldera into the Aegean Sea.
The restaurant at the Grace Santorini is pretty tidy, but in Fira the go-to is Argo. Owner Constantinos Chatzopoulos will doubtless welcome you like a long lost friend (in a good way) and he’s so convinced that his formula works that he’s diversified into restaurant consulting. He might be on to something – Argo has a great atmosphere, predictably good views from the terrace, and serves up an excellent selection of Greek taverna classics. Try the prawn saganaki and pretty much anything grown on the island such as cherry tomatoes, capers, fava beans and pistachios that benefit from the rich volcanic soil.
On the subject of homegrown produce, Santorini is home to more than 20 boutique wineries making some pretty decent whites. Sample some of these or a range of delicious cocktails at Franco’s Bar, in Fira again. The terrace is a deeply civilised place to while away an evening (it’s another killer sunset spot) and they have a classical music only policy, which makes a refreshing change from the Europop on offer in other bars. If Europop (and some half decent dance music too) appeals, then head to Enigma with its three dancefloors – one in a barrel vaulted ceiling that’s also home to the main bar (where you’re having an ouzo. Sorry, we insist, when in Rome….) – and outdoor terrace complete with palm trees and usually a smattering of slebs.
After all that hedonism (from the Greek word for pleasure, no less) it’s time to appreciate another reason for visiting Greece – the ridiculous amount of antiquity at every turn. On Santorini exhibit A is for Akrotiri, a remarkably well-preserved Bronze Age settlement. The theory goes that when Santorini’s volcano blew her top so spectacularly four thousand years ago a fabled city slipped beneath the waves and the legend of Atlantis was born. Akrotiri remains a tantalising glimpse into this civilisation before the big bang.
Tom Barber is one of the co-founders of award-winning Original Travel and also the Travel Editor for Esquire Magazine. 020 7978 7333/ firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on Original Travel please visit www.originaltravel.co.uk