OMMA Santorini: the heights of luxury
A new clifftop hotel offers spectacular views over Santorini’s dramatic landscape
Santorini’s volcanic origins are plain to see as you approach from the air. A crescent of rock, the island and its neighbours once formed the rim of a three-mile-wide crater, now flooded by the Aegean.
From its vantage point on the inside of the arc, OMMA Santorini commands views across the water to picturesque Oia, the town that launched a thousand postcards - and to Nea Kameni, one of the younger Greek islands, which Pliny the Elder describes emerging from the sea in a puff of volcanic smoke in 19AD.
OMMA Santorini: why stay here?
While most of Santorini’s hotels occupy the beautiful – but densely packed – towns of Oia and Fira, OMMA has the luxury of space. On the edge of Imerovigli, a charming village perched on a rocky headland, it has no immediate neighbours – only the rock and terraced farmland that link back to the island’s life before tourism.
Although brand new, the hotel takes its architectural cues from an older tradition. A cluster of suites and villas, its irregular rooflines and sweeping arches would grace Oia’s cobbled streets. Inside, white walls meet vaulted ceilings in a smooth curve, giving the rooms a soothing, cave-like quality. Many have their own hot tub and all are within a moment’s walk of the pool area and restaurants.
What to do
OMMA Santorini sits behind a clifftop footpath linking Imerovigli with Oia. Just over five miles long, it takes a couple of hours to cover from one end to the other. From OMMA, you could start with the half-hour stroll to Skaros Rock, a spectacular outcrop with a footpath leading out past what little remains of a medieval castle that once stood on this forbidding site.
A taxi or rental car is the most efficient way to see the rest of the island. The archeological site of Akrotos – and the nearby red volcanic beach at Kokkini Paralia – is a half-hour away, and Oia is about 20 minutes in the other direction. The hotel can arrange wine-tasting expeditions to Santorini’s vineyards or day trips around the island.
But you may be content to explore no further than the perimeter of the hotel grounds. The swimming pool, sun loungers and bar provide one reason to stay put; the beautifully appointed spa another.
What to eat
However near or far you roam, OMMA Santorini’s restaurant will bring a taste of the island and its neighbours to your table. Breakfast and dinner both feature traditional local favourites, including a refreshing dakos salad - a mix of whipped cheese, cherry tomatoes and barley rusks - or Cretan skioufihta pasta. Orange pie, a dense syrupy cake made from crumbled phyllo pastry instead of flour, is the perfect indulgent finale.
Beyond the hotel, Imerovigli has plenty of restaurants vying for your attention. The Athenian House is one of the best, delivering on its promise to take you on a “memorable gastronomic journey”. Anogi, a few streets back from the clifftop, is a more informal choice.
When to go
Like most hotels in Santorini, OMMA closes for winter at the end of October and reopens in early April. In spring the island is green and carpeted in wildflowers and Oia’s narrow alleys feel comparatively quiet. They get progressively busier during May and June, as temperatures climb through the 20s to a peak of 29C in July. September is arguably the sweet spot, with warm days and a little respite from summer crowds.
How to get there
British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair fly to Santorini (Thira) International Airport, a 20-minute drive from OMMA Santorini. Rooms are available on the OMMA Santorini website from £429 per room per night, including breakfast.