“It’s spectacular,” someone exclaims somewhere in the distance, and I am lost for words. Spectacular doesn’t even begin to describe what I see. The magic of Apano Meria rendered me silent, and all I can do is stare at that unbelievable sky as it touches the Aegean at the horizon with fiery reds and purples that colored the murex in royal hues.
It’s the Santorini sunset glistening over the Caldera and making the whitewashed cliff houses of Oia sparkle like rubies and amber under the skies. I had read about Oia’s sunsets before I booked my trip to Santorini. I saw beautiful pictures on Instagram; I watched YouTube videos. None of these come close to the real experience, and no photograph can capture this fantastic spectacle that my eyes relate to my heart in words of children’s fairy tales. It feels like “once upon a time” was born in a Santorini sunset.
In Oia, crowds gather in clusters around the highest vantage points to watch the sunset. I know where they are, I know how busy these spots can get. I joined them when I first arrived, ever so eager to experience my destination as the ones who praise it so much. But I have discovered that contemplating the skies from the peace of my suite at Santo Maris OIA, sipping Vinsanto, and holding my wife’s hand in mine, is a far more rewarding experience after a day exploring Asimis’s cradle. The painter of Santorini captured the essence of this corner of the world, but his skies stay blue, a mere background for the iconic architecture of the island, which remains somber and stern, yet soothing on canvas.
I think that Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa is just like these paintings, a haven of peace with whitewashed walls built to keep you in a state of perpetual honeymoon. There’s no need of superlatives to describe a place that makes you feel like a Greek hero or god. The veranda is furnished to make you linger with the hypnotic views stretching out forever in the distance and the infinite fills you up with the flair of a thousand poets.
Some white magic possessed the people who built Santo Maris in this spot, and you cannot help but fall under the spell of the place. The suite’s minimal décor is just the thing that soothes you. It’s a special kind of Zen that fits flawlessly into the landscape, with no element to detract from the mystery of this place. In many ways, Santo Maris is the epitome of Oia’s moniker, Apano Meria (meaning heaven on Earth). It’s muted luxury, for the lack of a better term, because every detail in the suite and around the resort is inconspicuous but elegant and clean.
You have a heated Jacuzzi (feature image) to soak if you want the über-posh experience with views of the Aegean. There’s also the Revival Spa (above) within the resort if just spending halcyon moments caressed by the breeze is not enough. In fact, you can spend an entire holiday within the walls of the resort if you want to escape reality in total bliss.
We like to stay still, my wife and I, but we also like discovering places and taking in the spirit of the destination. Santo Maris was a pleasant surprise for our lazy days, but it also filled our short vacation with an unforgettable adventure. The experience started at Alios Ilios with the authentic Greek breakfast and continued later in the evening with a romantic sunset private cruise on the Aegean organized by our gracious hosts from Santo Maris. Seeing Oia at sunset from the sea is another mental picture I will hold on for as long as I live. As far as Santo Maris is concerned, the resort is perfect for its location, peaceful character, elegant interiors, and irreproachable concierge.