It was dark by the time we got off the airplane. Our hotel had arranged a pickup. All we had to do was locate the cabbie. As expected, he was there holding a sign with our name on it, spelled out perfectly! It was a shared pickup and we expected some waiting time. But a smile lit up when he told us we were his one and only pickup for the day. Yay!
Twisting and turning on the dark winding roads of the volcanic isle of Santorini, we reached our destination. On the way, we observed a few things; absence of traffic lights and the distance between Fira and Oia (pronounced ee-ah) was longer than expected.
I had banked on possibility of travelling on foot between the towns ditching the public transport. Although there is a walking trail between the two, it’s a one-time excursion. And wifey’s aversion to the sun negated the possibility of that excursion as well.
As we roamed around the island in the days to come, we realised why there were no traffic lights. Everyone drives around with a sense of which vehicle has to be given priority on the road. Add the inherent easy going nature of the island and there’s no need for the lights. No one hurries up a vacation, do they?!
We were warmly greeted by the concierge team on our arrival. It looked like they have been waiting for us. The cabbie must’ve called the hotel when he picked us up. Being budget travellers, we never splurged on luxury hotels. So I really looking forward what € 460 per night would bring us.
We had reserved Artisan’s House in Ikies Traditional Houses in Oia. Ikies (pronounced aai-ki-aa) is a small boutique “cave” hotel with just 11 rooms. And all rooms have fantastic views of the caldera.
Each room here has a different theme. There is a Boatman’s House, a Winemaker’s House and a Sailor’s House. And as the name goes, each of these have elements of the name in the theme. And though we did a lot of research on the room and its amenities, the hotel did mention that they were re-designing. So we had no clue what the new design would look like. And boy, were we happy!
Our room was all white with grey highlights (Greek law requires all Cyclades houses to be painted white but sometimes light ochre, pink, and some other light colors are allowed). A huge lantern that reminded of candle paper lantern hung from the ceiling. A plush grey sofa on the left wall contrasted with the white satin sheet on the bed. Above the sofa a big metal frame with something written in Greek and what looked like an ouzo bottle added the element of art. There was a heated private plunge pool outside the room. And as would be expected from a place like this, it was heated to a perfect temperature even before we arrived.
The staff was very courteous and when we told them about the super long flight we took to get there, they offered to order dinner from nearby restaurants (as the kitchen was closed for the day) and get it delivered straight to the room.
We retired for the night but not before taking a dip in the private pool. 🙂