Bethan Eccles explores the Santorini island of white stone, blue domes and some of the best sunsets on the entire planet…


Whitewashed architecture, piercing blue domes and crystal clear oceans are what you can’t help but picture when you think of Santorini. Stay at Canaves Oia and you will get all of this and more! A proud member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the five-star property has a breathaking view of the neighbouring islands, with a sky that glows pink with each sunset and sunrise.

We were welcomed and transported by the hotel’s private driver from the smallest airport I’ve ever visited across the island to the cobbled streets, vibrant pink flowers and authentic architecture of Oia. From this immaculate, seamless beginning, I knew that Canaves Oia would pull out all the stops to really give their guests the truest taste of luxury. Every member of staff at Canaves Oia speaks perfect English, so nothing gets lost in translation, but if, like me, you can’t travel anywhere without wanting to learn something new and get involved with the local culture, then the one word you really will need is ‘ευχαριστω πολυ’, which means thank you. You’ll find your stay so amazing and incredible that you will wish there was a second way to say it!

Experience the famous Cycladic architecture first-hand in all of the accommodation at Canaves Oia. The interiors complement Santorini’s enchanting style, with elegant choices, from the furniture to the décor, and signature artwork sourced from artists local to the island. Tranquil tunes play poolside, creating the ideal atmosphere in which to utterly relax and soak up your seriously incredible surroundings. We visited in October, so we were prepared for the weather to not be at its peak, but we were pleasantly surprised that it still reached the late 20s by day, making the infinity pool the perfect place to cool off. The view from the edge is unmissable!

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Transformed from a 17th-century wine cave into a luxury spa while retaining its inherent charm, a visit to the world-class spa is essential for treatments every bit as luxurious your surroundings. We enjoyed a couples massage with signature oils, which we picked ourselves beforehand from the world-renowned Elemis cosmetics brand. If exercise is what you crave, the on-site gym is fully equipped to get your body feeling its best. Why not try a yoga class like no other with a panoramic view? Relax as you stretch, balance and breathe for optimum health…

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We hired a quad bike to discover more of the island, taking in historical sites, black sand beaches and the main town of Fira, a haven of boutiques that are every shopaholic’s dream. If adventure is what you’re after, visit one of the many sailing companies, which can transport you by catamaran for a totally different view of the island and a stop in the hot springs. Ne Kameni has become a must-stop on the catamaran cruise route, where gases are ejected into the water at temperatures as hot as 95 degrees. Dive in and enjoy the hot springs for yourself right by the active volcano, which last erupted in the 1950s and gained the status of being an official Geological Park in 2003.

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Canaves Oia’s panoramic balcony is privately reserved for you and your guests if you choose to marry here. With a maximum number of 35 guests, your dream day really will be all about you! Let family and close friends join you on the beautiful island of Santorini with 360-degree views of the Aegean Sea for the most romantic day of your lives. There couldn’t be a more perfect location than this for a personal and intimate wedding. Just be sure to pack a second pair of wedding shoes, trainers or flats, because those sought-after, iconic Santorini shots require you to walk along cobbled streets and up and down stone steps, which would not be ideal in heels.

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From the moment you arrive, the calm, island way of life envelopes you, and it’s a feeling that stays with you until long after you leave.Whether you’re heading out island hopping for your honeymoon or on the look-out for a luxury minimoon, Santorini is a dream destination and Canaves Oia the perfect place to stay, delivering on the luxury, charm and sunsets you will undoubtedly set your hearts on experiencing.