Santorini clings to the side of a submerged (and thankfully fairly docile) volcano in the Aegean Sea, which has formed the island’s distinctive caldera landscape over millennia. When visiting, you’ll want a chic pool and terrace from which to appreciate all this natural beauty, and that’s what we bring you here – a selection of the best hotels with pools, from clifftop infinities to private hot tubs with sunset views.
The opera-inspired Aria Suites occupy one of the highest spots in Thira, Santorini’s clifftop capital, offering unbroken views of the Aegean and the caldera. The whitewashed, minimalist accommodations pay homage to the Cycladic style with curved doorways and enclaves, and include villas as well as suites. Each comes with a laptop and has its own pool and terrace, on which a champagne breakfast is served every morning. Yacht tours out to the volcano can be arranged with hotel partner Santo Maritime Yachting.
Here, the pool area isn’t the largest you’ll ever encounter, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in appointment and character: surrounded by chunky leather loungers, it hugs the cliffs of Imerovigli in northern Santorini, directly above the Skaros Rock and the Venetian Fortress. Gain access by booking one of the cosy, curvy suites, even the most basic of which has a balcony with views of the caldera and the island’s celebrated sunset. Thira is an enjoyable twenty-minute walk away, and Oia can be reached via a short bus ride.
Pool enthusiasts won’t be disappointed: situated in the vertiginous village of Firostefani on Santorini’s northwest coast, it feels as if it’s suspended in mid-air, floating above the Aegean and the mighty volcano. Take it all in over a poolside cocktail or on your private balcony, from which you’re also perfectly placed to enjoy the sunset. Firostefani is technically a suburb of Thira, with which it’s connected by a clifftop path offering memorable views of the volcanic landscape.
Named after owners Anthony and Eliza, whose family bought this 19th-century villa in the late 1980s, the Anteliz Suites are situated down the road from the Belvedere, high on the cliffs of Firostefani. Every morning, breakfast is served on the cloud-level pool terrace, from which you can goggle at the volcano that shaped Santorini’s lunar landscape. For private sunning and chilling, book a pool or jacuzzi suite, the latter of which features an open-air hot tub overlooking the caldera. Boat excursions to the volcano can be arranged at reception.
Step into a miniature Santorinian village at Kamari’s Tamarix del Mar Suites, a complex of domed white and ochre houses clustered around an open-air pool. There’s also a heated pool and jacuzzi in the spa, which offers caviar facial treatments and candlelit massages. Suites are spread throughout the five houses and revel in bold local colours – think Aegean blue and the riotous pink of bougainvilleas, vying for space on pale yellow walls. Kamari’s black beach is 150m (500ft) away.
Thireas Hotel & Villas offers four accommodation options on Santorini. At Thira’s four-star boutique hotel, the pool occupies the highest point on the premises: cool blue waters merge with sea and sky. Also in the island’s capital is the three-bedroom “1809” Villa, the terrace of which features 360-degree views and a jacuzzi overlooking the volcano. A little further north, in the village of Imerovigli, another villa occupies a mid-18th century windmill (also with panoramic views), just down the road from Thireas’ luxury cave apartments in Vourvoulos.
Stay in the thick of it at Panorama Studios and Suites, a friendly three-star on Ipapantis, one of Thira’s main thoroughfares. Far above the ground-level activity, in a world of its own, a chic pool terrace provides sunset and volcano views, as does V Lounge, a rooftop bar serving cocktails and Greek and international wines. Explore Santorini’s eventful history and learn about its turbulent volcano at the Museum of Prehistoric Thera and the Archaeological Museum, both of which are just a four-minute walk from reception.
An infinity pool, a jacuzzi and queen bed-sized loungers facing out to sea, the volcano and the sunset? Check. An equally impressive vista will also accompany your meal at the indoor-outdoor restaurant here, where acclaimed Greek chef Dimitris Skarmoutsos creates dishes starring the finest Mediterranean ingredients. All rooms and suites at this four-star establishment have private balconies, and most also feature private hot tubs and caldera views. Laptops are available upon request, and a free shuttle bus to Thira runs five times a day.
Marriott’s Vedema Resort occupies the site of a 500-year-old vineyard in Megalochori, a tranquil village on Santorini’s west coast. The wine cellars now provide an elegantly-aged setting for both a private dining space, the Cavana Wine Bar – the tasting venue – and the intimate Alati Restaurant, where the menu focuses on locally-sourced fish and meat. You can also dine upstairs, at casual poolside eatery Pergola. Accommodations have either city, inland or sea views and range from one-bed suites to three-bedroom villas.