Charisma Suites – Small luxury hotel with a lot of charm and a privileged location in Oia with direct sunset views over the caldera.
An all-suite property, Charisma is home to sixteen cave-style suites hand-carved into the caldera and one suite in a historic windmill perched at the top of the cliff. All suites come with a private terrace and a sunset view; most add a private outdoor jacuzzi or heated plunge pool. The main infinity pool offers stunning views is served all day by the pool bar, which also hosts complimentary champagne sunset events nightly. A larger, quieter infinity pool is on the bottom floor with equally gorgeous views. Nestled in a tranquil nook above Ammoudi Bay, Charisma is one of only a handful of hotels in Oia that offer caldera and sunset views. Ideal for romantic getaways, honeymoons, and proposals.
Charisma Suites – Location
• Area: Situated above Ammoudi Bay and built vertically down the side of the caldera in the peaceful southwest end of Oia. The hotel sits in a pedestrian-only zone, though it is only a short walk from the main driving road. The hotel is within walking distance of the Byzantine castle ruins and Ammoudi Bay to the southwest and shopping, dining, and attractions of Oia to the east.
• How to Get There: The hotel sits partway down the side of the caldera, so it can be tricky to find. Look for Oia’s historic windmills; Charisma’s name is written on the side of its Windmill Suite near the hotel entrance. First-timers to Santorini should coordinate with the hotel directly to have someone meet you at arrival and guide you to the entrance, whether arriving by bus, taxi or driving yourself. It is approximately 23km from the Athinios ferry port and about 17km from the the Santorini Airport to the hotel.
There are always buses waiting at the ferry port for every ferry arrival, as well as buses departing hourly from Santorini Airport. There are no direct buses from the port or airport to Oia, though. Buses from both locations go to Fira, where you must then board a different bus to Oia – the entire trip from the port or airport to Oia will take at least an hour and cost about €5 in total. Tickets are purchased on the bus, in cash only. From the Oia Bus Terminal, it’s a 7-minute walk to the hotel, a short distance but easy to get lost in the tangle of footpaths.
Taxis are also available from the port or airport, though there are only about 25 taxis serving the whole island, so there is often a wait; schedule a ride through a private car service in advance to avoid this (I use and recommend Welcome Pickups). Taxis on Santorini are not metered, so be sure to agree on a price with the driver before setting out. A taxi from the airport to Charisma Suites will cost roughly €35 to €40. A taxi from the ferry port will cost around €35 to €40. Booking through a private car service will cost only a bit more – about $60 (or €50), but is worth it to avoid the wait and for the convenience of paying ahead.
For those who prefer to drive themselves, we recommend renting a car either at the airport on arrival or in Fira. The road from the ferry port is steep and narrow, with many tricky switchbacks, large trucks, and buses. Leave that for the locals to navigate. We strongly recommend reserving a vehicle in advance, especially if you require automatic transmission. Upon arrival in Oia, there are a few free public parking lots within a 3 to 8-minute walk of the hotel, but be patient as you may need to check a couple of lots before finding an open space.
Charisma Suites – The Basics
- Ages: Charisma Suites welcomes guests ages 13 and older. There are no amenities or facilities for children, and the largest suites only sleep up to 3 guests. Most guests are couples on a romantic getaway. The hotel is especially popular for honeymoons, anniversaries, proposals, and weddings.
- Beach: The closest swimming spot, though it’s not a proper beach, is at Ammoudi Bay, the port immediately below Oia, 500 meters down (11-minute walk). This is a popular spot for swimming and cliff diving; though it’s too rocky and small to do much lounging. Ammoudi Bay is the main port of Oia and is served by several spectacular seafood restaurants. It’s a steep trek down and back again, but it’s relatively easy to catch a cab at the bottom to bring you back up the hill. (Buy a snack at one of the restaurants and the waiter will be happy to call one for you.)
- View: Rare for Oia, every suite has an unobstructed view of the caldera and sunset.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: 10 of the hotel’s 17 suites have private, outdoor, heated pools or jacuzzis: the Charisma Windmill Suite has an outdoor jacuzzi, Charisma Pool Suites have outdoor, heated plunge pools, the Charisma Cave Pool Suite has a covered, heated pool, and Honeymoon Suites have outdoor jacuzzis.
- Parking: There are a few free public parking lots within a 3 to 6-minute walk of the hotel, and even more if you check farther east. Be patient, as you may need to check a couple of lots before finding an open space, especially during the high season.
- Extras: 24-hour reception, 24-hour room service, nightly sunset events with free champagne and nibbles, private or shared transportation to the port or airport (additional charge).
- When to Book: The hotel operates from mid-March until early November. Reserve at least 6 months in advance (8 months or more is better) for stays during the high season from June through September, and about 4 months in advance for the low and shoulder seasons.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +30 22860 27310
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: charismasuites.com/
Charisma Suites – Amenities
- Pool: Two infinity pools offer breathtaking views over the caldera toward the sunset. The smaller pool is served by an all-day bar with a mostly covered lounge area, while the larger pool offers a calmer atmosphere and a sun terrace.
- Spa: No spa onsite. Spa and salon services are done in-suite.
- Fitness Center: No gym.
- For Disabled Guests: This is one of the more extreme examples of Santorinian cave architecture with a vertical layout interlinked by major stairways and no elevator. Not suitable for guests with any kind of mobility issues. Definitely not wheelchair accessible.
- For Families: Ages 13 and older are allowed at the hotel. There are no specific amenities or facilities for families, and the largest room, the Charisma Cave Pool Suite, sleeps a maximum of 3 guests.
- Activities: Nightly champagne sunset events at the pool bar with complimentary champagne and hors d’oeuvres. Activities outside the hotel, including wine tours and tastings, caldera cruises, and excursions to the Akrotiri ruins, can be arranged by their experienced concierge.
Charisma Suites – Food and Drink
- Restaurant: No restaurant though there is a small kitchen on site that prepares breakfast, lunch, and dinner until 10:00 p.m. After 10:00 a menu of light bites is available overnight until breakfast.
- Lounge/Bar: Wonderful poolside bar preparing a delightful menu of signature and classic cocktails, local wine, and beer. About half an hour before sunset every night, there is a complimentary champagne event with finger foods.
- Breakfast: Complimentary, a la carte breakfast is served directly to each suite on their caldera-view terrace at the time of your choosing.
- Room Service: Room service is available 24 hours a day.
Charisma Suites – Rooms
- Room Types: Charisma Windmill Suite • Charisma Pool Suite with Caldera View • Charisma Cave Pool Suite with Caldera View • Honeymoon Suites with Jet Tub and Caldera View • Senior Suite Caldera View • Double Room Caldera View
- Smoking Rooms: Charisma Suites does not allow smoking in any of its rooms. Smoking is allowed on the private, outdoor terraces and in the outdoor common areas of the hotel.
- Best Rooms: The three best rooms are the Charisma Windmill Suite (one-bedroom suite in a historic landmark, spread over two floors with an outdoor jacuzzi), Charisma Pool Suite (the newest suites, spacious and luxurious with a heated plunge pool), and the Charisma Cave Pool Suite (a perennial favorite with the hotel’s largest private pool – covered and heated – built in traditional, Santorinian cave-style).
- For Families: Guests ages 13 and older are allowed at the property, but there are no amenities or facilities for families. Only the Charisma Cave Pool Suite can accommodate up to 3 guests. Groups of more than 3 will need to book an extra room. Everything at the hotel was designed with couples in mind.
Charisma Suites – Local Transport
- Walking: The hotel is located on the western point of Oia, walking distance to the area’s best restaurants, shopping, and sights. Ammoudi Bay is accessible via a steep and winding path, easy to descend the 550m down, but arduous going back up; many people taxi back to the top. The heart of Oia, with its fine dining, luxury boutiques, and a few bars is only a 2-minute walk from the hotel, while the castle ruins are only 4 minutes away.
- Bus: Charisma Suites is close to the Oia Bus Terminal, just a 7-minute walk. Buses here serve all of the major villages and beaches on the island. Routes to Imerovigli, Firostefani, and Fira are direct, while all routes to the beaches, port, airport, or other villages require a change of bus in Fira. Tickets are bought on board, and range from €1.80 to €2.50 per person in the daytime, depending on the route. Night buses (12:30 am to 5 am) run less frequently and cost a little more, from €2.30 to €3.10. Buses can get very crowded, especially during the high season, so much so that they often fill to capacity and are unable to take on more passengers. There are only 23 public buses serving the island.
- Taxis: The nearest taxi stand is at Stathmos Taxi, a 7-minute walk away near the Oia Bus Terminal, but there is often a wait as there are only 25 taxis serving the entire island (with guests from about 1,000 hotels, villas, and Airbnbs). Book ahead to avoid the wait, plus you can have them meet you closer to the hotel. A taxi from the airport to Charisma Suites should be about €35 to €40, and a taxi to Fira or the ferry port from Charisma Suites should be about €35 to €40. There will be a small surcharge for advanced reservations and for carrying luggage, usually just a couple of Euros.
- Scooters/Motorcycles: Scooters are the main mode of transportation for the locals, but if you’re unfamiliar with the terrain, it can be very dangerous. The roads here are zigzagging, hilly, narrow, and have sheer drop-offs with no guardrails and no street lights in most areas. Lots of dirt roads and potholes.
- ATVs/Quads: ATVs are a fun and popular mode of transportation with tourists, but for the locals stuck driving behind them, they move too slowly and hold up traffic in an area where getting around is already a hassle. For those who don’t ride quads regularly (i.e. most people), they can be dangerous at high speeds and on turns. Crashing your ATV is a sure-fire way to ruin your vacation.
Charisma Suites – What’s Nearby?
Best Nearby Restaurants
- Lotza: Simple, honest Greek comfort food with stunning caldera views. 3-minute walk.
- Roka: Authentic, Santorinian menu with solid dishes, especially the meatballs and octopus. 5-minute walk.
- Candouni: Cozy, family-owned restaurant with live Greek music and absolutely delicious food. 5-minute walk.
- PitoGyros: Hands-down, the best gyros in Oia. Seating is limited. 8-minute walk.
- Ammoudi Bay Restaurants: Each of these waterfront restaurants is phenomenal, offering the freshest fish on the island. The steep 11-minute walk down takes longer coming back up, but your waiter will be happy to call you a cab.
- Melitini: 100% Greek menu using local Santorinian, Cycladic, and Greek ingredients only. 12-minute walk.
Best Nearby Bars and Breweries
- Marykay’s Bar/Hassapiko: The only real bar and the only spot for dancing in Oia, regularly hosting live bands and DJs. 4-minute walk.
- Sunset Sangria Bar: Chill spot for sangria, cocktails, and tapas with excellent sunset views (though not of the caldera). 6-minute walk.
- Fino Cocktail Bar & Restaurant: The best cocktails in Santorini. Plus, inspired Mediterranean food and an extensive wine list. 7-minute walk.
Best Nearby Cafes
- Vitrin Café Creperie: One of the best breakfasts on the island, plus AMAZING sunset views if you arrive early enough to snag a table. 1-minute walk.
- Meteor: Excellent coffee and breakfast with sweeping caldera views, though a little on the pricey side. 3-minute walk.
- Passaggio: The best coffee in Santorini, solid breakfast, killer cocktails, and pretty okay sunset views from the balcony, just a little back from the caldera. 13-minute walk.
Nearby Shopping and Cool Shops
- Spilia Cave Greek Clothing: Handmade leather sandals, cotton and linen Greek clothes, located in one of the original living caves of Oia. 3-minute walk.
- Steps to Art: Truly unique metal sculptures, replicas inspired by Akrotiri, and jewelry made with volcanic sand and watch parts. 3-minute walk.
- Atlantis Books: Widely considered to be the best bookstore in the world. Nat Geo calls it a “Destination of a Lifetime.” 4-minute walk.
- It’s a Beautiful Day: Greek-designed clothing and luxury-brand accessories. 4-minute walk.
- B.Loose: Greek-made, casual linens for men and women. 6-minute walk.
- Bligaki: Santorinian accessories, especially jewelry and bags, mostly handmade. 7-minute walk.
- BLOW by Labro: High-end designer boutique with unique pieces. 8-minute walk.
- Oia-Fira Hiking Trail: One of the top attractions on the island is this scenic 10.5 km hiking trail connecting Oia and Fira. A mix of sidewalk, cobblestones, and dirt trail, this route boasts gorgeous vistas the entire way. Hiking south to Fira, the full length of the path from the Byzantine Castle Ruins takes from 2 to 5 hours; Add about an hour for a detour at Skaros Rock in Imerovigli. 3-minute walk from the hotel.
- Maritime Museum: Small museum focused on Greek Naval and Santorinian seafaring history. Only €3 to enter. 4-minute walk.
- Museum of Ancient, Byzantine Musical Instruments: Faithful replicas of Greek instruments dating from the prehistoric through Byzantine eras. 4-minute walk.
- Castle of Agios Nikolaos (aka Oia Castle): The medieval castle ruins are the most popular sunset viewpoint on the island. 4-minute walk.
- Church of Panagia of Platsani: The most iconic church in Santorini, beautiful inside and out. 6-minute walk.
- Ammoudi Bay: Best known for its fresh fish restaurants, Ammoudi is the rocky port of Oia; boats sail to Thirassia and cruise the caldera from here. It’s an incredibly popular spot for cliff diving, and is one of the best places to swim on the island. 11-minute walk.
- Domaine Sigalas: Santorini’s best winery, with options for tours, tastings, and tapas. 37-minute walk or 8-minute drive.
Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores
- Mini Market: There is a small market up the hill directly above the hotel with drinks, snacks, and some basic items. 1-minute walk.
- Asteras Supermarket: Small, but solid selection with a surprising amount of fresh produce for its size, along with prepackaged deli cuts, snacks, beer, wine, and some beach gear. 8-minute walk.
- Elliniki Diatrofi Supermarket: Great selection of local cheeses, wine, liquor, fresh produce, and staples. Open until after midnight, sometimes as late as 2 am. 8-minute walk.
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