The Vasilicos Hotel in Imerovigli, Santorini

GreeceSantoriniHotels › Vasilicos Hotel Review
by Santorini Dave • Updated: August 20, 2021

Essentials
• Location: On the caldera in Imerovigli
Map
• Hotel website: thevasilicos.com
• Hotel phone: +30 22860 23143
Check prices on Booking.com

Vasilicos Hotel in Santorini.

The main pool at The Vasilicos in Imerovigli overlooks the caldera. To the south are the villages of Firostefani and Fira. From the hotel’s vantage point, Profitis Ilias Mountain (the island’s highest point) is visible.

The Vasilicos – Intimate, all-suite hotel with a heated pool, romantic wine and food pairings, and sweeping sunset views over the caldera.

Once the family villa of an art collector, this luxurious boutique hotel pays incredible attention to bespoke details. Each suite boasts its own custom library curated by Atlantis Books, one-of-a-kind ceramics from a local artist, and custom-made beach bags, towels, and soaps. Four of the seven suites here feature private heated plunge pools on their terraces, while the remaining three share a large heated pool. With an emphasis on privacy, the hotel does not offer a restaurant, though it does have a full kitchen. The Greek chefs here serve extravagant breakfasts to each suite daily, plus they offer cooking classes, candlelit private dining, wine pairings, and wine tastings coordinated with their sister winery, Vassaltis Vineyards. Located at the quiet south end of Imerovigli next to Agios Nikolaos Monastery, The Vasilicos’ neighborhood offers a serene atmosphere, while also being a short 10-minute walk to both central Imerovigli and central Firostefani villages.

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The Vasilicos – Location

Area: Beautifully located at the south end of Imerovigli, separated from the village by Agios Nikolaos Monastery, offering the stunning sunset caldera views the village is known for with more privacy than other nearby hotels. The Vasilicos is less than a 10-minute walk to shopping and dining in central Imerovigli (north, uphill, best views, more romantic) and Firostefani village (south, downhill, great views, more affordable).

How to Get There:
The hotel sits above the caldera at the southern end of Imerovigli, less than 100 meters off the main road connecting Fira and Oia, making it easy to reach by bus, taxi, or rental car. It is approximately 7 km from the Santorini Airport to The Vasilicos, and 10 km from the ferry port.

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 Imerovigli, however; buses from both locations go to Fira, where you must then board a different bus to Imerovigli – the entire trip from the port or airport to Imerovigli will take around an hour and cost about €5 in total. Tickets are purchased on the bus, in cash only. The bus stop in Imerovigli is 6 minutes from The Vasilicos on foot, and the walk from the bus stop to the hotel is mostly flat or downhill, and easy to navigate with light luggage.

Taxis are also available from the port or airport, though there are only about 25 taxis in total serving the whole island, so there can be a long wait; schedule ahead 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 The Vasilicos should be about €25 to €30, and a taxi from the ferry port to The Vasilicos around €30.

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. The hotel offers free, gated, private parking for guests (a huge perk as Imerovigli has the hardest-to-find parking).

Handy to: The Oia-Fira Hiking Trail, Anastasi Church (8-minute walk), central Firostefani (9-minute walk), Skaros Rock (19-minute walk).

Map of The Vasilicos

Map of The Vasilicos hotel in Imerovigli.

The Vasilicos – The Basics

  • Ages: All ages are allowed at the hotel, though it is not designed for little ones and there are no particular family amenities. Guests tend to be well-traveled, in their thirties and older, and are generally couples on a romantic getaway.
  • Beach: The nearest beach is Exo Gialos, a quiet, black sand beach with intriguing wind-sculpted cliffs at its southern end. The best beach bar and restaurant is East Breeze, just a few meters from the cliffs (13-minute drive). The north end has a small harbor, and another great beach bar and restaurant called Yalos (10-minute drive). From the hotel, it’s a short 4.5 km drive to the north end, or 6.6 km to the south end, where the cliffs are.
  • View: Direct sunset view over the caldera toward the volcanoes, Thirassia Island, and the top of Skaros Rock.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: 4 of the 7 suites at The Vasilicos have a private, heated, outdoor plunge pool with caldera views.
  • Parking: Free, gated, private parking.
  • Extras: Food and wine program with wine tastings, food pairings, Greek meze, private dining, and cooking classes. In-room spa services, 24-hour reception, 24-hour check-in. Daphne’s Details are the custom-designed accents of the hotel, including a ceramics collection inspired by the hotel and made by a local artist, a jewelry collection made from the family’s broken tableware, handmade beach bags inspired by Vlychada Beach at the south end of the island, a personal library in each suite curated by the owners of Atlantis Books, bespoke beach towels, Greek summer blankets, and hand-made olive oil soap.
  • When to Book: The hotel is open from April 1 to October 31. Reserve at least 4 months in advance (6 months is better) for stays during the high season from June through September, and about 3 months in advance for the low and shoulder seasons.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +30 22860 23143
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: thevasilicos.com

The Vasilicos – Amenities

  • Pool: Heated pool overlooking the caldera with spectacular sunset views.
  • Spa: No spa, but in-room spa treatments are available.
  • Fitness Center: No gym.
  • For Disabled Guests: This is a caldera hotel with lots of steps and no elevator. Those with mild walking impairments should book a room on a higher floor for easier access to the walking path and main road. Not wheelchair accessible.
  • For Families: Guests of all ages are allowed. However, it is not recommended for very young children due to its location on the cliff’s edge and the number of stairs to navigate for most rooms. There are no family amenities.
  • Activities: The Vasilicos offers a host of food and wine activities for guests led by their in house sommelier in partnership with their sister winery Vassaltis Vineyards, including wine tastings, food pairings, and vineyard tours, plus cooking classes with their house chef.

The Vasilicos – Food and Drink

  • Restaurant: The hotel does not have a restaurant, but they do have a gourmet kitchen preparing food all day served directly to each suite, poolside, or on the hotel’s terrace overlooking the caldera. The cuisine is Greek traditional featuring local, seasonal ingredients from the Cyclades and Crete. Special importance is placed on wine and food pairings with three programs to choose from: Tour de Force (5 courses of elevated Greek gastronomy and wines at sunset), The Hungry Traveler (5 Greek wines with 5 Greek mezes), and Basic Greeks (5 Greek wines and a local-style light bite). • $$$.
  • Lounge/Bar: No bar. Instead, there is a wonderful selection of Santorinian and Greek wines available throughout the day, delivered straight to your suite, poolside, or as part of a wine tasting or pairing program.
  • Breakfast: Complimentary “Fit for a King” breakfast is served directly to each suite daily at the time of your choosing. Local, Greek ingredients shine: yogurt, honey, local fruits, pastries, meats, cheeses, and more – all customized to the guests’ preference.
  • Room Service: Available from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The Vasilicos – Rooms

  • Room Types: Belvedere Grand Suite • Vasilicos Honeymoon Suite • Pergola Honeymoon Suite • Efta Honeymoon Suite • Daphne’s Senior Pool Suite • Vasaltis Senior Pool Suite • King Cat Junior Pool Suite
  • Smoking Rooms: The hotel does not allow smoking in any of its room categories. Smoking is allowed on the private outdoor terraces and in the outdoor common areas.
  • Best Room: Belvedere Grand Suite is the top suite here, offering 45 square meters of interior space (including a super king bed and a hammam/bathtub) plus a whopping 100 square meter terrace with a heated private plunge pool and breathtaking views. Efta Honeymoon Suite, though smaller, is also fantastic; this is the most secluded suite and boasts a private, heated plunge pool and caldera views from the bed. Be advised that the rooms labeled “pool suite” (Daphne’s, Vasaltis, and King Cat) are the suites that share the large, heated main pool – and do not have their own private pools.
  • For Families: Guests of all ages are allowed at The Vasilicos; however, there are no family amenities, and the largest suites (Belvedere Grand and Vasilicos Honeymoon) each host a maximum of 3 guests. Larger families should opt for interconnecting suites. Vasilicos and Pergola Honeymoon Suites have the option of connecting with each other to sleep up to 5 guests; this combination creates a 2-bedroom suite with 2 king beds and a single-sized sofa bed, plus 2 private, heated plunge pools, almost 80 sq meters of interior space, and 100 sq meters of outdoor space.

The Vasilicos – Local Transport

  • Walking: The hotel is located above the caldera at the south end of Imerovigli and on the Oia-Fira hiking trail, about equidistant from the restaurants, shops, and attractions in Imerovigli to the north and Firostefani to the south (5 to 10 minutes walk in either direction). The nightlife and shopping in Fira are also accessible on foot, with most bars, nightclubs, boutiques, and restaurants within a 15 to 20-minute walk south along the main footpath.
  • Bus: The nearest bus is in Imerovigli village, near Sunbird car rental and Posidonia Tavern, a 7-minute walk from the hotel. Buses that stop here go north to Oia and south to Fira. A transfer in Fira is required if heading to the airport, port, or beaches. 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 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.) 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, all the way down in Fira, so not very practical. Plus, there is often a wait as there are only 25 taxis serving the entire island. To avoid the wait, book taxis in advance. The average rate from Imerovigli to Fira is roughly €10, and from Imerovigli to the airport or port is around €25 to €35.
  • Scooters/Motorcycles: Not recommended. 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 at night 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.

The Vasilicos – What’s Nearby?

Best Nearby Restaurants

  • La Maison: Contemporary, Greek fine dining with sweeping caldera views. Food, wine, and service are all phenomenal. 4-minute walk.
  • Da Vinci Restaurant: Fantastic Italian restaurant with al fresco dining. 6-minute walk.
  • Aktaion: The oldest taverna on the island, Aktaion has been serving authentic Santorinian flavors since 1922. 7-minute walk.
  • Anogi: Al fresco dining with local specialties and classic Greek dishes. Rich flavors and large portions, so come hungry. 8-minute walk.
  • Athenian House: Elegant fine dining with spectacular sunset views. Contemporary and imaginative Greek dishes incorporate modern gastronomic techniques and locally-sourced ingredients. Most of all, they’re delicious. 11-minute walk.
  • Avocado: Traditional Greek menu, charming space, super friendly staff. Cycladic recipes and a fantastic selection of Santorinian wines. 11-minute walk.
  • Le Moustache: Elevated Greek and Mediterranean dining and excellent cocktails with panoramic sunset views over the caldera. 12-minute walk.

Best Nearby Bars and Breweries

  • Buddha Bar Beach: Upscale cocktail bar, restaurant, and shisha lounge with views over Skaros Rock to the caldera. Pricey but on point. 10-minute walk.
  • Volkan on the Rocks: Fantastic brewpub in Firostefani with amazing views and an outdoor cinema. 12-minute walk.
  • Kira Thira Jazz Bar: Tried and true since 1976, Kira Thira is a cozy, casual bar with fantastic sangria, strong drinks, and an eclectic selection of music. 16-minute walk.
  • Tango Champagne and Cocktail Bar: Refined lounge with a romantic vibe and picture-perfect sunset views. 18-minute walk.
  • Tropical Bar: Great cocktails and a magnificent view make this a popular spot for catching the sunset. The drinks menu strips down to basic offerings after sundown, but at happy hours (9:00 to 11:00p.m.), all cocktails are half price. Aussies take note: they sell VB here. 18-minute walk.
  • MoMix: Half bar, half mad scientist’s lab, MoMix (short for Molecular Mixology) creates wild cocktails served in test tubes, as edible bites, or in bubble form. 18-minute walk.
  • PK Cocktail Bar: The best cocktail bar in Santorini, PK Cocktail Bar offers superb sunset views, creative cocktails, and 3 levels of seating in the caldera. 19-minute walk.

Best Nearby Cafes

  • Hlios Bakery: Good coffee, basic pastries, and deli sandwiches. Not exceptional, but they’re cheap and they deliver (cash only for deliveries). 6-minute walk.
  • To Briki: Fantastic café, the best place to try traditional Greek coffee. Breakfasts are superb and the sunset views are gorgeous. 6-minute walk.
  • Galini Café: Super friendly, all-day café with superb coffee and amazing views. Best loved for their breakfasts and brunch, especially the crepes, bennies, and French toast. 8-minute walk.

Nearby Shopping & Cool Shops

  • Pegasus Boutique: Cute boutique with clothing, shoes, swimwear, and accessories by Greek designers. 2-minute walk.
  • Under a Fig Tree: Upscale boutique featuring Greek-designed fashion, accessories, and swimwear right on the Oia-Fira trail. 1-minute walk.
  • Little Dot: Trendy boutique offering men’s and women’s street, surf, and swim wear. 13-minute walk.
  • White House Santorini: Specialty shop for all-white summer garb for men, women, and children. Located across the walking path from Idol Restaurant in Fira. 16-minute walk.
  • Ammos: This shop has 2 locations in Fira, 1 in Kamari, and 1 in Oia. All offer a wide selection of international and Greek brands. 17-minute walk to either of the Fira locations.

Nearby Attractions

  • 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 northwest, the full length of the path from the hotel to Oia Castle takes from 2 to 4 hours; add about an hour for a detour at Skaros Rock. Heading south to the trail’s end in Fira, near Keti Hotel, takes about 30-40 minutes. 1-minute walk from the hotel.
  • Anastasi Church: The most picturesque, blue-domed church in Imerovigli offers gorgeous caldera views overlooking Skaros Rock. Popular for weddings and photo shoots. 8-minute walk.
  • Agios Georgios Church: Small white church on a platform over the caldera, marking the start of the trail to Skaros Rock. Gorgeous, panoramic views from here. 9-minute walk.
  • Skaros Rock: Impressive volcanic rock formation housing the ruins of a medieval castle and town, dating to 1207. The monastery at its base, Panagia Theoskepasti, is the only part of Skaros that is still active. 19-minute walk.

Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores

  • Supermarket Nissi: The friendliest market in the area, and usually the best prices in Imerovigli. 5-minute walk.
  • Jimmy’s Market Cava: Market and deli with a great selection (especially the wines) plus great coffee and breakfast sandwiches (more consistent and better quality breakfasts than Hlios, but they don’t deliver). 6-minute walk.
  • Mini Market Sigalas: Small market with a good selection of staples, snacks, and wine near St. Gerasimos Church in Firostefani. 6-minute walk.

The Vasilicos – The Hotel

The Vasilicos' gated entrance

At the entrance of The Vasilicos, one of Imerovigli’s most private hotels.

View of Skaros Rock from inside The Vasilicos

Just inside the gate. In the center is the hotel’s terrace, used for dining and wine tastings. Down to the left is a suite’s terrace. The village in white is Imerovigli; to its left is the landmark Skaros Rock. The island in the background is Thirassia.

The dining terrace at The Vasilicos

A closer look at the dining terrace with its marble table tops. The walls are made of local lava rock. The hotel lobby is in the white, half-domed building.

Caldera view from the dining terrace of The Vasilicos

Caldera view from the dining terrace of The Vasilicos. On the left are the new volcano (Nea Kameni), tiny Aspronisi Island, and Thirassia Island on the right.

Tour de Force menu at The Vasilicos

The Tour de Force is the top gastronomic experience of The Vasilicos, featuring 5 courses of elevated Greek fare with seasonal ingredients and 5 Greek wines. This is only one example of a seafood-based menu. There are also meat and vegetarian menus, while all menu offerings change with the seasons.

The wine tasting room at The Vasilicos

In addition to the dining terrace, there is also a cave-style wine tasting room inside.

The lobby of The Vasilicos

The lobby is adjacent to the wine tasting room and is filled with books and local antiques, part of the owner’s collection.

Hand-made jewelry from broken plates in The Vasilicos

In the lobby, you’ll find handmade jewelry made from the family’s broken tableware. Custom jewelry, ceramics, textiles, and more are part of the hotel’s signature “Daphne’s Details.”

The main pool and caldera view at the Vasilicos

Downstairs from the lobby and terrace is the hotel’s heated main pool. As most of the suites have private plunge pools, the main pool is usually quiet. The pool overlooks the caldera with views of the Akrotiri Peninsula (background), the new volcano (on the right), Thirassia, and Skaros Rock. Sunsets from the pool are spectacular.

View from above the pool at The Vasilicos

Straight view from the pool over the caldera. From here, guests can see the end of Akrotiri (background left), the new volcano (center), old volcano (behind the new volcano), Aspronisi (the tiny island), and Thirassia (background right). Sailboats and cruise ships are always passing by.

Caldera and volcano view from The Vasilicos

A closer look at the volcanoes and boats in the caldera.

View of Skaros and Imerovigli from The Vasilicos

Turning north, the other end of Thirassia extends out (background). There’s a better view of Skaros Rock, a wonderful 20-minute hike from The Vasilicos. The village on the right is Imerovigli, the highest village on the caldera.

Belvedere Grand Suite terrace.

One floor down from the dining terrace is the Belvedere Grand Suite, the top suite at The Vasilicos with 100 sq meters of outdoor space.

Dining table of the Belvedere Grand Suite at the Vasilicos

Breakfast is served daily to each suite’s private terrace overlooking the caldera. Romantic private dinner under the stars can also be arranged.

View from the Belvedere's private plunge pool at The Vasilicos

The terrace features a private, heated, plunge pool with caldera views.

Private plunge pool at the Belvedere in The Vasilicos

The private plunge pool (it’s bigger than it looks; this is a weird perspective shot).

King bed and sofa of the Belvedere Grand Suite

The Belvedere Grand Suite features a super king bed with Cocomat bedding, tailor-made summer blankets, and a pillow menu. A single-sized sofa bed can accommodate an additional guest.

Bed and bathroom of the Belvedere Grand Suite at The Vasilicos

View from the sofa toward the bed with the bathroom in the background. The Belvedere Grand Suite features 45 sq meters of interior living space.

The bathroom of the Belvedere Grand Suite in the Vasilicos

The bathroom features a Santorinian cave-style shower, handmade olive oil soaps, and Apivita toiletries.

Inside the cave shower of the Belvedere at The Vasilicos

A closer look inside the cave shower, hand carved from the side of the caldera in traditional Santorinian style.

The Vasilicos Honeymoon Suite at The Vasilicos Hotel in Santorini

The Vasilicos Honeymoon Suite is the second-largest suite at the hotel, also with 100 square meters of outdoor space.

Sun loungers and table on the Vasilico Suite's terrace

The Vasilicos Honeymoon Suite offers stunning caldera views over the volcano toward Thirassia. Two wide sun lounger sit side by side with the dining table in front.

Heated plunge pool at the Vasilicos Suite

The heated, private, plunge pool of the Vasilicos Honeymoon Suite offers stunning volcano views toward Akrotiri. Sunsets are sensational here, too.

Inside the Vasilicos Honeymoon Suite

This suite is almost as large as the Belvedere, offering 43 square meters of living space. The whole suite is in the traditional cave-style. The bathroom is through the left arch behind the king-sized bed.

The sitting area of the Vasilicos Suite

Alternate angle on the sitting area inside the suite with the customized library put together by Atlantis Books in Oia village.

View from behind the bed of The Vasilicos Suite

View from the head of the bed facing the living area of the Vasilicos Honeymoon Suite.

Spacious bathroom of the Vasilicos Suite

The open-plan bathroom features cave-style design, traditional pressed concrete built ins, and contemporary design elements.

Bathroom of the Vasilicos Suite facing the sink

A view of the bathroom sink and sleek, geometric mirror. Check rates and availability: The Vasilicos

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