• Location: Near the main square in the traditional village of Megalochori
• Map • Video review
• Hotel website: marriott.com/vedema
• Hotel phone: +30 22860 81796
• Check prices on Booking.com
Vedema Resort – Family friendly, five-star resort with spacious suites, a luxurious spa, and a pool in a medieval village in the heart of Santorini’s wine country.
Designed as a village within a village, Vedema Resort offers one and two-bedroom suites and three-bedroom villas interspersed with gardens, restaurants, a pool, a jacuzzi, and a spa. Located within the traditional village of Megalochori, the resort is built around a 400-year old winery and a 100-year old mansion, all restored and expanded in classic Cycladic style. Its fine dining restaurant Alati is one of the best on the island, and its spa offers fantastic Greek and Asian-inspired treatments. Just meters from the main square, the resort is near a gorgeous church and bell tower, and plenty of local-style dining. Perks include free transportation to Fira and Perivolos Beach.
Vedema Resort – Location
• Area: Vedema Resort is located near the main square in traditional Megalochori, less than 5 minutes on foot to several restaurants, the church, and bell tower, about 6 minutes to the nearest bus stop, and about 8 minutes to the caldera’s edge. Megalochori is a quiet, medieval village off the tourist track, surrounded by award-winning vineyards, between the caldera’s edge and the inland mountains. This is the best village for living like a local.
• How to Get There: The hotel is located near the main road leading south from the port, making it easy to travel to and from, whether by taxi, driving yourself, or riding the bus. It is approximately 4km from the Athinios ferry port and 6km from 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 Megalochori, however; buses from both locations go to Fira, where passengers must transfer to another southbound bus to get to Megalochori village; the total trip will likely take an hour or more and cost about €5 in total. Tickets are purchased on the bus, in cash only. The bus stop for Megalochori village is an easy 6-minute walk to the hotel with a mostly flat route.
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 or ferry port to Vedema Resort will cost around €20. Booking through a private car service will cost only a bit more – about $45 (or €37), 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 arriving at Vedema, the resort offers free valet parking in their lot nearby (a major perk).
• Handy to: Megalochori church (1-minute walk), dining (several restaurant within a 1-minute walk), Hatzidakis Winery (the vineyard is immediately next to the hotel, though it’s a 38-minute walk or 10-minute drive to get to their tasting room).
Vedema Resort – The Basics
- Ages: The hotel is open to guests of all ages as well as pets (1 pet per room, up to 5 kg, €50 per night). Guests tend to be a good mix of couples and families.
- Beaches: The hotel is located within a short drive of all of Santorini’s best beaches. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to Perivolos Beach, where their sister property Istoria Hotel is located. Vedema’s guests have access to Istoria’s full-service beach area with sun loungers and umbrellas. This gorgeous black sand beach is among the best on the island, with the softest sand in the area, and top-notch beach clubs and restaurants. Perivolos Beach is an 12-minute drive from the hotel. Also nearby is Caldera Beach, the only beach in the Santorini Caldera; this is just a 9-minute drive away. For a more secluded beach than Perivolos, and with more sand than the Caldera Beach, Vlichada Beach is another fantastic spot, about 11 minutes due south of Vedema.
- View: Most rooms face toward the resort’s inner courtyard and the village. Some rooms face toward the sea and beaches in the southeast, though the sea is in the distance.
- Kitchen: The Presidential Villa includes a full kitchen.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: The Aegean Suites include outdoor, private jacuzzis. The Olympian Villas and Presidential Villa include private outdoor jacuzzis and private pools.
- Parking: Complimentary valet parking.
- Extras: Complimentary shuttles to Fira and Perivolos Beach, boutique, helipad, turndown service, more private, and fewer stairs than hotels in the caldera.
- When to Book: The hotel operates from early May to late October. Reserve at least 3 months in advance (4 months is better) for travel during the high season from June through September. Reserve at least 2 months in advance for stays during low or shoulder season.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +30 22860 81796
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: www.marriott.com/vedema
Vedema Resort – Amenities
- Pool: Vedema offers 1 unheated pool served by the Pergola Restaurant and Bar, and a large heated jacuzzi served by the Jacuzzi Bar.
- Spa: The full-service Asian Spa is built into a converted wine cellar and offers a range of Thai, Ayurvedic, and Shiatsu massages, plus skin, nail, and body treatments, couples massages, and a steam room. In-room treatments are also available.
- Fitness Center: The small gym is built into a converted wine cellar, and includes cardio machines, free weights, a sauna, and a steam room. The gym is set to be renovated and updated in winter 2019.
- For Disabled Guests: Vedema offers a few accessible rooms on the ground floor with wide, 0.8 meter entrances; the pools, fitness center, business center, and restaurants all have accessible entrances. Though there are fewer stairs here than at most hotels in Santorini, there are no elevators.
- For Families: This is an all-ages property, with most rooms accommodating up to 3 guests. Athenian Suites can sleep up to 5, and the Presidential Villa can fit up to 6. Olympian Villas sleep up to 3, but have the option to connect for larger families. Vedema is also pet-friendly for animals up to 5 kg. Family amenities and services include babysitting, kids’ menus at the restaurants, cribs, and rollaway beds.
- Activities: Wine tasting is available onsite at the Canava Wine Bar, and private dining can be arranged onsite at Privé. The concierge team can also organize activities, including wine country tours, sailing the caldera, horseback riding, diving, and visits to the archaeological site at Akrotiri.
Vedema Resort – Food and Drink
- Restaurants: Alati is Vedema’s signature, fine dining restaurant, specializing in Mediterranean seafood. The main restaurant is located inside a 400-year-old wine canava with a posh, Game of Thrones vibe. There is also a rooftop dining terrace with views over the village and vineyards, perfect for sunsets and stargazing. Excellent wine menu, as well. Open for dinner from 7:00 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. ($$$$) • Pergola Pool Restaurant is available for breakfast from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., and for lunch from 12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Its bar is open until midnight. Food here is casual Mediterranean fare with some international options. • Privé is Vedema’s private dining room for couples or small groups, available by request only. For couples, the chef typically prepares a 5 or 7-course degustation menu with wine pairings. For small groups, a 9-course customizable menu is standard. The romantic setting is inside another portion of the same 400-year-old wine cellar as Alati and Canava Wine Bar. Available for dinner from 7:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
- Lounges/Bars: Canava Wine Bar (in the converted wine cave) is available for wine tastings daily from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. for groups of up to 8 guests. • The Jacuzzi Bar is a small bar serving the jacuzzi area. Its operating hours are based on the season and hotel occupancy.
- Breakfast: Breakfast is available for an additional cost, and is served at Pergola. Guests can choose between an American and Greek Champagne buffet for €38, or a continental breakfast for €18.
- Room Service: Available 24 hours.
Vedema Resort – Rooms
- Room Types: Dorian Suite • Aegean Suite • Athenian Suite • Olympian Villa • Presidential Villa
- Smoking Rooms: The hotel does not allow smoking in any of their rooms. Smoking is allowed on the private terraces and in the outdoor common areas.
- Best Room: The best room for couples is the Olympian Villa. This 1-bedroom villa offers a private, outdoor jacuzzi and a private plunge pool. Inside, guests will find a hydromassage bath and separate shower, a spacious walk-in closet, and complimentary Santorinian white wine.
- For Families: The best option for families is the Presidential Villa. The Presidential Villa is the most private unit onsite, and boasts a full kitchen, 3 bedrooms (each with a king-sized, adjustable bed), and 3 bathrooms (each with rainfall shower heads and separate hydromassage tubs). In addition, the villa features more than 200 sqm of outdoor space with a jacuzzi and heated pool.
Vedema Resort – Local Transport
- Walking: The hotel is located in the heart of Santorini’s wine country, near the center of Megalochori village. This hotel is off the beaten tourist track, with several local-style restaurants within a 5-minute walk of the hotel, as well as a picturesque church and bell tower. Hatzidakis Winery’s vineyards run right up to the edge of Vedema’s property line, though their tasting room takes a good 38 minutes to reach on foot. Gavalas Winery has a closer tasting room just a 3-minute walk away, though Gavalas’ vineyard is located elsewhere. The best sunset viewpoint over the caldera is located at the Heart of Santorini, just 12 minutes away; there you can admire the sunset from the top of the caldera, or hike down the gravel trail to the sea for a wide, unobstructed view.
- Bus: The bus stop for Megalochori village is on the main road outside of the village, catty-corner from Villa Aegeon. It is an easy 6-minute walk from Vedema to the bus stop along a mostly flat route. Buses here serve all of the major villages and beaches on the island, though you will need to change buses in Fira if heading toward Oia, Imerovigli, or the airport; the entire trip to Oia or the airport can take an hour or more by bus. 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. There are only 23 buses serving the island, so they can get crowded, especially during the high season, so much so that they often fill to capacity and are unable to take on more passengers. If your time is limited, it may be better to catch a taxi or rent a car.
- Taxis: There is no official taxi stand in Megalochori, so it’s best to have the hotel call a taxi for you as needed. There are only 25 taxis serving the island, so book ahead when possible to avoid a wait, and have them meet you directly at the hotel. There will be a small surcharge for advanced reservations and for carrying luggage, usually just a couple of Euros. The average rate from Vedema Resort to Fira or the ferry port and airport is around €20.
- 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.
Vedema Resort – What’s Nearby?
Best Nearby Restaurants
- Feggera: Aegean restaurant specializing in traditional recipes using organic produce from Crete and Santorini. 1-minute walk.
- Mousiko Kouti: Charming spot for Greek comfort food, meze (tapas), and raki. Best loved for their moussaka and lamb kebabs; gluten-free options, too. 1-minute walk.
- Avlogyros: Family-run taverna serving classic Greek flavors and tender meats in large portions. 1-minute walk.
- Raki: Casual taverna serving Greek recipes from every region, using seasonal ingredients. 1-minute walk.
- Petrino: Flavorful and filling local dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus a small bar. Do not miss the loukoumades (Greek-style honey donuts); they are heaven-sent. 1-minute walk.
Best Nearby Bars and Breweries
- Gavalas Winery: Family-run winery with fantastic varieties at affordable prices. Try a 3-wine flight for €7.50 or 5 for €12; tastings include a quick tour of the winery, though the vineyard is in a different location. 3-minute walk.
- Franco’s Pyrgos: In nearby Pyrgos village, Franco’s is an absolute must for champagne cocktails and panoramic sunset views over the caldera and villages, from the highest point on the island. 36-minute walk or 7-minute drive.
Best Nearby Cafes
- Panagia Ton Eisodion: AKA Megalochori Cathedral, this church is the most recognizable landmark in the village, with its intricate, wood-carved steeple with a little tunnel to walk through. 1-minute walk.
- Bell Tower: There are a few small bell towers in Megalochori, but the largest features 6 bells and a tunnel. Due north of Vedema Resort and Panagia Ton Eisodion, about a 4-minute walk.
- The Heart of Santorini: Sunset viewpoint on the caldera with a hiking trail that leads down the side of the caldera to natural thermal pools and almost to the sea. 12-minute walk.
- Hatzidakis Winery: Hatzidakis Winery: Huge vineyard with amazing wines and traditional wine canavas (caves). The vineyard begins right next to Vedema, while their tasting room is at the other end, near Pyrgos village. 38-minute walk (uphill) or 10-minute drive.
- Pyrgos Village: Traditional village at the highest point on the island, known for its spectacular sunsets, well-preserved traditions, and steep, narrow walking streets. 35-minute walk (uphill) or 6-minute drive.
- Beaches: Caldera Beach (the only beach in the famous caldera, 9-minute drive), Vlichada (tranquil beach with wind-sculpted cliffs, 11-minute drive), Perivolos Beach (popular beach with several restaurants and bars, 12-minute drive).
Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores
- Mini Market: Small market with grocery staples, souvenirs, and a decent selection of wine and drinks. Across from Aulogyros Restaurant. 1-minute walk.
- The Family Bakery Megalochori: Amazing bakery with a good selection of essentials, drinks, and cigarettes, along with sandwiches, prepared foods, and fresh baked breads. 7-minute walk.
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