Katikies Hotel Greece
Things happen to you when you stay at Katikies. For one, your vocabulary goes to pieces. “Wow”, you think, as you step through the nondescript gateway on Oia's cliff-top street and see the hotel beneath you, handfuls of white cave houses trickling down the cliff side, looking like the rock has been dipped in icing sugar.
“Amazing”, you say as, from the pool, you look out at Santorini’s caldera from perhaps its most famous viewpoint, at the northern tip of the island. “This is the life”, you tell the waiter, as he lays out your free breakfast spread on your private terrace in the sun.
Katikies overlooks the caldera from perhaps its most popular viewpoint, Oia. Luckily, what’s bad for the intellect is good for the soul. Maybe it’s the soft white coloring of the resort against the millpond-still blue Aegean sea, or perhaps it’s the cocoon effect of the guestrooms, which are sculpted from the rock face, but once you’re through the door at Katikies, life really does seem to slow to the pace of the toy-sized sail boats inching across the caldera 300m below.
This isn’t the kind of place that encourages physical activity. There’s no gym – unless you count the 50-plus steps you seem to navigate each time you leave your room for the pool, the daybeds or the outside world. There are three pools – each on a different level of the property – but all are sized for lounging over swimming. At a loose end? Grab a book from the “library” shelves behind the check-in desk, and scuttle back to the pool. Or the sun deck. Or your terrace. A valet will even unpack your luggage, if folding your undies feels like too much effort.
There are only 27 rooms here, but thanks to the layout – spread across the cliff face, on multiple levels, each with its own terrace – you’ll rarely notice the other guests. Fully refurbished in 2010, each room is hewn from the rock. Some are genuine 18th-century cave houses, others modern facsimiles, but all have high arched ceilings and plant comfy beds on parquet floors. Other than the floor and the wooden clothes hangers in the walk-in dressing rooms, white is the reigning color; sparkling marble bathrooms, meanwhile, come stocked with Bulgari toiletries.
There are just four tables at outdoor gourmet restaurant The Katikies Dinner Experience, so book ahead (or order room service) if you want to try the tasting menu of local dishes. Down by the main pool, Kirini is a more laidback restaurant, and there are plans to introduce a third for 2012, up by the small grotto-style pool. If liquid meals are more your style, the hotel runs nightly hour-long outdoor wine tastings (for a fee) as the sun sets. If that doesn’t finish off your vocabulary, nothing will.
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