I found Aris Caves via Trip Advisor, where it is ranked “#1 of 42 hotels in Oia”. I briefly eye-scanned some of the photos and instantly found myself charmed by the genuine feel this hotel seemed to exude. Fast forward two months later and here I am, writing this from the comfort of my hotel bed, just steps away from a view I will likely never forget.
Aris Caves is the result of converting ancient housings and lodgings into six independent traditional cave-like studios. These are scenically spread over four levels. Going up and down the 100+ stairs takes a bit of effort, but to me, they were bliss: the ascend/descend offers a wonderful perspective of the “eagle-nests” which make up the hotel and each step comes with its surprises: a cat here, another there, scores of colorful flowers and extensive Aegean views. Naturally, a porter will carry your bags down and up the stairs.
For me, the memory of the place is strongly linked to hosts Christa and Aris, lady-dog Aspa and the three cats which accompanied our every meal. Christa is very energetic, has an encyclopedic knowledge of the island and will make the best recommendations when it comes to exploring Oia, as well as the nearby locations. So the personal touch is definitely what makes Aris Caves stand out.
Aris Caves has a privileged location in the heart of Oia, close to the scenic pedestrian streets and to all major tourist attraction spots. Yet one special aspect makes it stand out: there is no noise. This comes with having to descend all those stairs, but the reward is fantastic. You can relax here in any time of the day, enjoy a coffee in peace while surrounded by a 280 degree water view and read a good book brought from home, borrowed from Christa or purchased from the nearby Atlantis bookshop. As the name of the hotel suggests, the rooms have a traditional cave-like architecture, typical for the island of Santorini. I personally fell in love with the blue domes and white walls you can enjoy all around the island and was more than happy to find some of the personality of Santorini in the comfort of our own crib.
We stood in the Gonia Studio (first two photos below) for three days and felt very comfortable. I am personally very fond of the rustic design style and some of the details here (hand-sawn patterns on the lamps and pillows, original wooden furniture pieces, colorful small rugs, traditional entrance door) made a strong impression. There is no breakfast included in the stay, BUT Christa welcomed us with a bottle of wine, milk, water and cookies. Moreover, a kitchenette is included in the layout of the room, equipped with everything (and I mean everything- from bottle openers to a variety of plates, frying pan, toaster, coffee machine and water boiler) you need in order to make your own food. We made some shopping from the nearby supermarkets located minutes away and were more than happy to cook and eat on our very romantic terrace. Even though the room structure (kitchen and bedroom combined) is not a typical one, this does not impose in any way. The room is fairly large, strikingly clean, and the overall experience is so genuine that with each passing day the layout grows on you.
The next photos were taken in various rooms of the hotel. Each has its own well defined personality and as I read from many travelers’ reviews, each experience is different.
I would definitely recommend booking into Aris Caves, not to lovers of luxury, but to those who enjoy raw beauty and authenticity. For any further details about the hotel, feel free to contact Christa by using the e-mail address provided here. And enjoy Oia, one of the most lovely places you will ever come across!