The idea of putting together a Freshome hotel review category hit Michael a while back, but until now we did not really find the time to convert it into reality. The opportunity struck along with my Santorini trip, an escape I have been meaning to undertake for years.

Booking into Aqua Vista Hotels was an experience in itself, comparable in experience-gain with other island highlights. Aqua Vista is a collection of exceptional boutique hotels catering for every type of traveler, tailoring each experience to special needs and desires.

In order to fully appreciate the hosting experience, I was provided the opportunity of spending one night in Adamant Suites and another in Above Blue.

A special feature of Adamant Suites is the hotel concept itself:“six amazing, individually designed suites, each drawing inspiration from a different precious stone and paying tribute to the island’s signature views of the volcano“. The unit is located on a rocky hillside, partially secluded from the vibrant summer night life of Fira, the capital of Santorini, yet close enough (10-15 minute walking distance) from all the major tourist attractions of the city. I have to admit the location of the hotel appealed to me and so did the intimacy that came with having a romantic breakfast on the hotel terrace, with beautiful Caldera views.

We were accommodated in the Opal Suite, a generously-sized apartment with private balcony and jacuzzi on the terrace. Its interior design reflects good taste and manages to emphasize on the raw beauty of the surrounding landscapes, which you can enjoy from every part of the suite. I was particularly infatuated by the Gustav Klimt painting replicas on the wall, perfectly in tune with the overall color palette. The service was impeccable from check-in to check-out and even though my short stay did not allow me to try out more of the hotel benefits, I did notice the large array of services offered, which was impressive.

A scenic 30 minute walk (or a 10 minute drive) from Fira takes you to the beautiful village of Imerovigli, where Above Blue Suites (photos below) is located. Envisioned as a cluster of ten individually designed apartments, each with its own color theme and complemented by a secluded exclusive villa, the accommodation unit is spectacular to say the least.

The position of the hotel offers a high level of privacy and peacefulness (even in high season, we were told), making it a good choice if you are on the lookout for refined luxury, combined with the feeling of intimacy and relaxation. Staying in Imerovigli allowed us to hike to Oia, enjoy a sunset stroll to the city of Fira and climb the Skaros cliff, so I would also recommend Above Blue to those who enjoy active holidays.

Compared to the large and highly elegant apartment we stayed in at Adamant, the Lagoon suite in Above Blue appeared more cozy and intimate to me, which is probably why I enjoyed staying here a bit more. Naturally, this is a subjective opinion and it is likely that other guests will prioritize differently. The cave-like bathroom with jacuzzi on one side and large shower tub on the other makes for a very pampering stay. The terrace is impressive in size and offers visitors the chance to enjoy breakfasts and candle light dinners while surrounding by mesmerizing sea views.

The staff was (as expected after the previous experience) very warm and welcoming and I was pleasantly surprised by the knowledge they had of the island and by how well they were able to subtly promote the “strengths” of the hotel.

Even though I usually have a tendency to notice imperfection in the strangest details, my short experience with Aqua Vista was sophisticatedly memorable. I deeply appreciated the uniqueness of each room design, the overall feeling of complete privacy (probably what makes it a honeymooners’ haven), the terraces and the views. Bottom line, I would definitely recommend booking in one of these two hotels (or in both, if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity) to those of you who enjoy refined luxury, exquisite landscapes and genuine design and architecture.