And so the morning came, with the sun rising about 7.30 a.m. on Santorini. But by that time the gal had already been hiking for half an hour. The South African personal trainer at Grace Santorini was, as planned, waiting outside room 35 at seven sharp, and off the expedition of two keen young ladies set. Down well over 300 steps to sea level and then up Skaros natural sculpture, and round it to a dear little old church, Theoskepasti,behind – see a video below. The programme was 20 minutes getting there, 20 minutes’ quiet meditation while there and 20 minutes back again, ready for chef Spyros Agios’ superb breakfast.
As elsewhere here, it seems, breakfast is a composed meal (the printed menu for the day announces ‘it’s all Greek to me’) but the servers did not mind if you wanted something else. For me, they swapped the melon smoothie of the day for a berry mix, they let me have plain yoghurt rather than a dish smothered with honey and nuts, they did not mind me skipping both a blatsaria cornflour pie filled with vegetables and a pancake filled with xinomizithra (goat or sheep) cheese and thyme honey. Instead of strapatsada, local scrambled eggs with feta, smoked mackerel and tomato, they smiled when I asked simply for fried eggs. The breads, which came in a box with jars of apple sauce, butter, honey and syrup, were so good they could have made a meal all by themselves
Nothing is a problem. Spyros Agios has been here nine years and he knows many idiosyncracies (food is a big draw on any vacation, especially when average stay is 4.5 nights). 35% of people staying here are from the USA and 23% from UK: across the board, 17% of guests are repeats but when it comes to the Villa it is way over 20%. Oh the Villa, this is privacy personified, separated from the rest of the 21-room resort by a seven foot-high wall, but I know that the other side were two bedrooms with plunge pools, and a sizeable private infinity swimming pool.
Personally I was so happy with room 35 I thought it was just perfect – loved the seven-choice pillow menu, and the Apvitos toiletries, and having my own espresso machine, and a selection of grape dishes to nibble (‘makea wish to always harvest life’s beautiful moments!’). As I quickly found out, George Vlachopoulos is a really creative GM. Earlier, when running a hotel on Kos, he needed more guests and turned a container in the centre of Bodrum, then heavy with Russian guests, into a copy of his Kos hotel’s top suite. What happened? Within a short time his Russian business on Kos increased enormously – here he has no need for such extreme creativity as Grace Santorini is busy-busy. He therefore thinks of such smaller happenings as having polaroids taken on arrival, to be presented to later with a note thanking you for coming. Thanks, Georges (both George I and George II), and all your colleagues, for making this such an unforgettable hotel. AND NOW LOOK AROUND THE THEOSKEPASTI CHURCH AREA