Review: A Splurge Stay At Art Maisons Aspaki Santorini (Oia)
There are certain times during travel when you pinch yourself in a “is this real life??” way. My stay at two different Oia hotels definitely qualified, and as you can see from the pics below, did not disappoint! So I wanted to share a detailed review of Aspaki Exclusive (an Art Maisons Santorini hotel) to help you determine if it’s right for you.
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Why did I choose Aspaki as one of my Oia hotels?
Guys, I did SO much research on the best Oia hotels for this trip. So, so very much. Because if I’m going to be spending that much money, I want to make sure it’s amazing. Plus there are so many options in Santorini that it gets hard to tell the differences.
In my research, a handful of hotels started to rise to the top, including both Art Maisons Santorini locations (Aspaki Exclusive and Oia Castle). What really drew me to Aspaki was the view of the famous blue domes…this felt fairly unique, not something most other hotels could boast.
And that specifically led me to booking the “Honeymoon Suites with Outdoor Jacuzzi | Blue Domes & Caldera and sea View” room. Man, it was hard to tell the difference between different rooms.
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Before we dive into all the details of my experience at Aspaki Exclusive, let’s talk about Oia a bit. Because Oia is not necessarily the best place to base yourself in Santorini. No question it’s beautiful and the iconic idea of Santorini. But it’s also super crowded, expensive, and can be a bit cliché feeling.
I debated whether Oia was right for me as a first-time visitor (here’s a post that shares some pros & cons), and ultimately decided to go “all-in”…to get the stereotypical experience, but to do it with splurge hotels so I didn’t have to battle the crowds as often.
If I go back to Santorini in the future, however, I may try staying in different areas (like the amazing cliff views of Imerovigli) and just rent a car or book drivers everywhere (note, taxis and drivers in Santorini are EXPENSIVE). But I’m really happy I did Oia for my first visit, and I loved both my Oia hotels (though of the two, Charisma was my fave).
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My TL;dr review of Art Maisons Aspaki Santorini
I’ve got a much more detailed review of the hotel below, including LOTS of photos, but if you’re in a hurry here’s my “short and sweet” version.
I also always recommend you check out the detailed reviews on both Booking.com and TripAdvisor, they’re super helpful! I booked through Booking for easy management, cancellation, etc. plus I get loyalty points and discounts.
- I stayed in the “Honeymoon Suites with Outdoor Jacuzzi | Blue Domes & Caldera and sea View”, which I believe is a one-of-one type of room and view. The blue domes view was the draw, and it definitely delivered!
- The hotel is located on the south side of the Oia peninsula, in a very central location. The views from the balcony are awesome (including a pretty sunrise view). Sunset was beautiful, but be aware that you don’t see the final ACTUAL sunset due to the direction the hotel faces (read more on that below).
- The hotel is beautiful all over, and the staff were extremely welcoming and helpful, service was great, and the cocktails delish. My room was spacious, lovely, and clean, with a few thoughtful little touches. There is a spa but I didn’t try it out.
- The balcony was really what I was there for, and while the views were lovely, the balcony itself was more of a let down—very small, no comfortable place to lay out in the sun, and the “plunge pool” was warm (more like a hot tub vs. refreshing).
- Breakfast wasn’t great, though the food in Greece didn’t blow me away overall (which is a bummer, I was super excited about all the food). Maybe I ordered wrong.
- It was expensive, but very much in line with similar Oia hotels. The price was the same as my Charisma room, and for my personal preferences I thought Charisma was a little bit better value for the money.
Basically, if you’re looking for an great splurge stay with some of the best blue dome views, lovely rooms, and great service, then Aspaki Santorini is a wonderful option. I also stayed one night at Charisma Suites (links to my detailed review) as well, and I’d highly recommend it…an amazing Oia hotel.
If you’re trying to stay on a budget, want to avoid the crowds of Oia (I get it), or are going to spend all your time exploring and not in your room, then staying in Imerovigli or Fira, or one of the smaller traditional villages may be a better fit.
But, let’s get to all the nitty-gritty details and—most importantly—more pics!!
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The welcome & service
I arranged my transfer from the airport through the hotel (prices were pretty much the same regardless…and quite expensive). Thankfully the hotel sent a staff member to meet my driver, and he carried and drug my luggage quite a ways to Aspaki.
He was very thankful I only had a carry-on suitcase, as dragging luggage through the steps, hills, and cobblestones of Oia (dodging crowds) is not for the fainthearted. My advice: PACK LIGHT.
You can see the beautiful entrance to Aspaki Santorini below…absolutely gorgeous! In fact, there’s almost always a crowd right outside the hotel entrance taking pictures.
And once you go inside, it is a lot of steep steps straight down. That’s one thing you need to consider in Santorini overall, and especially Oia. There are so many stairs. If you have mobility issues, it might not be the place for you.
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I arrived early afternoon and was warmly welcomed by the staff. They were able to check me in early, which I was thankful for (after 24 hours of travel).
While they got me checked in, they brought me a welcome cocktail and asked me to choose my breakfast for the next morning. The views from the hotel’s outdoor “lobby” (also bar/restaurant area) are lovely.
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My suite at Aspaki Exclusive
One of the draws of this type of hotel is the “cave” aspect, as it’s built into the cliff. Like many of the “cave” Oia hotels, Aspaki goes for a modern, minimalist take on a cave suite. My room was clean, peaceful, and comfortable, and small but not crowded or claustrophobic at all.
The room came with a few nice amenities and touches, including a bottle of champagne and some truffles, and a nice coffee bar so I could have espresso whenever I wanted.
There was also a small fridge and minibar, with a couple complimentary waters. One thing to note is that you shouldn’t drink the tap water in Santorini.
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The patio & plunge pool
Okay, this is what we’re here for!! The balcony was a huge decision factor in which Oia hotels I chose, and specifically the views (we’ll get to that in a minute) and the pretty pool.
My travel style tends to be GO GO GO…exploring as much as possible when I go somewhere new. But I took a hybrid approach during my stay at Aspaki Santorini, spending the afternoon soaking up the sun on my balcony, drinking cocktails, and reading my Kindle. Fact is, if you’re spending this much on a hotel, you should BE IN IT enough to make it worth it.
My biggest complaint with the balcony was that there wasn’t really a good place or way to lay out and get sun. There was that bench, but it was awkward to lay on and didn’t let me get even sun coverage.
My suite had a jacuzzi instead of a plunge pool, so was less appealing to me (warm water in hot weather). Truth be told, I’m not huge on being in the water anyway.
One note, the afternoon is HOT in Santorini. The sun is unforgiving (make sure to wear and reapply sunscreen…here are my faves), and the afternoon sun was particularly harsh for getting good photos.
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This photo (taken early morning) gives you a bit better sense of the overall layout and size of the balcony. Like I said, quite small (not unusually vs. many other Oia hotels, but you can compare to my Charisma patio).
You’ll see that you don’t have tons of privacy on your patio (there are rooms and people directly on either side and above you), but that’s COMPLETELY NORMAL in Oia. The price you pay for that amazing cliffside view is that they have to terrace those balconies out over each other.
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The view from the balcony
Again, this is what we’re here for! I specifically wanted that unobstructed blue domes view, and the balcony definitely (mostly) delivered. It’s worth noting that this is one of those “Instagram photo vs. reality” situations, as most things in Santorini are. And I want to always be real with you guys.
So let’s start with the major “pros”…I mean, look at that view! The blue domes are beautiful and I was able to get some great pics (especially during sunset, which you’ll see below). And I didn’t have any other people getting in my way, which was awesome.
The downside, and this is just life, is that the framing of the shots wasn’t very clean. Look at the bottom-right of the first pic below, you’ll see that umbrella jutting up, the roofs of other rooms, etc. Again, that’s just life, and when you have so much stuff piled on top of each other, that’s what you’ll deal with.
But if you’re looking for some absolutely perfect Instagram photo, you have to work a little harder for it (and do some creative editing). That was true throughout Oia for me, not just at Aspaki.
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After spending a couple hours trying to soak up some sun, I ordered a cocktail from room service (it was delicious!!), got showered and ready for dinner, and then settled in to experience my first Santorini sunset.
I couldn’t resist doing my own little photoshoot to pass the time 🙂 (As a solo traveler, this super easy to use iPhone selfie stick/tripod combo is invaluable for this type of thing…)
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Sunset from my room at Aspaki Exclusive
Santorini is famous for its sunsets, and LET ME TELL YOU…I had zero desire to jostle along with the hordes of tourists fighting for a spot along Oia’s walkways to watch it. This was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to get the bougie hotel balcony with a view.
And I think there are pros and cons to Aspaki’s location. Unlike the other Art Maisons Santorini location (Oia Castle), the hotel sits on the south side Oia’s peninsula. While that gives it a great view of the blue domes, you don’t actually have a true sunset view.
I didn’t realize this beforehand, as I didn’t have a good grasp of Oia’s topography. So I did get beautiful sunset colors and was able to capture some lovely pictures, but the ACTUAL sunset happens over there where the buildings and hill are blocking the view.
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And again, that’s not necessarily a pro or a con, but just a fact. I absolutely LOVED the beautiful peachy-pink sunset colors behind the blue domes, for instance.
And, if you’re so inclined, once your balcony loses the best part of the sunset views, you can head out and get a “second” sunset…I needed to get to a dinner reservation anyway, so left a bit early and caught the tail-end of the sunset from Oia Castle. So I got a sunset two-fer.
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I really can’t overstate how lovely the Santorini sunsets were…as long as I didn’t have to battle the crowds. I did one night and felt like a salmon spawning upstream. NO THANK YOU.
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I’ll note that the sunset from the entrance to Aspaki is also really lovely, with these beautiful bells and spires. So make sure you explore a bit during sunset! The sunset actually lasts quite a while, so you have time to move around.
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The rest of the hotel
I’ve already mentioned the lobby/restaurant area. Space is at a premium, so the only other main shared area (that I was aware of) was this nice rooftop patio where there are some sun loungers, and at night they do special dinners.
You need to make sure you book ahead…I was tempted by it (they still had a spot open mid-afternoon) but already had reservations elsewhere.
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Not much to say here, except I loved how Oia sparkles at night.
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Sunrise & morning views from the hotel
One of the benefits to being on the south side (vs. facing directly west) is that you do get some lovely sunrise colors. This first pic is from the entrance to the hotel, and the second is a while later from my room (after sunrise, technically). I went out and explored Oia during sunrise without the crowds.
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Breakfast at Aspaki Santorini
My stay did include breakfast either in their restaurant or delivered to my room. And DUH, I went with the option to have it delivered to my balcony! I’d been out exploring Oia during the sunrise and came back just after they dropped off my tray.
I’d ordered a pastry basket, little Greek pancakes, and an omelet. Honestly I was underwhelmed by the food…it was pretty bland and the textures weren’t amazing. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t *bad*, and maybe I ordered the wrong stuff. But I didn’t eat much of it and instead swung by the delightful Karma for a second breakfast before my day-long tour.
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So those were my thoughts on staying at Aspaki Santorini, one of the best Oia hotels. I did really love my stay there, though probably would choose Charisma if I were to stay in Oia again.
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