Where To Stay In Santorini: Oia’s Gorgeous Charisma Suites
There are probably many good answers to the question of where stay in Santorini. But to me, on a first visit, I decided that BOUGIE was the way to go, and that made Charisma Suites the perfect choice.
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Located right under the iconic windmills in Oia, Charisma’s location and overall setup are perfect if you’re looking for the quintessential (or, some might say, stereotypical) Santorini experience. That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone, and it certainly comes with a price tag, so I wanted to share the details of my stay.
Before we dive into all the details of what I loved at Charisma, I don’t want to give the impression that Oia is the best place to stay in Santorini. It’s beautiful, but also the most crowded and cliché. I debated whether it was right for me as a first-time visitor (this post lays out pros & cons to help you decide), and decided to just go with splurge hotels so I didn’t have to battle the crowds as often.
But if I go back to Santorini in the future, I’ll probably try out different areas and just rent a car or book drivers everywhere (note, taxis and drivers in Santorini are EXPENSIVE). I’d still go for the amazing cliff views, but try out quieter Imerovigli. But I’m really happy I did Oia and stayed at Charisma for my first visit.
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My TL;dr review of the Charisma Suites 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 usually book through Booking, though occasionally directly on the hotel’s website if I’m worried about getting the exact room I wanted.
- The location is top-notch, right under the windmill and directly facing the famous Santorini sunsets (and the little island of Thirassia). Views are AMAZING. A bonus on the location is that it’s only a few steps to a parking lot where taxis/drivers can pick you up (which means less luggage dragging).
- The hotel is beautiful all over, and the staff were extremely welcoming and helpful.
- My room was spacious, lovely, and clean, with thoughtful little touches (and a bottle of good white wine). The balcony was really the star and the draw for me, and it was great.
- Breakfast was good, though the food in Greece didn’t blow me away overall (which is a bummer, I was super excited about all the food…it was good enough, but not mind-blowing).
- It was expensive, but very much in line with similar hotels in Oia, and while the price was the same as my Aspaki room, I thought Charisma was a little better value for the money.
Basically, if you’re looking for an amazing splurge stay with the best sunset views, beautiful balcony and pool, great service, and stunning photos, then Charisma is for you. Note, I also stayed one night at Aspaki Exclusive as well (here’s a deep-dive review), and loved it too, though Charisma definitely was the winner.
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 service & location
I was warmly welcomed to the hotel and shown to my room, which was, excitingly, a very short walk and only a handful of steps away. That’s one thing you need to consider in Santorini overall, and especially Oia, is STAIRS. If you have mobility issues, it might not be the place for you.
All of the staff were very nice and helpful, bringing breakfast or drinks to me at my room (though I always offered to come get my drinks), remembering my name and asking how I was. The guy at the front desk at night went out of his way to help me figure out where to meet my driver the next morning for a sunrise hike and set up the taxi for me.
And I’ll say again, the fact that you’re only a short (basically flat) walk from a great parking lot is CLUTCH. It was so nice for meeting taxis, getting dropped off, and not having to drag my luggage through crowds and crazy stairs when I left (though the staff will take your luggage if you want).
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My balcony & view at Charisma
I’ll talk about sunset later, but this is just focusing on the setup and room type itself. And I LOOOOOOOVED my balcony at Charisma!
I did a TON of research on different hotels but also specifically the balconies and views, if they had a pool, etc. I stayed in the Charisma Pool Suite with Caldera View and it was perfect for me. I had the pool suite on the right in the first and third pics below.
I will note that I *wanted* and thought I was booking the room on the left, with the kind of canopy sun bed (so probably should have emailed to check), but I was still very happy with my balcony.
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 par for the course in Oia. The price you pay for that amazing cliffside caldera view is that they have to terrace those balconies out over each other.
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The Pool Suite room
One of the draws of this type of hotel is the “cave” aspect, as it’s built into the cliff. Charisma Suites goes for a very modern, minimalist take on a cave suite, and it was clean, peaceful, and comfortable.
I had a lot of space, as you can tell from the photos, including some seating options for reading at night. The bed and bedding were very comfortable, and I appreciated that there were two different pillow types provided. There was even a cool radio playing funky modern jazz whenever I wanted.
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The bathroom was pretty good-sized as well, with separated but open enclaves for the toilet and shower. The toiletries provided were very nice, and I had both regular towels and beach towels (for outside).
My only minor complaint (and this is sadly true in a lot of hotels) is that there was no full length mirror…I like to see if I look dumb before heading out 🙂
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The room came with some extra lovely touches as well, including some VERY subtle incense (not smoking, just the oil kind), a welcome bottle of wine and fruit salads, and a couple big bottles of water. Note, the tap water in Santorini is not good for drinking, so you’ll need bottled all the time.
There was a nice little minibar and snack offering as well (for a price), and room service was an option if needed (including for cocktails). I wish there had been a Nespresso or other coffee option, as breakfast doesn’t start til 8:00am, so I always went exploring around sunrise looking for coffee in Oia.
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The daytime views and pool
But let’s face it, this is what I was really here for!!! It was hard to keep my expectations in-check before coming to Santorini, but let me tell you that my balcony at Charisma Suites did not disappoint!
My room had a perfect straight-on view of the caldera, Thirassia (that island across the water), the sunset, and more. Not only did I have a little plunge pool (warm, not cool) to take a dip in, but a nice sunbed that let me dangle my feet out over the cliff.
Standing on the edge CAREFULLY made me feel a bit like I was at the edge of the world, and I couldn’t resist doing my own little photoshoots 🙂 (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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If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you know that my style tends to be GO GO GO…exploring as much as possible in a new place. I make a big distinction between trips (exploring) and vacations (literally just lay by the pool).
But at Charisma I did a bit of a hybrid, making sure I took at least a few hours of “vacation” every day, to make the most of this amazing balcony. I laid out in the sun, drank my lovely bottle of wine, and read my Kindle to really soak up the full bougie experience.
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The complimentary breakfast
My stay did include breakfast either in their restaurant or delivered to my room. And I mean, DUH, I wanted it on my beautiful little balcony!
Charisma’s breakfast times begin at 8:00am, which is kind of late in my opinion (and as an early bird who wants to get out for the day). You could choose one item from different categories, and I always like to get a lot of different things to see what I enjoy.
I loved the thick Greek yogurt and honey, and the tiny savory phyllo treats the most. I got my “espresso freddo”, a Greek cold shaken espresso drink that I’m a huge fan of and is everywhere here. The hot dishes were fine, but as I’m not a huge breakfast eater anyway, they didn’t do as much for me.
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The Santorini sunset from Charisma Suites
The sunsets in Santorini are famous, and I’d argue that Charisma is one of the BEST spots in Oia to watch them. This was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to get the splurge-y hotel balcony with a view, so I didn’t have to jostle and elbow the hordes of tourists trying to find their perfect sunset spot.
It was really funny watching all the sunset sail boats stream out toward this one spot looking at the sun. Lol it was as though they were all praying around a shrine or something, and then the second the sun sank below the horizon, a mass exodus of boats headed the other way.
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Just for context, if I looked down below my balcony or beyond toward the castle ruins in the distance, you can see the crowds of people all gathered for the sunset. NO THANKS. I did it one night (heading back from a rooftop dinner), and regretted not just spending one more sunset on my balcony.
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Watching the sun drift further toward the horizon was peaceful as I sipped my wine and enjoyed the plunge pool.
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And lest you think I’m being overdramatic about the crowds, LET’S LOOK AT WHAT WE WERE MISSING, SHALL WE???
This is after the sunset, with the crowds coming back toward me as I made my way back to the hotel. I couldn’t even get a sharp picture because I was being pushed along.
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Whew, back on my peaceful balcony…
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I was so sad to leave Charisma after two lovely nights here! But it was on to Naxos via the ferry…
If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Santorini and you think a splurge experience in Oia might be for you, then I HIGHLY recommend Charisma Suites Santorini as your best pick!
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