Featured writer: Nikki Pitts
Planning a trip to the beautiful Greek island of Santorini? I recommend Rocabella Santorini Resort & Spa, which is located on the outskirts of Imerovigli, at a distance of 1.5 km from Fira. You can hike or take a local bus to the bigger villages of Oia and Fira.
From Athens, you can either fly (via Olympic Airways or Aegean Airlines) or take a ferry (via Hellenic Seaways or Blue Star Ferries from Piraeus port). The ferries offer an eight-hour trip (which could be either during the day or overnight depending on the season) and a 4 hour hydrofoil. We opted to take the 4 hour hydrofoil ferry (Blue Star Ferries) as it was cheaper than flying. If you decide to take the ferry, you need to know the following: 1) Ferry schedules are suggestions, not fact. You should arrive at least 1 hour in advance as the ferry could leave early (it will state this explicitly on your ticket). Therefore, plan accordingly. A ferry with a 7:25 scheduled departure could actually end up leaving the port at 7:00; 2) Buy insurance. This is Europe and strikes happen. And with the current state of fiscal affairs in Greece, I’d definitely recommend buying it for peace of mind. If you happen to purchase your trip via Viator, they will re-book you on a flight to Santorini in the event of a strike; 3) There are assigned seats. You may want to consider an upgrade for more room. Four/Eight hours is a long time to be packed in with other people. The ferry can start to get a little musty by the 2nd hour; and 4) Bring snacks. There is usually a food concession on board but it is a bit expensive. There are plenty of shops around the Piraeus port. Pick up a meal or 2 to go.
Rocabella provides transportation to/from either the airport or port for a fee. You will need to call the resort prior to your arrival to arrange pick-up.
I found a great deal thru Expedia which saved me some money. If you prefer to book directly, the resort website also has special deals and discounts. Santorini (and Greece in general) can be a bit expensive. I highly recommend pre-booking to take advantage of early booking discounts and/or free-night offers. Also, if you are planning to visit during high-season (June – August), pre-booking will guarantee your room is available as the island gets overcrowded.
Rooms & Suites
Each room or suite has a jacuzzi, flat screen tv as well as a minibar. There are several types of rooms: Senior and Superior Rooms (full or partial ocean view) and Suites. Be sure to check out the pictures on the resort website or tripadvisor.com as each suite is different (I love the one with the ceiling made of stars!). I pre-purchased the Superior full ocean view room (definitely upgrade to a full ocean view. You will never get tired of watching the sunset over the caldera from your balcony…it’s heaven on earth). When we arrived, we found out we were upgraded to a Superior Suite with a full ocean view.
Nicknamed “The Cave”, this suite was very spacious. However, we asked to switch the next day due to the room having a mildew smell.
The front desk was very accommodating and actually let us choose from several other rooms. We ended up in a Superior Room with full ocean view that was perfect! Notice that a portion of the ceiling has a “faux sky”. Marvelous!
- Even with all the concrete, the rooms are comfortable. Each balcony has a private jacuzzi, loungers and a table where you can waste away an entire day while drinking mimosas and reading your Kindle or listening to music while looking at the beautiful blue ocean. The best part? Watching as the sunsets over the caldera. Hint: Order room service and eat “alfresco” on your balcony while the sun descends into the sea. You won’t want to leave! The beds lull you to sleep with the soft featherbed under fresh, crisp linens. The shower is spacious and modern. I could spend all day in there.
The Fitness Center
I worked out at the fitness center once during my week-long visit. It’s very small, hot and the equipment is a bit dated. I ended up skipping the gym and hiking along the caldera to Oia then back to Fira. Plenty of hills to work the glutes and the views are breathtaking!
The resort offers spa services. Unfortunately, they were booked solid when I decided to go so I can’t review this area. Therefore, I recommend booking your services prior to arrival.
The resort has 1 restaurant. We ate there for breakfast and ordered room service a couple of times. Overall, the food was fine.
In addition to a small fitness center and spa, the resort also has several pools with a DJ playing music in the afternoons. You will find that most of the activity will be around exploring the beautiful island of Santorini. Hike along the rim of the caldera. Go shopping in Fira (which had some fabulous boutiques). Take a walking tour of Oia. Enjoy a sunset dinner cruise or relax at one of the many beaches. There is so much to do, you will find that the time slips away much too quickly. You may have noticed that I mention (repeatedly) watching the sunset over the caldera. Words cannot adequately describe how magnificent it is. You will find yourself waiting for the end of the day to enjoy those magical minutes of breathtaking beauty. So, if the only activity you do is to sit on the balcony and watch the sunset, you’ve done enough.
Nikki’s Rating: Fabulous 4
Rating Scale 1-5 (1 = GET OUT NOW; 2 = Seriously?; 3 = Eh, it’ll do; 4 = Fabulous; 5 = Absolutely Wonderful)