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4 weeks agoupdated Jul 10, 2024

Canaves Epitome: The Santorini Resort that Stands Out

Can you find summer serenity in Santorini? We check in to Canaves Epitome to find out.

By Emma Al-Mousawi

“Our clients wanted privacy and space so we created this property,” says Vasilis Gialouris, the hotel manager at Canaves Epitome in Santorini. I’ve just checked into the all-villa-and-suite resort built into a cliffside on the edge of Oia, arguably the volcanic island’s most picturesque – and most visited – towns. 

It’s no secret that Santorini’s visitor numbers swell to epic proportions in the summer months, but as Gialouris guides me on my morning tour, the resort’s zen-levels are making me feel like I could be on a different Greek island altogether. 

Opting to take a detour from the bright white domed architecture Santorini is renowned for, Canaves Epitome’s clean lines are constructed from the same black and red volcanic stone that forms the Aegean-facing ridge the resort is perched upon. Intertwined with 192 different varieties of plants, century-old olive trees and winding stone pathways, it is a world into itself. 

[See also: The Quietest Greek Islands to Visit]

Canaves Epitome two bedroom suite
All rooms come with a private pool / ©Canaves Epitome

First opened in 2018, Canaves Epitome is one of five unique properties in Santorini which make up the Canaves Collection, one of the island’s longest standing five-star hotel brands. The family-run firm takes its name from the traditional wine caves dotted around the island. 

The hotel brand began life in 1985 when Anna and Ioannis Chaidemenos converted a pair of 17th century cliffside wine caves into two luxury hotel suites. The couple’s two sons, Alexandros and Markos, took the helm in 2010, with the duo expanding the portfolio and continuing to innovate (sister property, Canaves Ena, in the heart of Oia, has just unveiled a chic transformation).


Canaves Epitome is said to be the only resort on the island to deliver sunset views from every one of its 53 suites and villas. These range from one to five bedrooms and all come with a private pool. Interiors merge a sleek Greek aesthetic with traditional Cycledelic design in the form of marble, chalk-hued walls, curved archways, local artworks and pottery. 

For extra privacy, check in to one of Canaves Epitome’s villas. The one-bedroom Epitome Pool Villa is a sophisticated space for solo travelers and couples with nearly 600 sq ft of living space encapsulating a separate living room. The villa flows on to a generous terrace with uninterrupted views of the Aegean and Thirassia Island from its loungers. Bookended by two substantial lava rock walls, your outdoor space is truly private.

[See also: The Best Greek Island Hotels for 2024]

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Canaves Epitome hotel room
Interiors are sleek with Cycledelian touches such as local pottery and stone / ©Canaves Epitome

Families, as well as groups of friends, can choose between Two and Three Bedroom Pool Villas as well as the exclusive Aqua Retreat Two Bedroom Pool Villa, which is spread across two floors and spans 1,076 sq ft. The villa’s impressive pool features a see-through glass wall at one side which it shares with the lower-level bedroom, offering a unique underwater vantage point from the king size bed. 

However, the most prestigious option at Canaves Epitome is the Five Bedroom Pool Villa, an almost-5,000-sq-ft palatial stone adobe that melds into the cliffside. Accommodating up to 14, it contains fitness and treatment rooms and a full kitchen. The villa is equipped for a private chef, butler, concierge and spa therapists – all available on request. Guests can also bring their own security should they wish. The most redeeming feature however, has to be its 3,500-sq-ft lounge-terrace with sunken seating floating in its infinity pool. 


There are two restaurants at Canaves Epitome – Upscale Elements which serves two contemporary tasting menus (one is globe trotting-inspired, the other is decidedly Greek). The candlelit terrace is an atmospheric spot to savor locally caught fresh scallops and sofigado – a rich Greek stew. 

The property’s second restaurant, Omnia, is a more laidback poolside affair serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Mezze, oysters and Greek salad followed by local fish and fresh pasta (and a good hamburger). 

[See also: One&Only Welcomes Guests to Kéa Island Resort]

Canaves Epitome restaurants
Canaves Epitome features two restaurants / ©Canaves Epitome

Guests at Canaves Epitome also receive priority reservations (and transfers) at other Canaves Collection properties. Petra at Canaves Oia Suites is definitely worth a visit, not just for the postcard worthy view of Oia and the Caldera, but for its kakavia – a traditional Greek seafood soup.

However, a dining experience that truly can’t be missed is Armeni, the Chaidemenos family’s traditional Greek fish restaurant on the water’s edge. Best reached by a 10-minute boat journey, the unpretentious alfresco seafood tavern is hidden at the bottom of a cliffside beneath Oia and serves the daily catch. 


The spa features three treatment rooms with facial treatments by lauded Swiss brand Valmont. Body and massage treatments come courtesy of French brands Cinq Mondes and KOS Paris, which draw on natural and organic ingredients. Book in for the Jet Lag Recovery treatment to rejuvenate and energize post-arrival. 

As well as a gym and Pilates, there are yoga sessions for both adults and kids. For lazy days, Canaves Epitome also has two outdoor infinity pools both with all-day bars. 

[See also: Inside Belmond’s Dreamy Debut Sicilian Beach Club]

Canaves Epitome five bedroom villa
The most prestigious option at Canaves Epitome is the Five Bedroom Pool Villa / ©Canaves Epitome


In prime position for exploring both Oia and Santorini as a whole, Canaves Epitome’s chauffeurs make it really easy to get around this notoriously busy island and there are a wealth of activities to choose from.

Staying just outside Oia means you’ll miss the traffic coming in and out of town, whether you’re visiting the island’s famous Red Beach or learning about Santorini’s 3,000-year-old winemaking tradition. Sommelier-led tastings in Canaves’ own underground wine cellar are also a great way to do this closer to home. 

My most memorable outing was a pottery class with the island’s renowned master potter, Andreas Makaris. Though I couldn’t quite recreate the masterpieces on display in his workshop, his sense of humor will mean you will have a giggle trying. 

The best way to explore Santorini is by setting sail on its Aegean waters, and Canaves Epitome’s concierge are on hand to design bespoke sailing or yacht charter, from exploring hidden coves and nearby islands to romantic dinners or family adventure, snorkeling or fishing. Away from the crowds, as the waves lap, it’s impossible to argue that Santorini doesn’t have a quieter side. 

Suites from approx. $800 per night, resort open from 20 April – 31 October,

[See also: Mandarin Oriental Announces First Hotel in Greece]

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