The lush landscape of the Cycadean island of Santorini paints an idyllic backdrop for the island’s newest wonder: Istoria, a 12-suite retreat on Perivolos Beach. Displaying a unique blend of classic and contemporary aesthetics, this luxury hotel is as rooted in the past as it is in the present and is inspired by storytelling.
Set across from Perivolos Beach, a seaside stretch on Santorini’s south east coast, Istoria is fantasy turned reality. A new spin on the Greek beachside hotel, the property absorbs the best of the location’s bustle, while interjecting its own aura of peace amongst 12 pure suites.
Just beyond the estate lies a 3km stretch of black sand—the result of an eruption of Santorini’s volcano—and crystalline blue waters that serve as a soothing respite to the area’s burgeoning nightlife and dining scene. Far-removed from the area’s tourist-clogged sunset spots and yet deeply connected to its neighborhood, the hotel has carved a unique beach concept that allows guests to engage with the island’s activity from a calm sanctuary. Further ties to the area are forged via collaboration between the hotel, local shops, and designers for a unique Istoria boutique, while a series of activities orchestrated by local outlets and facilitated by the hotel are available to guests, such as horse-riding and biking.
Complementing this community-minded spirit is the concept of storytelling, which drives Istoria’s commitment to allowing guests the space to breathe and curate their own bespoke retreat. The hotel’s name derives from the Ancient Greek word for story and, as such, every corner is imbued with a sense of intimacy, relaxation, and most importantly, comfort, for a prevailing atmosphere that feels like a home from home. This vision is brought to life by Athens-based firm Interior Design Laboratorium, who have replicated the experience of a Santorini mansion via a fusion of traditional Santorini architecture and a stripped-down contemporary aesthetic that pervades all areas.
Istoria’s design is an eclectic impression of Mediterranean influences. Rustic textures—as seen in the various terracotta, wood, and concrete elements that pepper the space—sit side-by-side with sleek, modern furnishings and accents that include marble-topped console tables and low hanging ceramic pendant lighting in guestrooms. Decorative accents yield memories of times past; oversized stone pots nod to the island’s storied, and extensive history while it’s abundant natural bounty features in the shape of volcanic stone, black Santorini sand, and an environment of native trees and plants, such as ancient olive trees, herbs, and aloe. Traditional woven wool, shaped into handcrafted textiles, blanket beds, nooks and alcoves to form spaces that exude warmth and softness.
The 12 guestrooms—each with a name in a different language which translates to the word ‘story’—continue the theme of storytelling, each one a stylish backdrop in which to provoke inspiring and everlasting stories. Divided into five categories, and ranging 40-50 sqm, the accommodations are characterized by a series of luxe features that elevate Istoria to a high-end, must visit property. Verdant terraces, for example, are crowned with private Jacuzzis and/or pools—game-changing features that offer an additional layer of refuge to this resplendent haven. It’s all evenly spread throughout a restored building which retains original features, such as dominant arches, thick masonry, and traditional mosaic flooring, for an experience that is wholly and authentically Greek while embracing all the needs of modern and sophisticated travelers.
Despite an overwhelming dedication to tranquility and solace, Istoria features several spaces for guests to play. A large infinity pool, bounded by loungers and framed by views of the surrounding mountains, contributes a convivial essence, supplemented by a casual and bohemian pool bar serving drinks and snacks. Elsewhere, the hotel’s main restaurant, a 40-cover eatery led by Noma alum Alexandros Tsiotinis, complete with outdoor terrace, serves modern Greek and Mediterranean cuisine created with fresh, seasonal ingredients and seafood garnered from the island and the Aegean Sea. Amenities are rounded up with an on-site spa offering facial and body treatments that incorporate Ila Spa products alongside an Asian-inspired mix of essential oils.