REVIEW: Hyatt’s Canaves Epitome Oia in Santorini, Greece

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Our Turkish Airlines Business Class flight from Los Angeles to Istanbul arrived in Athens around 3:00am. Yes, 3:00 in the morning. So early? I know. But we had it all planned. There was no reason for us to leave the airport in Athens. We didn’t plan to spend a day or two in Athens before heading off to different Greek islands. Instead, we chose to stay inside the Athens airport, and we booked a 6:00am Aegean flight to Santorini.

Part of the big plan. I know, so early! Again, we figured, we were already at the airport, we might as well stay there and catch an early flight out. Our plan was to get ourselves situated in Santorini as early as possible.

The Aegean flight to Santorini took about 50 minutes. It was still dark when we flew from Athens, and still dark when we landed before 7am. We arranged for a car service pick up from the airport to Oia. We booked with LionTransfer.com. Our driver, Yaris, showed up on time, and we began making our way to Oia (pronounced as ee-ah). This drive felt like it was only a half hour ride. We made it to our resort by 7:30 a.m.

The backstory with our Santorini accommodations

Yes, we had a year to plan our vacation, but I hate to admit, we didn’t book our hotels early enough. We’ve had so many trips prior to Greece. In the past year, we went to:

  • New York City
  • Newport Beach
  • San Diego
  • Philippines
  • Oahu
  • Disney Cruise to Mexico
  • New Orleans
  • Banff, Canada
  • Maui
  • Paris
  • Belgium
  • Amsterdam
  • London

Yes, we’ve been busy planning and booking and Greece somewhat took a backseat. So for this visit to Santorini, we couldn’t find one property for all of our 3 nights on the island. We’re no strangers to moving from one hotel to another. So we booked 3 different properties.

Canaves Epitome in Oia, part of Hyatt’s Small Luxury Hotels Collection

  • Hyatt Category 8
  • Honeymoon Suite with Plunge Pool
  • 45,000 points
  • Cash cost – over 800 Euros per night

We were greeted by Maria from the front desk upon our arrival. We realized it was still very early to check in. She gave us a quick overview of the property, and that she was hoping to have our room ready sooner than 3pm.

First impression

I’m not gonna lie to you. The moment we approached and drove in to the property, I thought to myself, “We’re here? This is it?” There was no denying that it was clean, smelled quite fragrant, and that it was serene.

I looked all around me and I asked myself, “But where are all the cliffside homes that Santorini is known for? Where are the blue domes?” I did not see any. So I was a bit concerned. Then I realized there were other “Canaves” properties in Oia, and the Epitome property was the one right on the edge of Oia.

I was really out of my element here. I’m a budget traveler. I’m not used to booking properties for 45,000 points per night. And this trip to Greece was a good enough reason to splurge, to go for the gusto, to shoot for the stars.

Courtesy shuttle

Since it was still so early in the morning, we decided to take advantage of the free courtesy shuttle from the hotel to Oia town. Maria was able to call for one of their drivers, and within minutes, we began making our drive to Oia town. I still could not see the cliffside homes since the roads were more inland. Our driver advised us to just send a WhatsApp message to the resort when we are ready to head back. The ride was so short, perhaps less than 10 minutes.

From the dropoff point, it was a quick 5 minute walk up to the main drag of Oia, and then in a snap, I saw the caldera views and the cliffside homes. We finally felt like we made it to Greece. We made it to the Santorini that was in our minds.

Kodak moment

I’m totally dating myself. No one uses Kodak moment anymore. To those unaware, Kodak moment refers to taking photos to remember the moment. Yes, we took endless photos and videos. All we had were our iPhone 14 smartphones.We weren’t exactly prepared to take lots of photos. We were still in our plane travel wear. We weren’t “dressed” as planned for these type of pictures, but we took dozens of photos anyway. There were steps after steps after steps, and we loved seeing the colors of the homes as the sun rays began to hit them.

It was only past 8:30 am when we made it to this part of Oia, and already, there were quite a few folks taking photos on their own, while a few others had an entourage of photographers and assistants.

In many key spots where the famous blue domes are in the background, do expect to wait. I was so glad we made this unplanned early morning visit and got a few great shots of our own. Our Greek vacation was off to a great start.

For the next hour and a half, that was all we did. We admired the vistas of Oia and the caldera. We also had a quick early morning breakfast with views of caldera.

By 11am, the hotel sent us a message on WhatsApp, our room was ready. It was perfect timing. The crowd had started to build up so we left Oia.

A quick reply, and within 5-10 minutes, our complimentary private car service picked us up. The pick up point for those who stay at Canaves Oia Epitome was at Hungry Donkey in Oia.

Canaves Epitome Honeymoon Suite with Plunge Pool

You could just imagine that we’ve been traveling for over 24 hours since we left Los Angeles, spent a long layover in Istanbul, arrived in Athens, and flew directly to Santorini. It has been a long day of travel. All I could think of was to get to our room, and honestly, I wanted to sleep….yes, at 11am I wanted to sleep. Maria, from the front desk, took the time to walk us to our villa. We were in Room 305. It was an upstairs unit. Directly after walking in was the window that overlooked our little plunge pool, and yes, the ocean views. Here’s an Instagram footage of our villa.

Once we got settled, I stuck to my plans. I went to bed. I needed to sleep. Nancy decided to stay up for a bit. She had some time to explore the area, and shortly thereafter, she, too, jumped in bed with me. Fast forward 3-4 hours later, we got up mid afternoon, and began to appreciate the high sunshine that was beaming down the ocean. It was everything I imagined. Just glorious.

We explored the pool near our villa, and just how majestic was this pool area. This is where Omnia Restaurant is located, the place where we’d have our breakfast. It was simply breathtaking to watch especially with the sun that afternoon. Here’s another Instagram LIVE footage when I explored the pool area.

Back to our Honeymoon Suite with Plunge Pool

This part was the real treat. It was the real reason why we wanted to try this property. We booked a standard room, and we were upgraded to this Honeymoon Suite. No, it was not our honeymoon, but it was how the suite was called. The hotel showered us with wine, a delicious cake, balloons, and rose petals to welcome us to our room. The views from the pool villa was outstanding. I’ve seen so many videos where Santorini visitors flock to view the sunset. We did not have to fight with the crowd. Those of us who stayed at the resort gathered outside our private villas to admire the sunset.

Dinner at Ammoudi Bay Fish Tavern

After getting enough rest, it was time for dinner. We asked the hotel for recommendations, and we were advised to go to Ammoudi Fish Tavern. The hotel called the restaurant and made a reservation for us.

Canaves Epitome sat on top of Ammoudi Bay, and a visit was in order. We took the private shuttle down to Ammoudi Bay and within 5 minutes we made it to the parking lot. We walked over to Ammoudi Fish Tavery, a gorgeous restaurant with 180 degrees of the bay. The evening was perfect, not windy, not cold, not breezy, just perfect.

We opted to keep our dinner simple. I wanted Greek Salad, of course, and fried calamari and prawns. That was just right for our first dinner in Greece.

Mornings back in Oia

The next day, instead of eating breakfast right away, we decided to head back to Oia Town. We arrived around 8am and there was no crowd. We were able to take more pictures of this beautiful part of Santorini.

Our breakfast

Breakfast was at Omnia Restaurant. It was definitely another highlight. Our breakfast was covered at no extra cost for us. We were able to order just about anything we wanted from the menu. Our table was right at the edge of the pool. It was the views that added to the charm as we were able to sit and enjoy our breakfast next to the pool and with views of the ocean.

Checkout

Standard checkout was 11am. We had requested something later if possible, and we were given an extra hour until 12pm. We candidly asked Maria if there was a possibility to stay even later, to please let us. After we had our breakfast, she gave us a call and we were told we could stay until 1pm. Ask and you shall receive. Perfect. Thank you, Maria.

Maria from Canaves Epitome

Overall impression

What you will get here: the get away from it all feel, this place is it! You will not feel suffocated. There’s plenty of room to wander. The pool views and sunset views are just out of this world spectacular.

What you won’t get here: It’s not an easy walk to Oia Town, famous for all those houses on the hill and blue domes. The easiest way is to take a shuttle, which in the grand scheme of things, it still made it very accessible from the property. But if you want a place where you could easily wander outside of the property to visit shops and stores, this hotel is not near any of that. A vehicle is needed to get you to the town quickly.

The staff was accommodating – I just could not find any fault. They were all very knowledgeable of their property and of the area. They were quick to reply to our text messages.

The shuttle service felt very private. It was just me and Nancy, and no one else. The shuttle was always available, was easy to use.

Would I stay here again? You bet.

For now, thank you, Canaves Epitome!

 

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Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

 

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