Paradise lost – and discovered

By Tereza Urbankova:

One of the stories in the Milton’s Paradise Lost talks about temptation and fall of Adam and Eve. The story is about the temptation of an island which has experienced a few falls in its remarkable history…

Santorini, Greece, a likely source for the Plato’s story of Atlantis, is a small Greek island, rich in myths, located in the Aegean Sea on the southern east tip of the Cyclades Cluster. The island, including the surrounding area, is also very well known for its dramatic volcanic past. As an example, take the volcanic eruption of biblical proportions which happened in the area around 1500 BC, apparently 100 times more powerful than the eruption at Pompeii, blowing up the interior of the island (then called Thera) and forever altering its topography. Or, one of the most recent devastating earthquakes which occurred between Amorgos and Santorini islands in 1956, destroying about 85% of the island structures.

Since then, however, Santorini has become one of the most popular holiday destinations. If you are looking for best sunsets, unforgettable memories, unique shades of blue, and an extraordinary romantic experience, look no further. I can point you to the unsurpassed magic of one spot on Santorini called Canaves Suites, situated in the village of Oia on top of an impressive cliff offering a spectacular view over the volcano of Palia and Nea Kameni and the island of Thirassia. When you land in the capital of Fira, head towards the north – Oia is only 11 km away and once out of busy and touristy Fira, you’ll find yourself on a winding road lined with finished and unfinished buildings and houses scattered around with seemingly no logic, arid brown land and dry bushes – don’t get discouraged as the best is yet to come.

Combining plain elegance and luxury as well as close to the village centre, the boutique Canaves Suites hotel resembles a paradise on earth. After arriving at Canaves Suites* for the first time, I realised that this hotel is uniquely positioned, almost as if it formed a physical barrier between the noise and chaos so typical for Greek streets and deafening silence that immediately surrounds you once you cross over to the other (not the dark!) side, to the side facing the caldera.

The hotel’s location offers picturesque vistas of extraordinary shades of blue, the infinite sea, the charming caldera either from the hotel pool or from your own which every suite has. These stunning views can be also enjoyed while having a romantic candlelit dinner in the cave (literally!) in the poolside Petra restaurant or in a spectacular setting of a terrace (with one table only!) for eternal romantics.

I have been coming to the Canaves Suites hotel for five years now and every year, in addition to welcoming me with what I know well and expect, which I like as I am a creature of habit, the hotel surprises me with some innovation and improvement. A new gym, a new beauty studio and spa, renovated rooms, a new pool bar, a new boutique, you name it. Service is impeccable. No wonder the hotel has won many awards.

Are you worried you may get bored after a while? Then hire a private yacht that the owner’s family offers to its guests and take a trip to other islands around. And, if you get tired of the peacefulness by the hotel pool or the one on your terrace, walk up the stairs to the main street leading to the village centre, with luxurious designer boutiques, local tavernas and a few upmarket restaurants offering great food (fresh fish!), narrow streets, sun-soaked verandas, iconic blue-domed churches and naturally, plenty of tourists as well as souvenir shops.