Santorini is one of the Greek islands that needs no further introductions , if you haven’t visited it is definitely one of the bucket list you should check off. There are many incredible boutique hotels to stay however, if you want one of the most unique design hotel in Imerovigli then Vora Villas is the one for you. Designed by Athens based K-Studio, Vora Villas offers only three rooms ( soon a fourth one) . The renovation of the original cave-villa retains its characteristic layout, of three rooms that move in succession deeper into the volcanic rock.
“The 2 driving forces behind our concept were the volcanic rock and the traditional local vernacular. We wanted to reveal and control the drama and thrill of the site whilst securing guests with comfort, privacy and a relaxed lifestyle. We worked with the natural volcanic rock to cut routes through the site and to retain its boundaries and with charred wood and blackened gun-metal to highlight the power of nature within the villas” says the architectural team.
The guest rooms of this resort are 3 unique and entirely separated villas that bring together newly built villas with an older traditional dwelling. The first, at the top of the site, is a renovated authentic cave house, typical of the local vernacular. Entering the house from the cave opening the first space is light-filled with spectacular views of what remains of the original crater of Santorini’s volcano. The second space, further into the cave, is cooler and darker offering respite from the heat of the summer outside. The third space, pushed far back into the rock of the mountain is serenely cool and tranquil, a total retreat.
The second and third villas are new buildings formed by the sharp cuts of the path slicing its way down through the site. Sitting adjacent to each other and below the cave, they each split the traditionally linear layout of the first villa, stacking one half above the other. This allows the rare luxury of natural and light and breath-taking views from both the lounge and bedroom spaces and also increases the usable space of each villa. Angled away from each other and towards unique and specific views, the villas are totally separated and enjoy full privacy.
Literally carved out of the mountain the curves of the vaulted ceilings soften the shadows, removing sharp lines and blending it into the darker space towards the back of the plan. In the new villas set below a more contemporary layout maximises light and takes full advantage of the view by splitting the bedrooms and shifting them below the living spaces. Angled away from each other and separated by the main path, guests enjoy their unique viewpoint in total privacy.
Important note from the Editor :
I am mentioning privacy a lot because I cannot stress this enough…unfortunately Santorini on its whole is NOT a private island. Because of its unique terrain all the houses, restaurants, cafes and hotels are built one on top of each other almost, with small stairs leading from the road downwards. This is exactly what gives that spectacular Santorini landscape but at the same time, it devoids almost everything from privacy. You can be sure you will be walking right next to swimming pools of hotels with guests lounging 20cm next to the main path, your neighbors are most definitely not only watching you when you are out but almost every tourist that walks randomly to get to their way as well. When renting a hotel/villa, be very careful when you have your own pool but prices are the same as rooms with no pools in other hotels. This means that the pool is literally on the street almost. When a hotel offers privacy in Santorini, it is a big deal. In an island that never sleeps during summer, where the streets are so full you think there must be a concert happening, being able to relax at your hotel is something priceless. To be able to go out in your veranda with no prying eyes, without wondering who will step right next to you when you enjoy valuable time in the pool watching the sunset, to be able to find a haven inside a very populated tourist gathering, for me it is the difference between going somewhere or choosing another place completely. Vora Villas is not only a stunningly beautiful hotel but also offers this unique privacy, and believe me, it is worth it.
// Photography via K-Studio | Photography by Ståle Eriksen