Santorini getaway carved into volcanic cliffs

Grace Santorini is an exclusive 20-room hotel carved into the cliff-face 300 meters above Santorini’s volcanic caldera. This luxury paradise has been designed by Athens-based studio Divercity Architects in collaboration with mplusm. The hotel is included in Tatler’s 2011 list of the 101 Best Hotels in the World. Located in the beautiful setting of Imerovigli in the northwest of the island, high above the Caldera, the Grace Santorini is the perfect vantage point from which to view the famed Santorini sunsets that envelop the Aegean Sea, and the Cyclades Islands. The hotel has two beautiful swimming pools including an infinity pool offering uninterrupted views.

This graceful boutique property with its individually styled suites and rooms, appeals to those seeking a relaxing and romantic escape. The Grace Santorini is the new jewel of the Greek Islands and has been named among the Top 10 Hotels for Romance in Europe in the Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice Awards 2010.

The understated design allows this extraordinary landscape to take center stage. The hotel provides a contemporary interpretation of vernacular architecture: economy of space, radical simplicity, and organic forms. Like Santorini’s yposkafa-cave-like dwellings with rounded walls and domed roofs excavated from the rock-face- no furniture is free-standing. Custom-built storage and vanity units are moulded into alcoves. All-white interiors with brushed concrete floors reiterate the trademark whitewashed houses of the Cyclades. The infinity pool’s jagged outline echoes the zigzag paths that criss-cross Santorini’s sheer terrain.

Santorini’s hotel rooms are invariably front-loaded to face the view, leaving residents exposed to passers-by. To ensure privacy, fragments of volcanic rock are positioned in the windows of four rooms, interspersed with apertures that provide glimpses to the sea. The feature echoes a local architectural technique, more commonly used for retaining walls, in which minimal amounts of mortar are used, leaving gaps between the stonework. By exposing the stones and exaggerating the spaces between them, this light-filtering screen allows privacy and ventilation and casts dappled shadows as the sun goes down.



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