A Heavenly Touch of Greece in Africa
After my fabulous stay at Rio Azul it was time to head back to Vilanculos and check out Santorini for the night. I had been hearing about this Greek sounding spot in Mozambique for years through my good friend Kim Beyers. Finally, a chance to go see it and boy did it not disappoint. It truly does have a heavenly touch. I was originally a little sceptical about going to a place that has adopted a Greek style for a Mozambique destination. All doubts were erased on arrival and we were met by Norman and Lucy. The attention to detail is lavish yet unadorned.
The name Santorini fits entirely in keeping with the buildings’ bright white exteriors, blue domes and crosses. The elevated location and wide-angle views across the Indian Ocean are filled with an infinite depth of extraordinary pastel-like hues that shift between blues, warm yellows and purples throughout the day. The whole setting is set as if within an idyllic artist’s impression of some sea side utopia. The design is multifarious, meticulously created with careful detail enhancing the expansive view and ensuring lots of glorious light from all angles. So, by the time I left I was completely sold on how this Greek marriage to Mozambique has created the most tantalizing elixir.
I stayed in the Main Villa, which has five rooms, all different from one another and themed in a glorious Greek-Mozambique fusion of décor. The Main Villa has two swimming pools, a bigger one set back slightly in a pleasant courtyard and a horizon pool positioned front and centre taking in the full view across the tops of the palm trees to the ocean. Immediately impressive on arrival were the obvious commitments towards sustainability with a personalised glass water-bottle provided with my name on it and a tasteful water refilling stations (cold, room temperature and sparkling) provided in a self-service drinks and snacks area – all included in the stay.
Glass straws were also perfect for the array of health smoothies on offer. Santorini has its own veggie garden that is well maintained and contributes towards the healthy meals on offer. Lunch, dinner and breakfast were all personalised and set up in different locations. The Main Villa has so many intimate areas that it allows you to be continuously spoiled for choice. The enchantment of design at Santorini is a continuous theme throughout. Individually styled welcome letters and gifts are provided in the rooms and one can create their own menus at meal times. The standards bar imposed by the team is set very high. The time and effort made by each staff member to ensure you are taken care of in a way that makes you feel special is quite remarkable.
Having worked myself at some very boutique properties prior to starting Vayeni I can say with conviction that his is no mean feat and thus getting it right over and over again for different guests is quite an extraordinary accomplishment. The Spa was an equal delight and I was pampered to the extreme by a very experienced therapist. Fully equipped with an array of tools, rooms and treatment options this is a must-do during one’s stay.
The beach in front of Santorini is well maintained and presided over by the activity team who offer all the ocean-friendly water sports that keep you fit. It is not really possible to snorkel straight off the beach as the water depth is shallow and the tide goes out a very long way. I took a kayak and worked up a sweat paddling between the dhows anchored off shore. Santorini is also quite a spectacle from the sea, so I worked hard trying to find a good spot to take a picture, whilst bobbing up and down in the waves. I didn’t have time to do longer excursions, but fishing, snorkelling, diving and dhow cruises are all offered. We had a great discussion with some other guests from the UK that were staying at Santorini after their safari in South Africa. They went out fishing and had a fantastic time, making some big catches.
Santorini has two private villas, namely The Chapel and Villa da Praia, loacted on either side of the Main Villa. These are perfect for a family or a small group of friends. The UK guests we met were staying in Villa da Praia and happily showed us round their quarters – just as special as the Main Villa and comes with private butler and chef – not too shabby at all!!
Thank you to all the team at Santorini for making my stay a very enjoyable one. Following the short, but very sweet stay here it was time to catch the helicopter out to Benguerra island, something I had been really looking forward to. The next part of my story talks about Well-Heeled Island-Living with Azura Benguerra.