Many locales purport to be the most beautiful spot on earth, and Santorini—with its sun-bleached houses, blue-domed churches, and breathtaking views—can certainly throw its hat in for the title. And there is no better perch from which to appreciate the sublime natural splendor of the island than at Vora, which has been painstakingly carved into the cliff face of Santorini’s caldera. Hand-built over a period of four years—the position of the site made it inaccessible to construction machinery—Vora’s three private villa accommodations are a lesson in minimalistic Cycladic design, defined by a chic neutral palette that is augmented by dark brown wood. A private plunge pool with each villa completes a picture that seems as impossible to create as it is perfect to experience.
Taking up the mantle from Kapsimalis Architect, progressive Athens-based design firm K-Studio were tasked with taking a seemingly inhospitable vertical landscape and crafting one-and two-story dwellings from its steep cliff face. Local press-cement construction techniques allowed for the stacking of the villas, which are rendered in white cement and dark stone to harmonize with Santorini’s distinct architectural landscape. Clean angles, strategic stairwells, and private terraces with equally sequestered pools set the scene, which provides a soothing contrast to the dramatic, craggy edges of the hotel’s cliffside location.
Ensuring that the hotel’s striking setting remains centerstage, the design concept at Vora has been conceived to frame and complement the awe-inspiring vistas. The minimal yet ultra-luxurious interiors are defined by an earthy color palette of beige, dark wood, and black, and feature a series of charming arches throughout, paying homage to the local architecture. A mix of custom-made furniture by neighboring craftspeople and K-Studio, as well as local materials such as black volcanic rock and vasaltis marble, give the spaces their unique stamp.
Overlooking the volcano with uninterrupted views of the island’s celebrated sunsets, Vora’s three villas are sublimely private. Spanning up to 145 square meters, each has a full kitchen and dining area, king-size bed complete with Tempur mattress and, of course, a spectacular infinity plunge pool. The luxurious bathrooms feature blue Gascoigne double sinks with Pierre Boon faucets, while generous showers and freestanding bathtubs soothe away any residuals of stress from everyday life. The Villa Alpha and the Villa Ro both extend across two floors, with the former boasting two verandas and a black marble bathtub next to the bed. An authentic reflection of the island’s traditional structural design, Villa Omikron is a one-level, cave-like cocoon with an extensive terrace that is perfectly placed for evening sundowners.
Set in the north of Santorini, Vora is ideally located to explore the pristine, white-washed buildings and meandering, cobble-stoned streets of the capital Fira. The hotel’s concierge team can also arrange private boat tours and yacht rentals as well as helicopter rides around the island for the consummate Santorini experience. For those guests reluctant to leave their idyllic hideaway, a private chef can be arranged to cater for the ultimate dinner date.