We stayed in a Santorini cave with Blue Villas Collection! Ikastikies Suites, luxury villa vacation rentals in Greece.
Ah, take me back to Santorini!
Imagine waking up in a luxurious cave villa… walking out to a private patio with this view of the cliffs… and then digging into a hand-delivered local breakfast.
That was my life for a sweet moment in time, thanks to the outstanding team at Blue Villas Collection!
As you’ll see in this photo diary, they went above and beyond to ensure we had the best possible stay in gorgeous Santorini.
I’ve always wanted to stay in a classic Greek home, but wasn’t sure how to find the right accommodations. Thankfully, Blue Villas works with over 200 luxury rentals on four Greek islands, hand-picking only the best hosts.
My lovely concierge took the time to get to know my interests (modern design, young local culture, photography), and paired me with the perfect Santorini stay — the cave-like Ikastikies Elegant Suites!
The 5-star service began from the moment we arrived. Our concierge, Amanda, personally picked us up and took us to several insider locations on the island — including a Cretan bakery and scenic spots.
Then, she drove us to Firostefani (north of Fira), and helped us get settled into our dream vacation home. (All photos by Joey Wong).
Amanda introduced us to George, owner of Ikastikies Suites. He designed the four villas himself and runs them as a family operation.
As you can see, Blue Villas Collection is all about creating personalized, tailor-made holidays for clients. They gracefully take care of all the logistics, and offer the concierge services of a top hotel.
Ikastikies had everything I dreamed of. We had the home to ourselves, with our own private pool, and landing with a brilliant view of the water.
Every morning, I had “me-time” out on the edge, with my cup of coffee. I could look out at the Aegean Sea and cliffs for hours…
… but I loved spending time inside as well, lounging in the fluffy beds and soaking in the giant Jacuzzi bathtub.
The design is a modern take on the island’s traditional cave homes, which were carved into the caldera (volcanic cliffs).
Taking inspiration, Ikastikies Suites feels like a cozy white cave, filled with light. The rooms have elegant curving lines, highlighted with minimalist accents.
Natural accents like the seahorse statue and coffee table add to the Mediterranean island vibe.
I’ve stayed in a lot of unique boutique hotels worldwide — but this Santorini cave villa captured my imagination!
Every time I woke up and saw this glowing circle next to my bed, I imagined that aliens had transported me to outer space.
Our Ikastikes cave home had everything we needed for a relaxing holiday, including a full kitchen, two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
I felt utterly relaxed here, thanks to the kindness of George and Amanda. Booking with Blue Villas Collection made our stay far more special than if we had blindly chosen a rental, as their arrangements were tailored exactly to our needs.
Next time I’m in Greece, I’ll be sure to reach out again: BlueVillas has over 200 stunning properties on the Greek islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, and Crete.
Our concierge, Amanda, took care of every detail so that we’d get the most out of our experience.
She knew we loved to shoot travel photos, so she drove us to Santo Winery.
Once again, I got a science-fiction feeling from this door that seems to open into space.
Amanda also suggested that we stop by Perissa Beach, and her recommendation was spot-on. I felt so tiny, standing next to the towering Mesa Vouno rock.
Located on southeast Santorini, Perissa beach features crystalline waters and black sand (quite fitting for a Goth!)
I like to wear outfits that match my destinations: hence the blue clothing, and a white ribbon in my ponytail.
We couldn’t have found a better spot for photos — such an interesting texture on the rock wall, contrasted with the clear waves and dark sand.
Perissa is also one of the best-protected beaches from the wild Aegean winds, as it lies right next to the Profitis Ilias mountain.
Anyone can come to Santorini’s major beaches for free, and chill on the sand or at the waterfront cafe.
In the distance, you can see the Church of Holy Cross, painted in the traditional Cycladic white with a blue dome.
– I’m wearing hand-crafted wooden sunglasses by Moat House. I get so many compliments on these, and the pink polarized cat-eye frames are made for my face.
– My studded blue leather jacket is one of my wardrobe staples (no, I’m not selling everything I own… only most of it!). It’s from the Bauhaus store in Hong Kong and no longer available, but similar to this Acne blue biker jacket.
Santorini has a bus system that lets you ride to and from the various beaches for less than 2 Euro. However, the locations can be quite spread out, and the public transport routes don’t connect (meaning you’d have to return to the main terminal, then hop onto a different one).
Thanks to Amanda, who guided us around by car, we were able to see several places within a few hours.
Between excursions, I loved the secluded feeling of our villa. Such a pleasing contrast to a large hotel and group buffet meals.
Every morning, we phoned the Ikatikies Suites staff — and they hand-carried over a tray laden with delights, fresh from the local market and bakery.
If only I could have breakfast like this every day, enjoying the sunshine and view from the patio.
Everything was prepared fresh for us. I ate up every last drop of the Greek yogurt, with local honey and orange marmalade.
Blue Villas can arrange for dinners to be delivered as well, and services such as wellness, gastronomy and sailing.
Joey and I came to Santorini right before the start of the tourist season (late March — most villas and restaurants don’t open til April 1st).
If you’re keen on avoiding the crowds, we recommend coming here in the off-season. The weather can still be a bit cool in late March, but we had clear skies and plenty of sunlight.
The conditions were great for photography; nice to feel as if we were alone on this beautiful Greek island.
When I first researched villas, I was dismayed to find that many were not open yet (as the season hadn’t started), and that our selection was limited.
Fortunately, Blue Villas Collection took care of us. They have personally vetted over a hundred properties in Santorini, and introduced us to Ikastikies Luxury Suites.
Our villa is located at one of the most beautiful spots on the isle: Firostefani. The quiet village lies between Fira and Imerovigli, and has magnificent views of the Caldera and sunset.
Talk about a picture-perfect patio. (I’m wearing a bleeding mummy bandage dress by Black Milk Clothing — a limited edition Halloween release.)
I loved being surrounded by the traditional architecture of Cyclades, characterised by narrow cobblestone paths, whitewashed houses and volcanic cliffs.
Ever wonder why Santorini homes are white, with touches of blue? Historically, locals added a bit of blue to the “sovas” (white layer of plaster) to avoid having it look too bright under the sun. The shades also mimic the Greek flag, and were compulsory during the rule of Metaxas (1936-41).
Although the architecture has a historic basis, the effect is ultra-modern, with echoes of the Avant Garde movement and architects like Le Corbusier.
The quality of light is beyond compare. When the sun sets over the Aegean and caldera… ahhh.
From our villa, it was a short and easy walk to the main village of Fira (or Thera). We often went there for dinner and snacks (try the spanakopita from Svoronos Bakery, and tsipouros anise liquor, sardines and risotto at Tsipouradiko Santorinis).
From Fira, you can also descend the Karavolades Stairs, which take you down the 400 meter high caldera cliffs.
Photographer Joey Wong trekked down the 588 stairs, which opens into the Old Port of Ormos Firon. There’s a cable car option, but it was closed by the time he reached the coast… so he had to walk all the way back up.
If you’re not keen on a “stairmaster” workout, you could also ride up and down the steps on a donkey.
As for me — I descended about halfway, then went back up to eat dark chocolate gelato.
Despite the futuristic feeling, Santorini’s earliest settlements trace back to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC.
The islanders built their “yposkafos” houses right into the volcanic rock — creating villages nestled into the cliffs. When night falls, the view is mesmerizing.
Santorini has a long history with many different rulers through the ages, including the Phoenicians and Byzantine Empire. The Italians and Germans occupied the island during WWII, and it suffered a devastating earthquake in 1956.
However, from the 1970s onward, Santorini became known as a luxurious getaway spot — and is one of the most popular Greek islands for vacationers today.
Whether you’re here for a honeymoon, family trip, or Gothic adventures… this island has something for everyone to enjoy.
A million thank yous to Blue Villas Collection, for the sublime hospitality and memories!
Reach out to them if you’re traveling to Greece (Paros, Crete, Mykonos, Santorini), and looking for a perfectly tailored vacation. And check out Ikastikies Suites in Santorini, for a 5-star stay with a friendly owner.
I know I’ll be staying with them again, as I’m keen to see more of Greece. (You can find more info about Athens and other cities at DiscoverGreece.com.)
Is Santorini one of your dream destinations as well?
Coming up soon, I’ll share our sailing trip, and more photoshoots on the beaches!