At a Glance
Originally a private home, this white-washed luxury boutique hotel is the only five-star option on Mozambique's mainland with a unique design and vibe and stellar personalized service.
- The breathtaking 180-degree views of the Bazaruto Archipelago
- The private two- and three-bedroom villas: The Chapel and Villa de Praia
- The extremely personalized service and unique meal set-ups
Perched on a bluff with breathtaking views over the Bazaruto Archipelago, Santorini was originally a private home built by an architect and designer couple who were inspired by the iconic white-washed village in Greece with the same name. And just as the Mediterranean Sea contrasts with Greece's Santorini, so does the turquoise Indian Ocean with this hidden Mozambican gem.
The main villa was transformed from a private home into a charming boutique hotel with five rooms and plentiful public spaces, in 2013, along with the first private two-bedroom villa, The Chapel. Since then, they have added an additional three-bedroom villa called Villa de Praia. Given the hotel’s small size, personalized service and relaxed feel, Santorini maintains its original vibe and feels more like a worldly friend’s private villa compound than a hotel. There is no reception area nor a restaurant (although that’s likely to change in the future) and guests enter the hotel through a courtyard with a pool and large dining nook.
Beyond the pool lie stairs that lead up to a lounge and bar area, a breezy high-ceilinged open-air living room, elevated dining area, small infinity pool and a walk-in kitchen–all with sparkling ocean views. The main villa’s five rooms are spread throughout and vary in size, layout and ocean view. While some are smaller than others, for those staying in the main villa, most time on-property is spent under a beach cabana, out on an activity, or finding an undiscovered shady nook to cozy up in with a book.
For families (the main villa only accepts kids aged 13 years or older) and those looking for maximum privacy, Santorini’s two private villas—The Chapel (2-bedrooms) and Villa de Praia (3-bedrooms)–are ideal. Both are beautiful and spacious with living spaces with high ceilings, kitchens, large outdoor decks, pools, indoor and outdoor showers and their own chef and butler. While the private villa guests are welcome anywhere on property, they tend to settle in at their villas when not at the beach or out on activity.
All of Santorini’s accommodations are relaxed yet refined and decorated with a unifying palette of lightly colored woods and linens and occasional pops of rich color. Gorgeous global accents abound such as Balinese carved doors, South African-sourced linens, antiques and elements of the natural world such as shells and starfish, whale bones and driftwood sculptures.
Given Santorini’s extensive on-site produce and herb gardens, the food is very fresh and the menu changes daily, with a focus on their home-grown natural produce and locally caught seafood, although meat and vegetarian options are available based on guests’s preferences. Since there is no restaurant at Santorini, each meal is served in uniquely different spots on-property (of which there are many), making every meal feel like its own a special surprise.
And while posting up at a villa or on the beach can be tempting, there are a number of activities on offer that tempt guests away from their loungers. The highlight activity is a full-day boat excursion on one of Santorini’s three motorized boats (one of which is a 37-foot Super Catamaran) that includes snorkeling, island exploration and a beach picnic. In addition, there is a late afternoon Vilankulos town tour, a sunset dhow cruise, horse-back riding and various beach sports, ocean watersports, deep-sea fishing and scuba diving.
The spa is one large, serene treatment room. While there is no gym, baskets with yoga mats, fit balls, jump rope and light weights are available as well as access to a gym a 10-minute drive away.
Who Should Stay
Honeymooners and couples looking for maximum privacy, families wanting to rent a villa and anyone who loves boutique hotels and appreciates a singular, personalized experience over being steps away from the beach. For those coming from safari, Santorini will feel refreshingly different from any safari lodge.
Who Should Not Stay
Given the property’s gorgeous elevated location, the beach is a windy pathway and 50 stairs away from the main villa, which may present challenges for children and those with mobility concerns. In addition, the main villa has a lot of stairs.
Indagare Tip: Stays of three or more nights include the full-day boat excursion and Vilankulos town tour–both are great ways to immerse yourself in the Mozambican way of life and culture.
Written by Rose Allen