Mystique Santorini (Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel): 8 Things To Know

I’ve just wrapped up a four night stay at Mystique in Santorini, which is a Starwood Luxury Collection property. I’ve been wanting to stay at this hotel for years, as it has been prominently featured on the spg.com homepage, and always looked so beautiful.

I’ve shared my general thoughts on visiting Santorini, and while I’ll have a full review of the hotel, several of you have asked if I could share my initial thoughts, so I wanted to do that in this post.

Redeeming points at Mystique is expensive

Mystique is considered a specialty property, and as a result redeeming points here is outrageously expensive. That’s because the hotel technically doesn’t have any standard rooms, meaning that you’ll be charged twice as many points as usual. The cheapest rooms here go for 60,000 Starpoints per night, and you can get a fifth night free on award redemptions. We’ll have to see how those rates change in August, when Marriott’s new loyalty program kicks in.

I value Starpoints at 2.2 cents each, so to me 60,000 Starpoints are worth ~$1,320. Redeeming points here will rarely be a great value, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t — a lot of people want to stay here but can’t justify spending the cash, and in those cases it could make sense to redeem points.

Personally I booked using the Citi Prestige fourth night free benefit.

The hotel is open seasonally, and rates vary greatly

Most of the Greek Islands are seasonal, and that’s also true of Mystique. For example, this year the resort closes on November 4, and then it won’t open again until the late spring. Obviously July and August are going to be the busiest periods at the hotel, and the rates reflect that.

So rates here are never cheap, but base rooms range from under 400EUR per night to over 1,000EUR per night, so there’s a huge variance.

Perhaps I’m crazy, but personally I’d love to return in the off season. I’m sure the island in general will be much quieter, and the temperatures during the day are probably better as well. The downside is that not everywhere will be open, and it will probably get quite cold in the mornings and at night.

You don’t stay here for the rooms

You don’t stay at Mystique for the rooms. They’re… fine. The smallest room is like a junior suite, and the decor is very basic. There are some charming Greek design elements, but overall I think they could do a bit more with the rooms.

However, they’re also built into the side of what’s possibly Greece’s most recognizable and picturesque hill, so they can get away with it. Each room does have a beautiful balcony looking out over the water, which is the main draw of these rooms.

Just be aware that they don’t have much privacy, given they’re all in close proximity and on top of one another (in the case of our room, we had to hear all the dirty talk the people on the balcony below us had prior to going inside to do the deed).

A bathroom designed by Satan himself

While I thought the room itself was fine, the bathroom was hands down the worst bathroom I’ve ever had in a hotel room. Period. We were in an Allure Suite, which the website said had a “private jacuzzi.” Best case scenario I figured we’d have a nice jacuzzi on our balcony, worst case scenario I figured we’d have a big soaking tub that they were calling a jacuzzi.

As it turns out, that wasn’t actually the worst case scenario. The worst case scenario is actually that they have something that looks like it should be an outdoor hot tub in your bathroom.

Why is this so bad? Because your bathroom is always 100 degrees. When we arrived in the room they informed us the door had just been painted, and I imagine that has to be done after every stay.

This is what the bathroom door handle always looked like:

And this is what the shower always looked like, even when not showering:

It’s very tough to put cream on your face (or anything) when it’s literally a moist 100 degrees in the bathroom. It’s tough to even dry off in the bathroom, because it’s so damn hot. Maybe I’m way off base here, but I just thought this was awful.

In fairness, in retrospect I realize we could have probably requested that they drain the jacuzzi, but that didn’t occur to me till the end of the stay.

Service is spectacular (especially from Alexandra)

This is what impressed me most about the hotel. This hotel has a pretty captive audience, and given that they have seasonal labor, I was expecting service would just be alright. Nope. Service was absolutely top notch. This was especially true at the restaurants. They remembered preferences, and couldn’t have been kinder and more attentive.

A special shout out to Alexandra in the restaurant. The way she interacted with every guest and made them feel special really isn’t something you see very often in hospitality.

On our last morning I said to Ford “she is providing Aman levels of service” (which is the highest compliment I could possibly give for hotel customer service), and literally an hour later we found out that she actually worked at Amanzoe in the past. Makes sense!

But seriously, service here not only won’t disappoint, but will delight.

Breakfast is incredible

I love a good hotel breakfast, but this hotel has the best breakfast I’ve had in recent memory. Breakfast is completely a la carte, and can be had via room service or in the hotel’s beautiful outdoor restaurant (either is included — personally we always went to the restaurant).

Everything on the menu was excellent, and I especially loved the Greek options, ranging from a Greek omelet to Greek pancakes to all kinds of other things. Breakfast was a feast, and they always encouraged us to order more and more and more.

The drinks were amazing as well, ranging from iced cappuccinos to freshly squeezed juices.

Having spent thousands of nights in hotels I’ve become pretty jaded when it comes to hotel breakfasts, but this is my favorites in recent memory.

Food & beverage prices are reasonable

Not only does the hotel have excellent food, but I found the prices to be reasonable as well. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not cheap, but many hotels that charge 1,000EUR per night also charge obscene amounts for food and drinks (I’m looking at you Cala di Volpe, and your 100EUR+ per person lunches, not including drinks).

But expect 10-15EUR appetizers, 15-30EUR main courses, etc., and that includes Greece’s hefty 24% VAT.

The hotel is in the most beautiful (and touristy) part of Santorini

I hinted at this in my previous post. Mystique is in Oia, the most picturesque part of Santorini. On one hand it’s really cool to stay right in the heart of that, while on the other hand it also means you’re in one of the most touristy areas, and it won’t feel terribly relaxing or secluded.

So you want to see this area for sure, but by my fourth day I was ready to get out of there and stay somewhere else quieter.

I’d say the ideal solution is to maybe spend a couple of nights here, and then spend the rest of your time at Vedema, the other Starwood property on the other side of the island. This is a much quieter area, and the hotel is also quite a bit cheaper.

At the same time, the issue is that many of us score the best deals by staying 4-5 nights. I made a Citi Prestige fourth night free booking. So if my preference were otherwise to stay just two nights, the reality is that I’m getting a “buy one get one free” on the third and fourth night, and that’s a deal.

Bottom line

While I’ll have a full trip report soon, I think the above sums up my basic thoughts on Mystique. The hotel has an iconic location, but that also comes with the downside of having tons of tourists. The rooms at the hotel aren’t impressive, while the views are great, the food is excellent, and the service is exceptional.

I’m really happy to have stayed here, and would recommend the hotel, but I’m not sure I’d return. That’s simply because I think staying in Oia is a “been there, done that” thing. It’s beautiful, it’s touristy, and I don’t need to return. I just hope I run into Alexandra again at another hotel in Greece at some point, because she was such a gem.

Comments

  1. Given that you referenced the Amanzoe in this post, and there is no review of this up here on the blog, would you ever consider staying at the Amanzoe in the future?

  2. I came so close to booking Mystique on a very recent trip to Santorini, but my partner liked the look of another hotel in Oia instead. I really appreciate your review, because it confirms that I think we made a mistake and should have gone with Mystique!

  3. Geez if this one of Santorini’s best hotels then im not sure it makes my list. The exterior and views look nice but damn how basic and lackluster can the room be!? Wow i seen college dorms look nicer than that room.

  4. Based on what you show in this SPG property, I think AirBnBs (or the like) are the way to go in Santorini. We stayed at an AirBnB called 2BR Villa Aesthesis and it had multiple hot pools overlooking the caldera….it was glorious!!!! Our sunsets were spent chilling in the hot pool with a few bottles of local wine. We even did a cool timelapse video of one of the sunsets (see my IG @atcanobbio) Oh man, just looking at that vid, makes me wanna go back again.

    I went to Santorini last year mid March and I think it’s the best time to go since it’s way way less crowded. We even rented a car to explore the island and that was a breeze since the streets were not crowded at all with people and/or tour buses. Weather then is not too warm or cold. It was about high 60s low 70s when we were there…thankfully it didn’t rain. It would get a little chilly at night. Pretty much like LA spring time weather where it can feel warm when the sun is out but a little chilly at night of when you’re in the shade.

  5. I cannot imagine spending money in this dump… you’re a sucker for advertised luxury! 🙂

  6. Ben,

    I cannot believe Alexandra still works there! She was amazing during my visit 6 years ago!

    She was a game changer for me, as I had been receiving an absolute lackluster service from the young guys in the restaurant and bar. So she decided to chat me up and enquire about my travels and personal life, and she was quite relieved when I told her that I was travelling with my sister. It turned out all the guys were mad thinking I was just using her as my beard. She made called them out to explain that it was all a big misunderstanding and that they should behave – I was treated like a King after that.

  7. Nice job lucky. Better write a note about Alexandra to the management.

    Else, your sentiment has no meaning. Like I could deeply support gay rights but always vote for who people who don’t care about them. See? Just thinking means nothing.

  8. I enviously eyed off this property when I was in Santorini but to be honest I feel like I dodged a bullet when I read your review. A nice breakfast and good service would not cancel out that room for me, and the cost is so high! Honestly our AirBnb was much cheaper and in most regards better. Look forward to reading the full review!

  9. Was the bathroom not air conditioned? Was there a separate shower or its there just the tub?

  10. From someone who has been there done that in Sanotini a few times I really wish you had skipped the SPG hotels and stayed at one of the iconic hotels in Oia liek Katikes, Perivolas or Canaves. But also in general avoided the 5 cruise ship a day crowds, you went at a crazy time. Early may or late September is the best time and the weather is perfect!

  11. I stayed here last summer. Split 2 days in Oia at Mystique and 2 at a place called Honeymoon Villas (yes, the name is unfortunate) in Fira. To my surprise, we easily enjoyed Honeymoon Villas more.

    Lucky is correct though. The breakfast is amongst the best I’ve had. Add the view and it’s a spectacular start to your day. The rooms are completely average and bizarrely designed. I would add that the pool, while having a ridiculous view, is quite small and if there’s more than 3 people there, it will feel crowded. Yes, the service is Park Hyatt/St. Regis level.

    I have to echo the others on here who have suggested AirBnB. We found Honeymoon Villas on there and for 450 euros a night (vs. 900 Euro when we stayed at Mystique), we had an excellent (just not as excellent as Mystique) breakfast, with equally good service. The pool was so much nicer and the general location was more peaceful and comfortable.

    I have to imagine there’s other good smaller places like Honeymoon Villas available through AirBnB. Mystique is truly top notch in terms of service, view and food, but the markup can’t be justified in my book. You can get slightly less good food and service (with equally good view and better rooms) for half the price elsewhere.

  12. Were you able to view any of the other rooms? Our experience with specialty hotels like Mystique is that there can be a huge variance in different room types. I’m hoping that is true because we booked a special suite for our stay. You really confirmed our instinct which was to visit off season (we will be there during October) It should make the area more fun to visit.
    Thanks for the update.

  13. My niece and I almost booked that hotel, but due to the price, lack of privacy or rather neighbors, just a little bit too close, we chose another SPG property on Crete. The Blue Palace. It sat just a couple minutes down the road from a very cute little town called Plaka where we ate every night. The Blue Palace’s facade, view, and pools were outstanding. The service was good, but not exceptional. And the breakfast buffet in a darkened restaurant was Sheraton style at best. We shared a greek salad, which was delicious, every day at lunch by the pool . There were plenty of tourists, but the swimming pools were huge, and never overly populated when we were swimming and there were tons of lounge chairs. I would stay there again in a heartbeat as the rooms were huge, had great views and were decently priced in August. Thanks for your review of the Mystique. When we go back, you have made it easier for us to pick another hotel on Santorini.

  14. I think a lot of people here fail to realize how much prices jump in Santorini(and a lot of Greece, especially Mykonos) during the summer months. In Santorini you might find a room for a 50-70% discount compared to the high season months.

  15. My husband and I are SPG loyalists and we made the decision to stay at SPG’s other Luxury property Vedemma in the quieter part of the island. We were so happy with the Vedemma and also spent less points for 3 nights than 1 night for the Mystique. We went to Oia for the day and visited the property. After 1 day in Oia during peak season we couldn’t wait to get out. It was packed and we were even happier with our decision to stay at the Vedemma.

  16. Traveling off-season is a no-brainer. Other than for those with fixed vacation times, eg teachers, why would anyone choose to be in Europe from mid-June to mid-September. Folly.
    Yes, the island resorts close but mainland Greece is open, less crowded, cheaper and far from cold. Same for Turkey, Italy , Spain, Portugal and most other places. Even Venice is more accessible.
    We’re conditioned to believe that Europe is best in Spring and Summer; my favourite time is autumn and winter.

  17. Santorini is pure hell and the worst of the tourist traps. Only benefit is the airport so you can fly in from Athens and cut down the ferry trip time to other islands .View santorini from the ferry on the way to IOS or Crete. Flying in in 2 weeks and straight to the port to get to IOS . Thinking you experienced Greece by being there is fooling your self. Non of the food in your pictures I recognize as authentic Greek. I think you can have that Greek salad at your nearest mall food court.

  18. We stayed at “West East Suites” outside of Imerovigli. Prestige 4th night free booking a few years ago. Super quiet, great price, private pools. Only 16 rooms or so. Hate to hear that you spent so much money and stayed at the overpriced superchain properties there. Santorini is not a place to use points well.

  19. Partner and I are spg loyalist and looked at mystique but ruled it out from the get go, seemed insane. The other property felt like it would be a let down without the caldera view considering it’s our first time and still expensive. So…since we decided not to spend $1,000 a night, and we weren’t getting any points with any brand, we decided to risk it and go cheap and found a small hotel in Fira with a balcony and great view of the caldera and Oia in the distance. Not expecting much in way of service (though it gets great reviews), but at 25% of the cost, I don’t really care haha. We’re paying for the view and watching the sunset. Your review makes me feel better about our decision, considering the price difference. We actually ended up paying more for our hotel on Milos. Using points at King George in Athens which seemed like a steal compared to its neighbor. Look forward to reading more as always!

  20. What about the neighbourhood?

    Are there Shops / Restaurants nearby as you you may also to dine outside?

    Is it possible to walk around – but not on a main street?

  21. Thank you for your review of this property. Wife and I are SPG loyalists and visited Santorini on our honeymoon last August. Strongly considered staying at Mystique and almost felt guilty not booking here knowing how we tend to seek out SPG properties, but your review confirmed we made the right choice in skipping this one. As others have mentioned, great customer service and a nice breakfast do not make up for such a lackluster room when spending $1,000+ or 60K points per night.

    We spent 4 nights in Oia at Charisma Suites and 2 nights in Imerovigli at Grace Hotel and found exceptional service, great breakfasts and wonderful rooms at both properties.

  22. For those considering Vedema, I can confirm that it was indeed
    awesome. Beautiful property, set in a small Greek village, nice breakfast and pool. There is a shuttle that takes you to to Fira and the beach, so a car is not strictly necessary.

  23. I agree Oia is too touristic, we learned that on our first trip to
    Santorini. On our second trip to Santorini, we stayed at Anastasis in Imeroglivi (right outside Imeroglivi center), which was rank the number 2 hotel in the world on tripadvisor few years back, and still the number one hotel in Santorini. We had amazing privacy on our terrace even in late August/early September during peak season, Imeroglivi is the highest point on the island and has direct sunset view which Oia lacks, and you don’t have tourists walking all over within 50 ft of your suite. There is a row of ultra luxury hotels in Imeroglivi that all provide excellent privacy and amazing sunset view. I would recommend you staying in that location next time.

  24. I’m surprised that one of your “Things to Know” wasn’t that there are a ton of stairs to navigate at the property. We didn’t have any issues but that seems to be the most common complaint I have read about the hotel in reviews. What people don’t understand is that stairs are part of any nice property in Oia.

    As for all the comments about the basic rooms…people go there for the views and not the rooms. Again…virtually all the nice hotels have pretty basic rooms.

  25. 60K SPG points for this is way over-priced! You can get better villa w bigger actual swimming pool 1/3 the cash cost except the view which you would go to Oia for that..

  26. I stayed at its once-sister property, 160 Thea, which was just next door about 5 years ago. There’s a lot of similarity between the 2 hotels, but because 160 Thea did not have its own pool and restaurant and instead rely on Mystique’s, it was rated as only a 2-star hotel and was priced significantly lower. What surprised me was that the room and bathroom was quite a bit nicer with our own private outdoor Jacuzzi on the balcony. Sadly, for whatever reason (probably cos it was cannibalizing on Mystique’s sales) 160 Thea seemed to have closed for good.

  27. Im here at canaves hotel as we speak..i can see the mystique pool from here..canaves appears the way to go.

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