Review: Mystique Santorini Hotel

Introduction: The Very Long Way To Italy & Greece
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Review: Le Meridien Dubai (Emirates Dubai Connect Hotel)
Review: Emirates A380 First Class Dubai To Milan
Review: Park Hyatt Milan
Review: EasyJet A320 Milan To Santorini
Review: Mystique Santorini Hotel
Review: Amanzoe Pool Pavilion
Review: Amanzoe Dining & Activities
Review: Sofitel Athens Airport
Review: Emirates Lounge Milan Airport
Review: Dubai International Airport Hotel


Hotel Reviews Art

Booking Mystique Santorini

I’ve wanted to stay at Mystique for years, which is a Starwood Luxury Collection property. I first learned about the hotel because it used to be featured on SPG’s homepage all the day, given how picturesque it is.

The catch is that Mystique has limited participation in the SPG property. Since this property doesn’t technically have any standard rooms (it’s considered an all-suite property), the award pricing has been up to double as high as SPG’s standard room reward costs. Up until now, a free night redemption at Mystique has cost 60,000 Starpoints per night, which is outrageously expensive.

I value Starpoints at 2.2 cents each, so to me that’s like paying $1,320+ per night here if redeeming points, which isn’t worth it.

The great news is that starting August 18, 2018 (when Marriott’s new program kicks in), you’ll be able to book free nights here for just 60,000 Marriott points per night (the equivalent of 20,000 Starpoints per night), plus you can get the fifth night free. That will be an excellent use of points.

For bookings made starting in 2019, the hotel will cost up to 85,000 points per night. That’s because at that point Category 8 pricing, as well as peak and off-peak pricing, will kick in.

So those booking this property in the future will have access to much better deals than what we had access to.

Given the high cost in Starpoints for a redemption, we ended up paying cash for our four night stay, and used the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free benefit. Our rate was 700EUR per night, and then the cost of the fourth night of our stay was reimbursed.

Obviously this is a lot to spend on a hotel, though Santorini in summer is really expensive, and this is known to be one of the island’s best hotels, so it seemed worth it. At least the fourth night free took some sting out of it.

If you are paying cash, do note that rates at the hotel are highly seasonal. The hotel opens in the spring and stays open through November, and nightly rates range from roughly 400EUR per night to 1,000EUR per night.

Mystique Santorini location

Mystique is built into the side of the iconic Caldera cliffs in the town of Oia. If you’ve ever seen a picture of Santorini, this is probably what you saw.


Oia, Santorini


Oia, Santorini

This area is unarguably Santorini’s biggest tourist hotspot, and staying right in the middle of that is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because the view is so spectacular, and the town really is cute.


Oia, Santorini

It’s also a bit of a curse, though, because the area is so overrun with tourists. Santorini in general is super touristy in summer, but Oia almost feels like Disney World. That takes some of the charm out of being in this area.


Touristy Oia

So while I think being able to spend a couple of nights in Oia is great, I sort of regret spending four nights here. I’d probably recommend 2-3 nights at most in Oia, and would spend the rest of my time at Vedema, the Starwood property on the other side of the island. That area was so cute and quiet by comparison.

The drive from Santorini Airport to Mystique took about 30 minutes; by comparison, going from one end of the island to the other takes just over 45 minutes.

Mystique Santorini Allure Suite review

Our flight landed in Santorini at around 11AM, so we got to the hotel shortly before noon. The first thing to know about Mystique is that the hotel has lots of stairs. Lots and lots and lots of stairs. I saw some online reviews complaining about this, and while I get it can be tough for those with mobility challenges, I’d expect that for a hotel built into a cliff.

Stairs to Mystique Santorini

Fortunately the hotel had bellmen on street level, who would help with carrying bags up and down the stairs. Mystique is a short walk down a set of stairs, as there are a bunch of villas and other hotels in the same area as well.


Entrance to Mystique Santorini

As you’d expect, Mystique doesn’t feel like any other Starwood property out there. The reception area was small, and there the friendly associate checking us in went through all the restaurant reservations we had made for our stay, and provided some tips about the island.


Mystique Santorini front office


Mystique Santorini front office

Our room wasn’t quite ready yet, though it was ready by 2PM. In the meantime we had lunch and were also given a tour of the hotel. We were assigned room #8, which was an Allure Suite (the hotel has 39 rooms). This suite was right across from reception, and the first room once you walk into the area that the hotel takes up. Note that all cobblestone paths are actually public, so you’ll see people walking up and down them.


Mystique Santorini room exterior

The highlight of the room was the beautiful patio in front of the room, which had a table with two chairs, as well as two sun beds. I spent a couple of hours a day sitting here and working while enjoying the views.


Mystique Santorini room patio


Mystique Santorini room patio


Mystique Santorini room view

The room itself was definitely on the large side given that space comes at a premium in the side of cliff. Every room here is going to be slightly different, so even if you get the same room type, it might not look exactly like the one I got.

The suite had a living area with a couch. I felt like this area was sparsely furnished, and could have maybe used a couple of chairs and maybe some art on the walls.


Mystique Santorini Allure Suite living area


Mystique Santorini Allure Suite living area

Not that I’m coming to Santorini to watch TV, but I thought the TV was very oddly placed, as it wasn’t directly across from anything. You’d either be viewing TV at about a 45 degree angle from the couch, or you’d have to stand to watch.

Waiting for us in the room was a lovely welcome amenity, including a bottle of local wine (I really grew to love Santorini’s assyrtiko wine), fresh fruit, and some veggies and breadsticks.


Mystique Santorini Allure Suite TV & living area

Underneath this was the minibar as well as a coffee machine.


Mystique Santorini in-room minibar


Mystique Santorini in-room minibar


Mystique Santorini in-room coffee machine

Separating the living area from the sleeping area was a cool light fixture with some wood.


Mystique Santorini Allure Suite living area

The bed was comfortable, and I thought the design of the bed frame was cute.


Mystique Santorini Allure Suite bedroom


Mystique Santorini Allure Suite bedroom

Before I talk about the bathroom, let me say that overall the room disappointed me a bit. It wasn’t bad, or anything, but for the prices they were charging I felt like it could have been a bit more luxurious. I get that this is built into the side of a cliff, but it all felt a bit too Flintstones-like for me. I felt like a bit more furniture and maybe some art would have gone a long way.

For examples, one of the hotels next to Mystique (which is priced comparably) is Canaves Oia, and based on the pictures, the rooms look more tasteful while still feeling authentic to where they are.

Now let me get to the part of the room that made me say “what on earth were they thinking?” The Allure Suites have “indoor jacuzzi bathtubs,” which are described on their website as “a wonderful treat.” I’m going to have to disagree on that.

I figured they just had a big soaking tub with some jets that you could fill up on demand, but no, the bathroom has an actual jacuzzi with water in it that’s 100 degrees.


Mystique Santorini Allure Suite jacuzzi

You may be thinking to yourself “that sounds lovely.” Let me tell you… no.

First of all, I’m not coming to Santorini to sit in an indoor jacuzzi, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that because of this jacuzzi, the entire bathroom was always about a hundred degrees. It’s extremely unpleasant to do anything in the bathroom in those types of temperatures.

The door handle and shower door always had this much moisture.


Mystique Santorini Allure Suite bathroom moisture


Mystique Santorini Allure Suite bathroom moisture

Apparently the door has to be painted between just about every stay due to the paint peeling from the temperature.

In retrospect I should have asked them to drain this, but I thought this was just the dumbest amenity imaginable.

Other than that the bathroom was fine, as it had double sinks, a toilet, and a walk-in shower.


Mystique Santorini Allure Suite bathroom


Mystique Santorini Allure Suite bathroom


Mystique Santorini Allure Suite shower

Toiletries came in fairly large bottles, and were high quality.


Mystique Santorini toiletries

I’d note that at Mystique in-room wifi was fast and free, which I was happy about, since I had concerns about the wifi speed.

There’s one nice surprise worth mentioning in the rooms. Every morning after breakfast they’d bring us some sort of a treat, most of which were sweet. That was a really nice touch.


Mystique Santorini daily gift


Mystique Santorini daily gift

Mystique Santorini dining

Let me start by saying that I love Greek food, and it’s rare that I’m disappointed by it. However, everything about dining at Mystique was truly delightful and exceeded my already high expectations. The service was exceptional, the views were breathtaking, the food great, and I actually thought the prices were also fairly reasonable, when you consider how much this hotel charges per night.

Also keep in mind that all the pricing on the menus includes Greece’s outrageous 24% VAT.

The hotel’s main restaurant is Charisma Restaurant, and it’s located near the pool. Most of the tables are outside, though there’s also a bit of indoor seating.

What a view, eh?


Mystique Santorini Charisma Restaurant


Mystique Santorini Charisma Restaurant


Mystique Santorini Charisma Restaurant

Breakfast was served daily from 8AM until 11AM. I consider that to be a late start time, but I also realize that I just get up ridiculously early, so that’s on me. Even when we went at 8AM, it was often 30 minutes before anyone else showed up for breakfast.

The breakfast menu read as follows:

Breakfast is entirely a la carte, and the servers would constantly encourage us to have more. The drinks were excellent, from freshly squeezed juiced to iced cappuccinos. You could also have mimosas or champagne, though I wasn’t interested in drinking that early.


Mystique Santorini breakfast — drinks

You could order as much as you wanted for breakfast, and it was oh-so-good, especially the Greek options. I’ll let the pictures mostly speak for themselves, but I think this easily ranks as one of my top five hotels in the world when it comes to the quality of breakfast.


Mystique Santorini breakfast — Greek omelet


Mystique Santorini breakfast — strapatsada


Mystique Santorini breakfast — Greek pancakes


Mystique Santorini breakfast — Greek french toast


Mystique Santorini breakfast — rice pudding


Mystique Santorini breakfast — oatmeal

You can also elect to have room service breakfast, and I think you’d pay at most 10EUR as a tray charge if your rate otherwise includes breakfast. However, given the exceptional service, flexibility in ordering, and views from the restaurant, we never did eat in the room.

For those who are interested, here’s what that menu looked like:

We also had lunch at the hotel on our first and last days, and that was great as well. The lunch menu read as follows:

Below is a selection of the food we had.


Mystique Santorini lunch — bread


Mystique Santorini lunch — Greek salad


Mystique Santorini lunch — selection of dips


Mystique Santorini lunch — oven roasted eggplant


Mystique Santorini lunch — chicken fillet


Mystique Santorini lunch — meatballs

The hotel also had an excellent cocktail list, which read as follows:


Mystique Santorini cocktail

While we never had dinner at Charisma Restaurant, here’s the menu:

The one dinner we had at the hotel was at ASEA Restaurant, which is the hotel’s sushi restaurant. Okay, it may seem silly to have sushi in Santorini, but after three days of enjoying nothing but amazing Greek food, we wanted to mix things up.

ASEA Restaurant is located at the top of the hotel, and has some of the best views available from the hotel. When we went it was empty, as there was only one other party.


ASEA Restaurant Mystique


ASEA Restaurant Mystique


ASEA Restaurant Mystique view

The dinner menu read as follows:

We weren’t actually that hungry, and to be honest the sushi wasn’t that great, though I am often spoiled with excellent sushi, so…


ASEA Restaurant Mystique dinner


ASEA Restaurant Mystique dinner

Mystique Santorini amenities

The hotel has a couple of different pools. You don’t stay in the cliffs around Oia because you want the most amazing swimming pools, but the pools the hotel had were decent, though a bit small. One pool was near the main restaurant, and also had sun beds.


Mystique Santorini pool


Mystique Santorini pool seating


Mystique Santorini pool seating

At the top of the hotel near ASEA Restaurant was a snack bar, which had another pool.


Mystique Santorini pool

The hotel has a spa that has a few treatment rooms.


Mystique Santorini spa

As you’d expect the spa is fairly basic, though I did have a massage, and the treatment was excellent.


Mystique Santorini spa

The spa does have a very nice relaxation area.


Mystique Santorini spa

The hotel also has a gym, which again, is pretty simple.


Mystique Santorini gym


Mystique Santorini gym


Mystique Santorini gym

Other than that, the hotel has views for days.


Mystique view


Mystique view

Mystique Santorini service

What impressed me most about Mystique was the service. Typically I have lower expectations of service at seasonal hotels, since it can be tough to find good employees. However, service at Mystique was exceptional across the board. Not just good, but truly exceptional.

There were a few stand out employees, especially Alexandra in the restaurant. She’s one of the most lovely people I’ve interacted with in the hospitality industry, and seeing the way she got to know every guest was so impressive.

Other random Mystique musings

This hotel is very popular with honeymooners. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but I do generally think that it can change the vibe of a place, especially if you’re not on a honeymoon. I was also surprised that guest seemed to be almost exclusively American and Chinese, as I was expecting more visitors from other parts of Europe.

The one exception were the (definitely non-London) Brits staying in the room just down the cliff from us. While I appreciate Cardi B and Lil Wayne as much as the next person (in moderation), they were blasting it on high volume for hours on end. Unfortunately the volume wasn’t quite loud enough to drown out their dirty talk on the balcony (I learned so many new ways to tastelessly ask someone if they’ll have coitus with you).

Mystique bottom line

As you can probably tell, I have some strong opinions about this hotel, both positive and negative:

  • The service and breakfast at this hotel are exceptional
  • The rooms disappointed me a bit, as I think they could make them more luxurious while still staying true to the location
  • Staying in Oia is special, given how picturesque it is, but it’s also very touristy

Based on that, I’d say my advice is:

  • If you are going to Santorini, don’t just stay in Oia, but also stay somewhere else; Starwood’s other property is on the opposite side of the island and seems much quieter (we had dinner near there one night)
  • If I were paying cash and wanted to stay in Oia again, I might instead try Canaves Oia, as the rooms look a bit nicer
  • Starting on August 18 you’ll be able to book this hotel for just 60,000 Marriott points per night (the equivalent of 20,000 Starpoints), which is an incredibly good value, so I think this place is well worth it at that cost

If you’ve stayed at Mystique, what was your experience like?

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Comments

  1. I stayed in Oia (at a different hotel) roughly around the same time as you and my assessment was similar. Great service and very special views, but the “hard product” of the rooms were disappointing considering the price and the place felt like an adult theme park with nothing but hotels, restaurants and tourist shops. Unlike you though, we weren’t impressed with most of our dining experiences. The one exception was the delightful Armeni Fish Restaurant which featured the laid back atmosphere we’d been looking for right on the water at the bottom of the cliffs with excellent fresh seafood.

  2. I actually just got back from a trip to Greece and my family and I stayed at Mystique and Amanzoe as well! I read your original post about Mystique while I was at the breakfast restaurant and saw your comment about Alexandra and how she used to work at Aman. We had just come from the Amanzoe a few days before and the first person who greeted us was Alexandra. We said we heard from someone in the hotel that she used to work at Amanzoe and told her how much we enjoyed it. She couldn’t have been more gracious and professional throughout our stay and we actually went to her for “concierge” recommendations every morning (we found the service at the front desk to not be very friendly, not sure if you felt the same way). Anyway I felt like her level of service was a bit out of Mystique’s league and I hope they give her promote her to higher level management! Can’t wait for your Amanzoe review

  3. A Greek salad for €13,00? You can have great meals in family run restaurants everywhere in Greece for a fraction of the cost.

  4. Thanks for the review, but exactly one year ago I stayed at the Honeymoon Petra Villas, I think that hotel is a lot better than the Mystique even without any point earnings. The views from that hotel are outstanding.

  5. @ pepe — Sure, I mean I think that’s always the case for any hotel. You can always find food that’s cheaper somewhere else. But for what it’s worth, the prices outside the hotel and in Oia were comparable. Of course that’s a really touristy area, but still…

  6. @ paragary — So thrilled to hear you got to interact with Alexandra as well. Funny enough when I got to Amanzoe I had to tell the GM about how great Alexandra was, and that he needs to do everything he can to poach her back. She was exceptional, even by Amanzoe standards (which is saying a lot).

  7. At those prices I’m not surprised the sushi restaurant was empty, although in fairness greeks eat ridiculously late.

    Just FYI, vat is 25% in Scandinavia, 21% in the Netherlands, 20% in France and the U.K., so Greece really isn’t that far out with their 24% rate.

  8. It looks like somebody stole all the art and paintings from your room just before your stay and they didn’t had the time to replace them. I don’t think it’s possibile that a 700EUR per night room can look like that.

    Also, the 24% VAT is not a good excuse for the expensive restaurant prices. Anywhere else in Greece you can have the most amazing lunch for less than 25EUR per person. And by the way that menu looks too much international, there are so many typical greek plates missing…

  9. Also keep in mind that all the pricing on the menus includes Greece’s outrageous 24% VAT.

    Considering that service is not included, the price in any U.S restaurant is 20 to 30% over the menu price, not too dissimilar from Greece.

  10. I just had a 4-night stay there about a month and a half ago in June. It was fantastic. I agree with almost all of your review, except as to the ASEA restaurant. We loved our dinner there. We also had a dinner at the private wine cave. While the 7-course meal was not the greatest, the experience was just wonderful. While we also ventured out during our 4-night stay, I must say that we all loved the food and service at the hotel way more.

    We also were offered the opportunity to enjoy the black-sand beach at their brand-new sister property at the opposite end of the island. It was a great way to spend the afternoon!

    I loved this property so much that I am bringing my mother and my aunt back next year for my mother’s 70th birthday. However, given the fact that the Canaves hotels will become part of the World of Hyatt, I am very tempted to split our stay. I might end up booking at both properties so I can earn qualifying nights with both programs!

  11. Also, our breakfasts were included in the room rate (the lowest available at the time of booking) so we had whatever we wanted (no limits!) for breakfast (3 adults!). It was a great value. We all just loved this property.

  12. You should have stayed in Firostefani or Imerovigli. Bucket loads of hotels, insanely good restaurants and they are a little bit less touristy than let’s say Fira or Oia, however, you will see your fair share of Chinese weddings.

  13. Lucky – You mentioned this property has limited SPG participation, but given that, did they still recognize your Platinum status for complimentary breakfast?

  14. We stayed at the Allure suite next to you a couple months back. Actually liked the indoor jacuzzi as it’s private. You can open the window and enjoy the view. I think my wife jumped in like twice a day! We mentioned to management that we liked the bath amenities and they gave us an entire bag to bring back home with us!

    We also dined in the Secret Wine Cave which was very romantic as it only serves one party at a time. Breakfast is also served at the Captain’s House which gives a higher view but both are good and the food is the same. Totally agree that 8 am is a late start but they wouldn’t budge for us either.

    Alexandra is a treat! She somehow makes every guest feel like she’s known you for years. They definitely need to keep her!

  15. Thanks for the informative review.

    I’m currently staying at Domes of Elounda (a full 14 nights using two travel certs), and am very interested in the perceived different value propositions of these two properties given that Domes is shooting up to new Cat 7 (8) once the Marriott / SPG merger completes.

    From what i read, Domes doesn’t appear to be lagging too far behind Mystique, particularly in terms of room / suite and other property facilities (gym, pool etc). As I would have expected, Mystique is somewhat more expensive for food and beverages, and from your photos, the view is to die for (though Domes comes in a close second with the outlook over Mirabello Bay and the island of Spinalonga). Either way, while Domes is a steal at current Cat 9 rates, based on your review, I’m undecided about trying to find a post merger redemption award night for Mystique.

  16. Great review! Makes me want to visit Greece. Completely understand why you’d eat sushi while you’re, since I’ve gotten sick of eating amazing local food before too. I know, #firstworldproblems . At least the seafood would be moderately fresh!

    I take it that Oia isn’t the side of Santorini with the black sand beaches? Are the town’s views the main attraction? Maybe someone in the comments could indulge me.

    The breakfast looks INCREDIBLE. Overall I’m impressed per usual at how you go in depth.

  17. @Trey:
    Oia, like Thira and Imerovigli, is located several hundred meters above sea level on top of the crater of the (collapsed) volcano, so there are no beaches directly there. As far as I know all the island’s beaches (which are located on the opposite side of the Island, away from the crater, mainly to the east and southeast) consist of black (or at least grey) sand. The biggest (and probably most crowded) beaches are at Kamari and Perissa (which is located almost at the completely opposite corner of the Island).

  18. Probably you found no European tourists because normally Europeans prefer to be hosted in family runned hotels, B&Bs or flats than big chains hotels when they are traveling in Europe. And points fidelity credit cards are not so widespread in Europe.

  19. Looking at the pictures it’s seems more a 4 stars basic hotel, more than a 700euro/night one… Surely the service and soft product are outstanding but the hard product is not sexy if i had reserved the hotel online looking only to the pics, i would prefer an other hotel…

  20. Stayed here 8-10 years ago. Beautiful views but you really get that anywhere in that area. Room was rediculously hot even with the 3 fans in the bedroom! Shocked to hear they have not remedied that. 2 nights was perfect as was location and service. Could not handle getting dressed in that bathroom one more night. Kinda laughing not fixed.

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