Our Unexpected Stay At Mystique Santorini #Bonvoyed

Our Unexpected Stay At Mystique Santorini #Bonvoyed

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We ended up getting Bonvoyed in Santorini, but not necessarily in a bad way.

We had an extra night in Santorini

Initially the plan was to spend five nights in Santorini, and we had booked Canaves Oia Epitome for our entire stay (it’s a Small Luxury Hotels of the World property that I booked with World of Hyatt points).

However, as I mentioned in my review of SeaJets, our ferry from Crete to Santorini ended up being canceled less than a week prior to departure. There was no other ferry that day, so our option was to take a ferry the day before or the day after. Since we had heard amazing things about Canaves Oia Epitome and the hotel was non-refundable, we made the decision to travel to Santorini a day earlier, giving us six nights.

Why we booked Vedema in Santorini

Canaves Oia Epitome was sold out for our first night, so this seemed like a great opportunity to try a new property. I made the decision to book Vedema, which is a Marriott Luxury Collection property.

Why did I decide to book Vedema?

  • When Ford and I visited Santorini years ago, we ate at the restaurant at Vedema (Alati), which was spectacular; even stranger was that they insisted we not pay for our meal, and to this day we don’t know why, but it’s something that has stuck with us
  • Vedema is on the other side of the island, away from Oia, so I thought it would be a nice change of scenery for one night
  • Vedema had a two bedroom villa that I could book for 500€, which was quite reasonable compared to the other options; I could book it through Marriott STARS, further offering a $100 property credit, and more

Our Vedema pre-stay experience sure was off to a rough start, though:

  • I emailed the concierge, and didn’t receive a response
  • I tried to call the hotel’s restaurant that we ate at last time to make a reservation, and no one picked up
  • I tried to call the hotel’s front desk, and it redirected to Marriott central reservations
  • When I spoke with Marriott central reservations, they were confused about why they couldn’t get in touch with anyone at the hotel
  • I’d note that all along the hotel was still selling rooms as usual, including for same day arrivals

When our stay took a turn

The day before we were supposed to check-in, I received a call from a number in Santorini, so I picked up.

“Hi, I’m calling from Mystique in Santorini. I wanted to see if you wanted to book a transfer for your arrival tomorrow?”
“I think there must be some confusion, I’m not booked at Mystique.”
“Oh, they haven’t contacted you?”
“What do you mean?”
“Vedema isn’t open for the season yet, you’ve been rebooked at Mystique. I’ll make sure someone reaches out to you this afternoon.”

Several hours later, the evening before arrival, I got an email from Vedema’s “operations manager,” informing me that the hotel was “in the process of evaluating” its opening dates, and that the hotel had postponed its opening date until June 15 (our stay was May 28-29).

We were offered to either postpone our stay to a later date, or be rebooked in a comparable room at Mystique. Since we needed somewhere to stay in Santorini, we of course selected the latter option.

On the one hand:

  • It’s ridiculously unprofessional to keep selling rooms at a hotel that you know will be closed altogether
  • If you are going to sell rooms at a hotel that’s closed, you should at least give a little more notice than the day before, especially when the hotel is on a completely different part of the island, and for all they know we could have made plans in the area
  • Furthermore, this should be communicated proactively and with an explanation, rather than as an afterthought while being asked if I want a transfer to a hotel I didn’t book

On the other hand:

  • The two bedroom suite we booked at Vedema cost 500€ per night, while the two bedroom suite at Mystique was selling for 1,200€
  • From a revenue maximizing standpoint, this probably isn’t a terrible idea from the hotel’s perspective — they can increase revenue at Mystique without having to lower rates for those booking directly there during a period of lower demand
  • While I had stayed at Mystique before and didn’t necessarily want to stay again, I was happy my mom would have the experience of staying in the iconic cliffs of Oia

Mystique Santorini 2 Senses Suite

I reviewed Mystique in great detail when we stayed a few years back, so I’ll just share some basic impressions, and some pictures of our two bedroom suite.

Mystique is a fantastic hotel with exceptionally friendly staff (special shout out to front office manager Rafael), and I think it’s a great option for anyone looking to stay in this part of Santorini. That being said, I’d very much put Oia in the “been there, done that” category. I was thrilled to have stayed in this area once, was ultimately happy to stay again (for my mom to experience it), but definitely don’t need to stay there again. The views are beautiful, but the area is just oh-so-touristy.

Mystique is built into the iconic cliffs of Oia, so there’s quite a bit of walking up and down stairs to get around the property (which was challenging for my mom, but we just planned around that, and we were only staying for one night).

Mystique Santorini steps
Mystique Santorini property
Mystique Santorini reception
Mystique Santorini pool

We were assigned one of the “2 Senses Suites,” which is one of the hotel’s two bedroom suites. These were rooms 31 & 32 — it didn’t really feel like a standard two bedroom suite (in the sense that there was no indoor communal space), but rather felt like two side-by-side guest rooms. Of course that’s totally fine, and admittedly design in this part of Santorini is complicated, and space comes at a premium, since you’re building into the side of a cliff.

The room had a beautiful outdoor area, with four chairs, two tables, two loungers, and a whirlpool. The outdoor design was perhaps a bit awkward, including that there were two separate tables each seating two people, though we could rearrange that.

Mystique Santorini outdoor area
Mystique Santorini outdoor area

The view from the room was beyond breathtaking, as you’d expect.

View from our room at Mystique Santorini
View from our room at Mystique Santorini

The two bedrooms were fairly similar, and both had a great sense of place. The first bedroom (which my mom and her partner stayed in) had a comfortable bed, and a sitting area with a couch of sorts.

Mystique Santorini two bedroom suite
Mystique Santorini two bedroom suite

There was also a TV, Nespresso machine, and minibar.

Mystique Santorini two bedroom suite
Mystique Santorini two bedroom suite

The bathroom was in the very back of the room, and while small, it was well designed, and utilized space well.

Mystique Santorini two bedroom suite bathroom
Mystique Santorini two bedroom suite toilet
Mystique Santorini two bedroom suite shower

I stayed in the second room (which was connected to the other room by a set of double doors). It was a bit smaller, but otherwise similarly appointed. Near the entrance was a couch and a TV, and then in the back was the bedroom area.

Mystique Santorini two bedroom suite sitting area
Mystique Santorini two bedroom suite sitting area
Mystique Santorini two bedroom suite bedroom

There was another full bathroom in this room, similar to the first.

Mystique Santorini two bedroom suite bathroom
Mystique Santorini two bedroom suite shower & toilet

There was a welcome amenity consisting of a couple of snack bars and some juice, as well as a fruit plate (which was included through our Marriott STARS rate).

Mystique Santorini welcome amenity
Mystique Santorini welcome amenity

We ended up having room service lunch, since we had an 85€ hotel credit to spend (for booking through Marriott STARS), and we were also exhausted after our ferry ride. What a view from which to enjoy a meal!

Mystique Santorini room service lunch

In the morning we had a delicious breakfast. Greece probably has my favorite breakfasts in the world — I love how they often don’t have buffets, and I love the variety of food and drinks. We were brought a bread and pastry basket when we got to the table, and could then order as much as we wanted from the menu.

Mystique Santorini breakfast

Below are some pictures of what we enjoyed.

Mystique Santorini breakfast
Mystique Santorini breakfast
Mystique Santorini breakfast
Mystique Santorini breakfast
Mystique Santorini breakfast

We checked out midday, and headed over to Canaves Oia Epitome… OMG, what a hotel!

Bottom line

We had quite an interesting experience for our first night in Santorini. We had booked Vedema, but the day before arrival were informed that the hotel hadn’t yet opened for the season. So we were rebooked at Mystique Santorini, the Marriott Luxury Collection sister property.

While I found the way that Vedema went about this to be quite unprofessional, in the end this worked out well for us. My mom got to enjoy staying in the cliffs of Oia for one night, and we did it at quite a discount as well.

Would you have been happy with the way this was handled?

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  1. Tennen

    @Lucky, did you request the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee? I guess it technically doesn't apply since the Vedema wasn't "open and operational," but they should've given you something.

    While the Mystique's rooms/property looks nice, €1200 is ridiculous. IMHO, I wouldn't consider it a fair trade (or a trade-up) for the last minute change, especially given the location switcharoo.

  2. pstm91

    While it's certainly an upgrade over Vedema, could you still be entitled for any sort of refund or compensation (points, etc.) for the inconvenience?
    Mystique has an insane amount of stairs, and very uneven stairs, even by Santorini standards. If your mom had real knee issues, this could have been a major inconvenience. Glad it worked out!

  3. Sam

    I'm staying at the Vedema in the middle of September for the first time. Love the location near the vineyards and all of the small tavernas you can walk to from the hotel. They have a wine cave on property. Hope they don't close for the season early. Not interested in staying in Oia. We go to Santorini every 2 years and have always stayed within walking distance of Fira. This time we want to be in a smaller village and walk to the wineries.

  4. Alicia

    The article title gives the impression that Mystique Santorini #Bonvoyed you which is not the case and Mystique did give you a great experience.

    Is it possible to please update the title so that #Bonvoyed is not incorrectly associated with Mystique?

    #JustaMystiqueFan

  5. Steve

    Not sure what is worse Greece+Bonvoy or the new color scheme that still makes reading various parts of the posts very challenging.

  6. Greg

    Sounds like you had a good experience. Nice review and photos. I agree with @Alicia, I would take out #Bonvoyed in the title as they really gave you an upgrade from the Vedema to the Mystic. I think it was the closed Vedema not Marriott who messed up the communication and booking options.

    One question, what Titaniam Elite benefits did you get. Obviously no room upgrade as 2 bedroom was paid for at booking. Was the Elite benefit just the fig bar snack?

  7. Super

    Agree with others that adding #Bonvoyed to the title makes it seem like Mystique did you dirty, when that's not true.

    Side note - I love how the name "Bonvoy" totally backfired on Marriott as it now represents any time Marriott does wrong by the customer. "You've been Bonvoyed!"

  8. NYGuy24

    True there should have been more advanced notice. That being said you rushed off to a country during a major pandemic and need to roll with the punches if you are going to do something like that. They upgraded you to a suite which is well over the cost of what you paid. Seems like they did what they could to make it right. Greece is probably regretting letting people in now that covid cases...

    True there should have been more advanced notice. That being said you rushed off to a country during a major pandemic and need to roll with the punches if you are going to do something like that. They upgraded you to a suite which is well over the cost of what you paid. Seems like they did what they could to make it right. Greece is probably regretting letting people in now that covid cases are once again surging there and they are being forced to implement restrictions again.

    1. Jake

      I thought NYGuy24's comments about having to "roll with the punches" to some degree during the early months of Greece's re-opening was fair, or at least a valid point of consideration. However, you seem to be implying that he has no right to comment here simply because he may be from the state of New York, for which you have a low opinion. That, most certainly, is not fair.

  9. D3kingg

    I called my Anchorage airport hotel 2 weeks before arrival to make some requests all I got was a recording saying that the hotel is closed and that I should contact the holiday inn if I booked directly and third party reservations need to contact who they booked with. Not wanting to deal with that fu$&ery I decided to cancel and book another hotel 20 miles north of Anchorage. Crazy I could have arrived in...

    I called my Anchorage airport hotel 2 weeks before arrival to make some requests all I got was a recording saying that the hotel is closed and that I should contact the holiday inn if I booked directly and third party reservations need to contact who they booked with. Not wanting to deal with that fu$&ery I decided to cancel and book another hotel 20 miles north of Anchorage. Crazy I could have arrived in Anchorage and arrived at my hotel to find out they were closed and I should go to the holiday inn. No thank you.

  10. Chris

    Had a similar situation happen in Istanbul around the same time. Had booked a Marriott property on points fall of last year for late May visit. The day before my arrival I got an email from some concierge at the hotel that it was closed due to Covid and I would have to find somewhere else to stay.

    Half furious, half panicked, I called Marriott and got them to book me at the JW for...

    Had a similar situation happen in Istanbul around the same time. Had booked a Marriott property on points fall of last year for late May visit. The day before my arrival I got an email from some concierge at the hotel that it was closed due to Covid and I would have to find somewhere else to stay.

    Half furious, half panicked, I called Marriott and got them to book me at the JW for practically no additional cost to me.

    Covid has made nearly everyone’s job harder, so I can obviously understand some bumps in the road. However Marriott not sending any kind of communication to guests considering the entire property was closed is just bush league.

  11. Jesper

    You can't imagine why a hotel would comp you a dinner?

    Let me see, well known travel blogger, at the time probably SPG member with an ambassador asssigned, a hotel interested in some favourable coverage.

    Maybe I can't imagine a reason either? ;-)

  12. NickC

    Vedema hasn't been open in a long time. The exact same happened to us in September 2020....no email, no call, a day or two before arrival an email to ask about transportation. Staff at Mystique had been beyond amazing, loved our stay. Just an odd start to our visit to Santorini as well....

  13. Grey

    I mean, this is fairly standard practise where hotels are seasonal, particularly when part of a chain with nearby alternatives. They open bookings for the maximum amount of planned openings, and then, assuming the desired peak capacity hasn't been reached, the nicest hotel opens first. This way, the people who paid the most will not be inconvenienced or downgraded. Additionally, the people who paid less might have the slight inconvenience of different hotel, but they...

    I mean, this is fairly standard practise where hotels are seasonal, particularly when part of a chain with nearby alternatives. They open bookings for the maximum amount of planned openings, and then, assuming the desired peak capacity hasn't been reached, the nicest hotel opens first. This way, the people who paid the most will not be inconvenienced or downgraded. Additionally, the people who paid less might have the slight inconvenience of different hotel, but they get the upgrade which usually makes it worthwhile.

  14. Lou

    All’s well that ends well. Same thing happened to us on honeymoon. We were rebooked with no notice from a 25 room hotel into a house on the cliff before there was airbnb due to orthodox Easter 25 years ago; desk clerk of hotel answered locked door and said hotel decided to close for the holiday and walked us to the house and brought us breakfast in the morning. I think this is more a Santorini thing than a Bonvoy thing.

  15. Blaz

    Looks great, but for what was paid, I would be personally slightly disappointed. It just looked a tad tired, although the area looks of course, fantastic. Food looks good too...the Greeks are great at relaxed eating.

  16. joanna spencer

    Santorini: overrated, overpriced, overdone.
    As the saying goes:
    Nobody goes there anymore, It's too crowded.

  17. Emily

    Very few places in the world I love as much as the Mediterranean. The breakfast in Greece if fantastic and perhaps only second to that served in Israel.

  18. FNT Delta Diamond

    Since the hotel was closed you were entitled to compensation per Marriott terms. Did you invoke this? Hundreds of guests could be missing out on guaranteed compensation under Marriott terms.

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Alicia

The article title gives the impression that Mystique Santorini #Bonvoyed you which is not the case and Mystique did give you a great experience. Is it possible to please update the title so that #Bonvoyed is not incorrectly associated with Mystique? #JustaMystiqueFan

Jake

I thought NYGuy24's comments about having to "roll with the punches" to some degree during the early months of Greece's re-opening was fair, or at least a valid point of consideration. However, you seem to be implying that he has no right to comment here simply because he may be from the state of New York, for which you have a low opinion. That, most certainly, is not fair.

Greg

Sounds like you had a good experience. Nice review and photos. I agree with @Alicia, I would take out #Bonvoyed in the title as they really gave you an upgrade from the Vedema to the Mystic. I think it was the closed Vedema not Marriott who messed up the communication and booking options. One question, what Titaniam Elite benefits did you get. Obviously no room upgrade as 2 bedroom was paid for at booking. Was the Elite benefit just the fig bar snack?

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