When searching for a 2 bed, 2 bath VILLA or HOUSE on Santorini this place appeared to be a match. Santorini is not a cheap island so the reasonable price made us wonder what the catch might be. I carefully read the description and those reviews then available. All seemed fine. We decided to take the risk and book.
We asked for the address, we got directions. These assumed you knew the island enough to work out what road you should be on and what town squares you were passing. We were instructed to look for "our guests house Odysseys". What we finally came across was a building with a massive Odysseys Car Rental sign on the side. Unable to locate a guest house we stopped at this scooter/quad-bike/car rental place to ask. Surprisingly the man inside was expecting us. He turned out to be Odysseas, the owner. I thought he would send us up or down the hill to our house, instead he took us round the back of the rental office to the back door of the building. He pointed out the place we should park as we went and said he was there until 8pm if we had any questions. Around the back was a large yard with a dining table set near the house where we were told we could sit out. Inside
were some of the accommodations wed booked. Odysseas left us to settle in.
The advert had described a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom villa with a roof terrace. We appeared to have a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment with kitchen, sitting area and an outside dining table. We went round and asked where the rest of our accommodation was. Odysseas immediately gave us more keys and pointed out a set of outdoor stairs to the side of the rental office. Up there we discovered the roof terrace and 2 more vaulted ceiling en-suite bedrooms, each with an external entrance. I found it very embarrassing to have to ask for the other half of what we’d paid for. Due to the traditional design, with the outside stairs, it cannot be described as a single block of accommodation now that it has been split in half by a business. Because of the
split the accommodations have become 3 separate apartments. I’ve since found that the top two rooms are even advertised as such on the Odysseys website. If we had been a family with two or three children I think we would have been horrified to discover the separate rooms on the roof. I cant see how this place is suitable for families.
Tired from our journey, we unpacked and went to relax on the roof terrace. The accommodation is on a steep part of the islands main road meaning the terrace is not very private, overlooked as it is by drivers coming down the hill into Fira. Attached to the roof above the rental office is a large speaker. The music coming from it got progressively louder as we sat there. It was very repetitive dance music with a heavy, even more repetitive, bass-line. It wasnt long before we could stand it no longer and had to retreat back to the main accommodation. Quite how youd "enjoy your breakfast or a glass of wine in the evening" under these conditions is hard to imagine. Unfortunately the bass-line reverberated through the whole building so we could not escape it.
The division of the house into car rental office and rented accommodation has been achieved by blocking up the main hallway
which once ran all the way through the building. On the accommodation side this hallway now terminates in a wall of floor to
ceiling cupboards. This means you are only separated from the business by ordinary internal walls and when Odysseass wife and
young son arrived we could hear the family quite clearly. Whenever they brought their young son to play in the yard, which we had hoped might be for our exclusive use, we felt compelled to go out.
Theres an underground garage area below the living room area of the apartment. It seems to be used to store and repair scooters and quad-bikes, it is accessed through the yard. On occasion there was lots of revving engines and vehicles were moved through the yard.
Of an evening, after 8pm, we found the lounge seating area to be a pleasant enough place to sit and chill before bed. The internet access was fairly fast, the problem was it dro pped out every five minutes and we could do nothing but wait for it to reconnect. The bed in the main bedroom was comfortable. Oddly there was a set-top box in the room but no TV. My friend reported that the bed in the second bedroom was very hard and uncomfortable. The pleasant and large kitchen was better equipped than many holiday rental places Ive stayed in. The indoor dining area was large and could easily accommodate 6 people. The bathroom was very large and had a great shower cubicle. We never managed to get the hot water very hot, although it was just about okay to shower in.
Using our second bathroom for a shower involved getting dressed, walking through the rental business, in full view of the road, Odysseas and any customers, and heading up the external steps. If this place was still all one house, it wouldnt be quite so bad as the steps would be outside the front door, but the fact that youre walking right round the house and through a place of business to get to your morning shower is not convenient and NOT a villa. My friend could have used the upstairs room as both bedroom and bathroom but she would have had to head round there each night and it would have meant being close to the speaker at the start of the day so she opted not to.
There was significant road noise from vehicles as they worked hard to climb the hill. Later in the week it got very windy and the loungers etc on our unusable roof terrace blew around all night, dragging themselves across the concrete roof and making a lot of noise. I only managed to sleep by resorting to earplugs.
Because of the perpetual music from the dreaded speaker we resolved to try and be out all day. Later in the week we found that
between the hours of around 4pm to 6pm, it was often quieter, so we risked going back between these times. Not the way we would have chosen to use a proper villa our plan had been to chill out and relax. Granted we could have said something but we just didnt want the hassle, we were supposed to be relaxing on holiday and we didnt feel we should have to say, "Can you keep the music down" to our landlord. Surely it should be obvious that, when you have guests, playing Rave-like music for 12 hours a day is not on.
We did discover that we were opposite an entry point for the pretty main path along the caldera edge and were in easy walking distance not just of Firostefani but Fira and Imerovigli also. It would have been nice to have been told of this path because to start with we thought we had to jump in the car every day to get places. That said, once we knew, we realised that the location itself is a good one to stay in. You could easily holiday here without a rental car if you didnt mind walking and catching buses when you wanted to go further afield. The sunset view from a few minutes down the path is probably one of the best on the island.
On the penultimate day of our stay we woke up to find there was no water. Were still unsure if this particular inconvenience was something we could have been warned about in advance or not. By now we had been asked to park elsewhere by a disgruntled local resident as it turned out that our assigned spot blocked their access. This meant parking on the road further down the hill, so Id disagree that this place has "Private parking" as described. Our car almost got stuck on the roadside on no water day due to road repairs. Beyond the owners control but something else we felt he must have known about enough in advance to at least advise us to park elsewhere.
The temperature got up into the 30s while we were there. The only AC unit in the main apartment turned out to be in the master bedroom. I left it on with the bedroom door open to try and cool the whole place down a bit. We returned to find Odyss