Blue sky thinking

Hotel Carpe Diem

Hotel Carpe Diem on Santorini offers the ultimate luxury experience while being socially responsible and environmentally sustainable

Guests forget the stresses of the outside world from the moment they arrive at Hotel Carpe Diem. This luxury bolthole in an out-of-the-way corner of the beautiful Greek island of Santorini is as exclusive as it gets. There are only ten suites, each with a private pool; the superb restaurant has only seven tables and the guest-staff ratio is one-to-one.

“It is extreme bespoke luxury,” says Sotiris Kopatsaris, who runs the hotel with his sister, Sofia, and mother, Fotini, earning 15 prestigious industry awards along the way, including silver in the International Travel and Tourism Awards, 2019. “That means we can create really memorable experiences for the guests. We are family run, very discreet and we get to know the guest personally to create special moments that everybody craves.”

The hotel is located on the hillside above the untouched medieval village of Pyrgos, with spectacular views of the island’s famous sunsets and sunrise. Carpe Diem was built by Sotiris’s father, an experienced engineer who helped design many of the resorts, hotels and developments on the island before putting his 30 years of experience into his vision of a perfect hotel.

“It was an uncompromising project and the methods he used for construction were unprecedented,” says Sotiris. “He revived very old methods and used the few craftsmen who were capable of doing some of the special handmade work. We wanted to showcase the island culture and create a timeless feel. It is chic, minimalist and very elegant. We renovate the hotel every year but we have not had to change the decoration because it still looks contemporary. People always ask if it just opened the year before.”

Guests can hire the entire hotel to create an unforgettable event, whether for birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions. One recent addition is The Dunes wedding venue, which includes a huge garden area planted with local flowers. It is part of Carpe Diem’s drive towards absorbing more carbon than the hotel emits.

The hotel also offsets the carbon guests use to reach Santorini and uses green energy wherever possible. Sotiris now intends to offset all carbon used from the hotel’s construction onwards. “We work with a series of NGOs and charities and want to be completely socially, environmentally and financially sustainable,” he says. “It is a multi-faceted thing and that is our future – creating a responsible, guilt-free experience that is super-luxurious and super-sustainable; that reflects our own concerns and those of our guests.”

Other highlights include an exceptional restaurant, Exaltis, and the Althea Spa & Fitness space. Menus can be catered to individual tastes and dietary requirements, while guests can choose from a range of treatments including yoga and massage, or have exclusive use of the sauna and steam room. For those seeking experiences beyond the nirvana of Carpe Diem, a variety of excursions can be arranged, including catamaran and helicopter tours, wine tasting, cookery classes and archaeological walking tours.

“We can make the guest feel truly pampered,” says Sotiris. “We want to act like an ambassador, showing the best the location has to offer. That is what a small hotel can do – we can really customise the experience and elevate it for everybody into something special. We have won a lot of awards, but the whole concept is to be discreet so when the gate closes, you can escape the world. That’s the feeling we want to give our guests.”