Our unexpected stay at Mystique Santorini #Bonvoyed
We ended up getting Bonvoyed in Santorini, but not necessarily in a bad way.
We spent an extra night in Santorini
Initially, the plan was to spend five nights in Santorini, and we had booked Canaves Oia Quintessence for our entire stay (I booked a Small Luxury Hotels of the World with World of Hyatt points).
However, as I mentioned in my SeaJets review, our ferry from Crete to Santorini ended up being canceled less than a week before departure. There was no other ferry that day, so our option was to take a ferry the day before or the next day. As we had heard amazing things about Canaves Oia Epitome and the hotel was non-refundable, we made the decision to go to Santorini a day early which gave us six nights.
Why we booked Vedema in Santorini
Canaves Oia Epitome was full on our first night so it seemed like a great opportunity to try out 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 in Vedema (Alati), which was spectacular; even stranger, they insisted that we not pay for our meal, and to this day we don’t know why, but it is something that has stuck with us
- Vedema is on the other side of the island, far from Oia, so I thought it would be a good change of scenery for one night
- Vedema had a two bedroom villa which I could book for € 500 which was quite reasonable compared to the other options; I could book it through Marriott STARS, additionally offering a $ 100 mortgage, and more
However, our pre-stay experience at Vedema started off well:
- I sent an email to the concierge and did not receive a response
- I tried to call the hotel restaurant we ate last time around to make a reservation, and no one came to pick me up
- I tried to call the hotel front desk and it was redirected to the Marriott reservation center.
- When I spoke with Marriott’s reservation center, they couldn’t understand why they couldn’t get in touch with anyone at the hotel.
- I would note that throughout the hotel were still selling rooms as usual including for same day arrivals
When our stay took a turn
The day before we arrived, I got a call from a number in Santorini, so I picked up.
“Hello, I’m calling from Mystique to 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 just for Mystique.”
“Oh, haven’t they contacted you?” “
“What do you mean?”
“Vedema is not yet open for the season, you have been re-let to Mystique. I’ll make sure someone contacts you this afternoon.
A few hours later, the day before my arrival, I received an email from Vedema’s “operations manager” informing me that the hotel was “evaluating” its opening dates, and that the hotel had pushed back its opening date to June 15th (our stay was from May 28th to 29th).
We were offered either to postpone our stay to a later date or to have a new reservation in a room comparable to Mystique. As we needed a place to stay in Santorini, of course we chose the latter option.
On the one hand:
- It is ridiculously unprofessional to keep selling rooms in a hotel that you know will be completely closed.
- If you are going to sell rooms in a closed hotel, you should at least give a little more notice than the day before, especially when the hotel is in a different part of the island, and as far as they know that we could have made plans in the region
- Additionally, this should be communicated proactively and with an explanation, rather than as an afterthought when asked if I want a transfer to a hotel I haven’t booked.
On the other hand:
- The two bedroom suite we booked at Vedema costs € 500 per night, while the two bedroom suite at Mystique was selling for € 1200.
- From a revenue maximization standpoint, that’s probably not a bad idea from a hotel’s point of view – they can increase revenue at Mystique without having to lower rates for those who book directly there during a period of declining demand
- While I had stayed in Mystique before and didn’t necessarily want to stay there, I was happy that my mom had the experience of staying at the iconic Oia Cliffs.
Santorini 2 Sense Mystical Suite
I reviewed Mystique in detail during our stay a few years ago, so I’ll share some basic impressions and photos of our two bedroom suite.
Mystique is a fantastic hotel with exceptionally friendly staff (thanks to reception manager Rafael), and I think this is a great option for anyone looking to stay in this part of Santorini. That being said, I would put Oia a lot in the “been there, done that” category. I was delighted that I stayed in this area once, I was finally happy to stay again (for my mom to experience it), but I certainly didn’t need to go back. The views are beautiful, but the area is so touristy.
Mystique is built into the iconic Oia Cliffs so there are quite a few steps up and down to get around the property (which was difficult for my mom, but we just planned this, and we weren’t staying one night).
We were assigned to one of the “Suites 2 Senses” which is one of the hotel’s two bedroom suites. These were rooms 31 and 32 – it didn’t really look like a standard two-bedroom suite (in the sense that there was no interior common space), but rather two rooms side by side . Of course, this is great, and it is true that the design in this part of Santorini is complicated and space is precious, as you are building on the side of a cliff.
The room had a nice outdoor space, with four chairs, two tables, two lounge chairs, and a hot tub. The exterior design was perhaps a bit awkward, including the fact that there were two separate tables that could accommodate two people each, although we could rearrange that.
The view from the room was breathtaking, as you would expect.
The two bedrooms were quite similar, and both had a great sense of belonging. The first bedroom (where my mom and her partner stayed) had a comfy bed and a sitting area with sort of a sofa.
There was also a TV, Nespresso machine and minibar.
The bathroom was at the far end of the room and although small it was well designed and made good use of space.
I stayed in the second bedroom (which was connected to the other bedroom by a set of double doors). It was a bit smaller, but otherwise named the same. Near the entrance was a sofa and a TV, then at the back was the bedroom.
There was another full bathroom in this room, similar to the first.
There was a welcome service consisting of a few snack bars and juice, as well as a fruit plate (which was included in our Marriott STARS rate).
We ended up having room service lunch, as we had an 85 € hotel credit to spend (for a reservation through Marriott STARS), and we were also exhausted after our ferry ride. What a view to savor a meal!
In the morning we had a delicious breakfast. Greece probably has my favorite breakfasts in the world – I love that they often don’t have a buffet and I love the variety of food and drink. We were brought a basket of bread and pastry when we got to the table, and then were able to order as much as we wanted from the menu.
Below are some photos of what we liked.
We left at noon and headed to Canaves Oia Epitome… OMG, what a hotel!
At the end of the line
We had a pretty interesting experience on our first night in Santorini. We had booked Vedema, but the day before our arrival we were informed that the hotel had not yet opened for the season. We were therefore re-rented at Mystique Santorini, the sister property of Marriott Luxury Collection.
Although I found the way Vedema was going about it was unprofessional, it ultimately worked out well for us. My mom was able to enjoy an overnight stay in the Cliffs of Oia, and we did that for a pretty discounted price as well.
Would you have been satisfied with the way it was handled?