Astra Suites

Astra Suites | Lesoleilfoundation

Astra Suites

George Karagiannis

George Karagiannis is the owner and indeed the soul of Astra Hotel in Santorini, one of the most well known hotels in the world, which has received several awards. The view from Astra Suites is considered one of the most impressive ones worldwide where as the quality standards applied are exceptionally high. However, what any guest will remember forever is a personalized hospitality, which pays the utmost attention to detail.

What is the secret of a truly good host in an island like Santorini, which attracts high-level tourism?

Santorini is a very beautiful island full of beautiful hotels, so I learned from the beginning it’s very important to set yourself apart by taking hospitality and personalized service to the next level.

How did it all begin for Astra Suites?

As one of the first hotels located in the peaceful village of Imerovigli, with the very first swimming pool on the caldera, we had a humble start in 1991, with only 10 simple a partments. Now, we offer 30 luxurious suites and a fully private villa some suites featuring private cliff hanging pools, also a first for the island as well as our fine dining venue and spa!

How easy or how difficult is it for you to be the person who awakens a dream into people’s hearts? Did you ever imagine that at some point you would be the one that makes people’s dreams come true?

I am very lucky; I feel I have the best job in the world. From weddings to honeymoons, to anniversaries and other momentous life events, I am privileged to be a part of a lot of dreams that come true!

Astra Suites is included among the 25 best hotels in the world. In your opinion, what is it that keep bringing more awards to the hotel?

Going back to what sets us apart, I believe the exceptional, personalized service we offer has gained us an extremely loyal following of guests who return year after year and continue to support us like family!

Tell us about the rationale behind the premises and especially in relation to its location.

Our guests often comment that the Astra property is like a small cliff top village on its own, so it makes them never want to leave. Indeed, we have the best views in the entire island, a full service bar, restaurant and spa, so there’s really no reason to leave the property.

The view made the hotel famous internationally. What does this view “include” after all?

From our perch, we are literally at the highest point of the famous Santorini volcanic caldera; it doesn’t get any better than that! We have a direct view to the unique and iconic Skaros rock formation, and panoramic views of the entire island from one end to the other. So just sitting on your own private balcony with a delicious bottle of Santorini wine, you can witness the most magical sunsets on earth.

Astra private villa

What extra options does the Astra private villa offer?

Again, nothing less than a level of service and attention to detail that really means you never need to leave! Our stunning villa is detached from the main hotel complex and is therefore fully private. It features your own private butler,available 24/7, and offers both private swimming pool and outdoor jacuzzi. Other optional services can be arranged on request, such as private chefs and massage therapists; if you can dream it, we can deliver! Indeed, it’s a very special place, a once in a lifetime experience not to be missed.

What are the places a guest could visit outside of the Astra Suites? Are there any special places nearby worth seeing?

One of the most beautiful experiences on the island is a hike along the cliffs to the traditional village of Oia. Since the path runs right past Astra, you can easily hop right on the trail for a gentle, 2-hour walk you will never forget. While our village is away from the hustle and bustle, it’s also an easy stroll to nearby restaurants and shops, and a lovely half hour walk into the main town of Fira as well.

What are your favorite places in the island?

The rock of “Skaros”, in front of the hotel! A dip in the crystal clear Aegean Sea, at the black volcanic sands of Perivolos Beach can’t be missed; nor could one miss enjoying fresh seafood, overlooking the sea either there, or at Vlyhada Beach, or at the charming Bay of Ammoudi, near Oia. A guided private tour of the island including a visit to the Minoan settlement of Akrotiri is a superb experience that will familiarize you with Santorini and its history so maybe you’ll find your own favorite spot. Exploring the traditional settlements of the island like Pyrgos and Megalochori villages takes you back to a simpler time. Last but not least, a sailing excursion around the island will give you a different perspective!

What should a guest definitely try doing while staying at Astra which you would consider a lifetime experience?

I would definitely say that dining in the candlelight,overlooking the most stunning vistas on earth, from your very own private balcony, is something very unique to Astra and something truly unforgettable. I’ve lost track of how many proposals have taken place between dinner and dessert, and really, what better way to share the love? Moreover, don’t miss ordering a unique, personalized cocktail from our incredibly talented mixologist at the pool bar, who quizzes you on your favorite flavors, then tailors a one-of-a-kind drink just for you!

Astra Suites is a widely known all time favorite celebrity destination. Now, I am well aware that it is hotel policy not to disclose any information, but I wonder whether there is anything you would wish to remember to help us imagine how stars spend their time there.

Hardly a week goes by that we aren’t host to the up-to-the-minute music artist, model, actor, politician or star athlete, including the former Prime Minister of Greece who certainly had his choice of Greece’s top luxury hotels! But yes, they expect and deserve discretion and our suites do offer the utmost privacy far from the prying eyes of the paparazzi, not to mention any over-the-top request they have that never goes unfulfilled.

Several productions have been filmed at the Astra premises. Would you remind us a few?

Many series, films, fashion shoots and commercials including the latest Campari campaign have taken place on the property, but perhaps the most memorable experience was shooting Greece's entry video for the Eurovision Song Festival, it was loads of fun for the staff and all of Greece was quite jealous!

Is there a “memory for a lifetime” from the years you have spent at the hotel?

There are just so many wonderful moments in the past 30 years, as I find it so fulfilling to see our guests return year after year -often several generations of the same family-perhaps first to get married or spend their honeymoon, then to return for an anniversary, for birthdays and family events; each time they return, it’s like they never left. Some of my closest, dearest friends now, were first guests of Astra and I have visited many of them all around the world.

I remember that in the ’90s, you were among the first who believed in the wedding destination, which had just started by the United States. Up until recently, Santorini was a destination for glamorous weddings. What is your opinion about its current state?

Yes, I had a vision back then for smaller, more romantic, intimate wedding ceremonies, and I was one of the only wedding planners on the island at the time. Indeed, the concept has really exploded over the years to a huge and lucrative business for the island. I still handle a few select weddings, but in order to preserve the peaceful quality of the property for all our guests, I do prefer that they remain those small, elegant affairs I have always specialized in, with the most beautiful backdrop on earth of course! I long for the island’s bustling wedding business to retain its classic past, but only time will tell.

In the end, who is it that establishes a hotel’s personality? Is it the one who loves it and works for it or the ones that dream of staying there and finally make it?

Well first, it helps to have a unique and special property and location, and then on, you simply add the love, passion and care it deserves to shine, like the star that Astra truly is. I have dedicated my entire adult life to Astra, and I can only hope that it shines through and our guests leave carrying that same passion with them and hopefully it brings them back again!

Is there something that you learned from your involvement in the hotel that changed you forever?

That we must never assume or prejudge the needs of guests, and that the key to complete guest satisfaction is to simply look, listen, pay attention to cues and anticipate needs. Because what we do here really matters, we are creating experiences and memories that our guests will carry with them their entire lives, so we better make it great!

Astra Suites

Have you prepared something special for this year?

Ah yes, we have a completely remodeled restaurant and brand new kitchen and we’re really excited to get started with our new menu; we even have a new name for the restaurant which is now named ‘Five Senses’, and we hope to reach all five with dazzling new flavors and our signature service!

Would you share a special phrase that tells everything about you?

Astra means “stars" in Greek, so our motto has always been Shine On!


Astra Suites
Imerovgli, Santorini
Τηλ.: (0030) 228 602 3641
Fax.: (0030) 228 602 4765