Can you visualize yourself here practicing yoga, relaxing and enjoying the view? How did this retiree score such a trip to Paradise with her limited funds?
It all started with one picture of me on Instagram applying Estee Lauder lipstick to get ready for my Valentine’s date, which is the picture on the right. You can imagine my excitement when Estee Lauder contacted me to tell me I was the winner of the #FlyMeToSantorini contest sponsored by Estee Lauder and booked through Expedia. The picture on the left I’m applying lipstick before our romantic dinner at the Andronis Boutique Hotel after winning my Dream Trip!
I can not say enough about how smoothly the trip booked through Expedia went. I was able to select my hotel and I am glad I picked the Andronis Boutique Hotel This hotel went above and beyond to cater to our every whim, it was the perfect choice. Yes, the 111 steps to our cave were long, but the view on the way down of the Aegean Sea with the caldera off in the distance was breathtaking. Naturally what goes down must go back up, so we took our time leaving our cave to admire the spectacular views on the way up the stairs and catch our breath.
Our concierge personally escorted us upon check in to our room and explained this suite was once a cave home. In Santorini a lot of the homes were built-in caves to save money, many of the poorer people lived in them. Today this cave is luxury beyond imagination and very unique hotel room. Upon arrival we were presented with yogurt sweets, wine and had time to relax in our private Jacuzzi after a long flight, a real welcome delight!
We enjoyed our sunset view from the comfort of our suite, while loads of tourists from the cruise ships rode the donkeys to the top of the hill to line up to view the spectacular world-famous sunsets of Oia’. When we ventured out of our cave on several evenings we experienced throngs of people lining the walkways every evening to view and photograph the sunsets. Many of the women were dressed to the hilt to capture that special photograph with the sunset off in the distance. Their fancy dresses, high heels made it quite comical at times to watch them navigate the uneven,overcrowded stone walkways. The mobs of people at times were a bit over whelming and we were only too happy to retreat to the luxury of our cave. I could only imagine what it would be like during their busy season. I had picked off-season to visit mid October, when only about two cruise ships a day were in compared to six or seven daily ships daily. The workers told us the island closes down from Nov. to April every year and only the residents stay behind.
I have traveled all over the world, but this suite in the Andronis Boutique Hotel blew me away. Can you imagine yourself relaxing here admiring this view?
Picture above on left is the view from our room at sunset with donkeys bringing the cruise ship passengers up the hill. On the upper right is our view from the room at sunrise. Lower left picture needs no explaining, me relaxing in our suite gazing at the view.
Picture below is all the boats lining up for the sunset view (rare time when we ventured out to capture this photo)
Booking off-season Expedia was able to throw in additional activities to make this trip I won all-inclusive. Below is the Small Group Wine Island Tour they booked, visiting three wineries, no food included. In true Greek etiquette every winery we went to had ample snacks to go along with the their wines. We had more than plenty of food, so I don’t know why they said no food included?
Another excursion booked by Expedia was the Santorini Red Sunset Cruise They provided free wine, water and food . While we were snorkeling or swimming the staff grilled pork and chicken kabob accompanied with many Greek side dishes. On the return trip back to shore the boat raced to get a good spot to see the sunset. The music was cranked up, wine flowing, we all danced and sang. One of the favorite tunes was “Here we Go Again” from the movie Mama Mia.
While all of our activities were different, one of our favorites, was the South Coast Hiking Journey & Greek Cooking Class with Lunch. We hiked to Black Beach, which included snorkeling and swimming. The beautiful blue waters of the Aegean Sea was too cold for our Florida thinned blood so we watched the couple from Canada snorkel and swim. Then we went to Maria’s home for a traditional Greek cooking class, complete with homemade wine from her cellar. We prepared the food then enjoyed eating the food with an amazing view of the coast line.
“Yamas” to the perfect romantic, active and adventurous vacation!
Can you see yourself relaxing here after a long day of touring the Island in your own private cave? Thanks to Estee Lauder, Expedia and Andronis Boutique Hotel for many lasting memories
Here are some links below so you can book your own adventure
Please share with me some of your favorite hotels or locations in the comments below? One of my latest wins I am able to select where I want to go? I am looking for suggestions of some of your favorite International places to visit?