Born in Athens, Markos and Alexandros Chaidemenos spent childhood summers and holidays in Santorini’s idyllic Oia Village getting lost among the caves and nooks and in search of hidden swimming spots. Their parents, Yiannis and Anna, had inherited two 17th-century caves and had the early vision to transform those caves, originally used to store wine, into a luxury boutique hotel. In 1983, they became one of the first families to introduce tourism to the fishing village of Oia when Canaves Oia Boutique Hotel was born. The Chaidemenos’ whitewashed suites with dramatic views of the caldera quickly became iconic and helped to shape the romantic image of the island and its luxury aesthetic.
The family continued to invest and that two-cave hotel evolved into 18 rooms to become the ideal hideaway for romantic couples and newlyweds, always with warm, Greek hospitality that can only come from a family’s passion for a place and its potential to delight.
With the success of the Boutique Hotel, Canaves Oia Suites followed in 1993. In 2006 the properties underwent their first full renovation, always respecting the island's architecture and natural beauty. Markos, who began working in the family business as a front desk clerk at 16, stepped in to take over in 2010 at the tender age of 22. His passion for travel and people made him a natural ambassador for the brand, which has always empowered their staff to authentically connect with guests. Markos embodies J.MAK’s Hospitality-Personality mantra, as he and his staff live by the credo that personalities are what set boutique properties apart, and make for the most memorable travel experiences.
Under Markos as Managing Director, and now his brother Alexandros as Operations Manager, Canaves continues to expand. In 2015, the Boutique Hotel and Suites underwent their second full renovations. In 2017, Canaves Oia Sunday Suites launched next door. And in 2018, the brand expanded with a new kind of luxury hospitality introducing Canaves Oia Epitome, its first resort built from scratch, this one with earthtones and stone walls in place of the white-stucco aesthetic. That year, the three-villa complex of Eden Villas rounded out the portfolio with a complex ideal for small groups or families looking for the utmost privacy.
Markos’s enthusiasm for the family business, has kept the Canaves brand on the cutting edge, evolving into a luxury collection of five distinct boutique properties with regular recognition in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best and Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards and elsewhere. He attributes this success in part to the concept of “philoxenia,” a love of strangers and eagerness to show hospitality that he says is part of his Greek DNA.
The Canaves Oia Luxury Resorts portfolio includes: