San Sebastian, Spain somehow managed to stay off the radar until only just recently, despite its incredible cuisine, beautiful city beaches and impressive mountain backdrop. The secret of this gorgeous Basque town was discovered by more, after it was named 2016’s European Capital of Culture, and featured recently in Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown.” If you’d like to see what the hoopla is all about, consider a stay in one of San Sebastian’s most impressive hotels.
Hotel Arrizul Congress (Prices & Photos)
This stylish and contemporary urban hotel forgoes facilities, and occasionally space, instead favoring exceptional personalized concierge service that starts with complimentary Champagne at check-in, along with attention to detail and an impressive design. Set in the laid-back neighborhood of Gros, Hotel Arrizul Congress is just across the river from Old Town, steps away from a number of outstanding bars, and a short walk from Zurriola Beach, the liveliest stretch of sand in San Sebastian, hosting surfing championships and surf lessons as well as volleyball, beach tennis and all sorts of other sports. While the hotel itself lacks a pool, the fact that the beach is just a few blocks away makes it rather unimportant. With it right in the heart of the local pintxo scene, guests have a myriad of dining options nearby as well.
Hotel Maria Cristina (Prices & Photos)
The exclusive Hotel Maria Cristina has been around for a little more than a century, and it’s played host to everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Brad Pitt over the decades. It oozes elegant charm – built in 1912, the architecture is impressive, including the lavish Belle Epoque interior, with its soaring columns, 19th-century portraits, sparkling chandeliers, ornate cornicing, rich silk brocades, and expanses of marble, while the modern guest rooms feature a monochrome palette, evoking Hollywood’s golden age. Guests enjoy spectacular views over the Mediterranean and easy access to both the best beaches in San Sebastian and the historic center. The highlight, however, is its haute cuisine – in a city renowned for its food, Hotel Maria Cristina offers the chance to sample some of the best, allowing guests to discover both Basque and international fare. Its contribution to gastronomy now also includes a San Sebastian cooking school, along with an excellent gourmet shop.
Hotel Villa Soro (Prices & Photos)
This intimate 25-room hotel is housed in a 19th-century townhouse. It offers luxury lodgings in a desirable, upmarket area of the city, just minutes away from Zurriola beach and the old town, and is surrounded by some of the city’s best restaurants, including the internationally-renowned Arzak, which is just 500 yards away. Guests appreciate the cozy wood fires, relaxed atmosphere, and spacious bedrooms, which include a Nepresso machine, bathrobes, and slippers as well as spacious bathrooms with high-end toiletries. DVDs are available to borrow when you want to enjoy relaxing in your room, and bicycles are offered too, for enjoying San Sebastian on two wheels. Other highlights include a fully-equipped gym, free Wi-Fi and room service, with a short menu featuring tasty dishes reflecting the rich culinary traditions of the city.
Hotel La Galería (Prices & Photos)
La Galeria sits within a 19th-century French-style building on the seafront along Ondarreta Beach, with both the historic center and famous La Concha beach only steps away. Guests enjoy views of magnificent La Concha Bay, and rooms that are uniquely designed, focused on various artists like Dali, Renoir, and Picasso, with a reproduction painting by the artist adorning the headboard, along with period furniture that gives each one a distinct personality. All rooms include a private bathroom, air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, minibar and complimentary Wi-Fi. Bicycles are available to rent
NH Collection San Sebastián Aránzazu (Prices & Photos)
This upscale property is just a 10-minute walk from La Concha Beach and oozes glamor throughout. You’ll find small touches of luxury nearly everywhere you look, despite the rather nondescript exterior. While it sits in the off-the-beaten-path neighborhood of Antiguo, this elegant hotel decorated in timeless woods and marbles is surrounded by some of the area’s grandest homes, and hosts its own restaurant, Kukuarri, serving Basque cuisine, as well as a popular bar that’s great for mingling with locals and tourists alike. Enjoy people watching from the terrace that overlooks Zubimusu Park, known as the city’s hotspot for beautiful people, as well as working out at the state-of-the-art gym with picturesque views. Modern rooms are spacious and feature minibars, flat-screen TVs, air conditioning and Wi-Fi.
Hotel Punta Monpas (Prices & Photos)
Situated in the historic center on Zurriola Beach, popular with local surfers and other active beachgoers, the Hotel Punta Monpas offers minimalist, modern rooms in a laid-back setting, most of which offer views of the sea and Urgull Mountain. All include free Wi-Fi, TV, and air conditioning, as well as hairdryers, minibars, and room service. Some are split level and include a seating area upstairs. The hotel is surrounded by hip cafes and bars, catering to a more youthful crowd that likes to hang out at Zurriola, although it welcomes travelers of all types.
Hotel Astoria 7 (Prices & Photos)
The Astoria 7 is one of a number of hotels that pay homage to San Sebastian’s famed film festival, but it truly tops them all as a temple to the seventh art. Each room celebrates a different movie star, and the hotel features a screening room downstairs where guests can request a movie of their liking, as well as a library that boasts an extensive selection based on movie themes and personalities. There’s even a life-sized Alfred Hitchcock to greet you at reception. It’s also ideally located, set within the heart of the entertainment district, with cafes, restaurants, and nightlife only steps away, while the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Anoeta Football Stadium and the Maria Cristina Bridge, are all within walking distance too. The onsite cafeteria serves up a Spanish-style, complimentary breakfast buffet.
Hotel Niza (Prices & Photos)
Hotel Niza, owned by the family of sculptor Eduardo Chillida, one of the city’s favorite sons, enjoys a privileged location right on the beach along La Concha Bay and still retains many of its original features from its opening era, like the elegant 1911 elevator and numerous Chillida artworks. The 40 exclusive rooms offer modern comforts including plasma TVs, some with views of the sea and others with views of the square, while the culinary offerings delight all of the senses, in fact, when it comes to breakfast, there is nowhere better to be than the hotel’s Bar Biarritz, which overlooks Concha and the glistening waters beyond. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the facility.
Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra (Prices & Photos)
This luxury hotel was inspired by French gamblers who were sneaking over the border to satisfy their urges in the nearby casino, which is the city hall today, and it hasn’t changed a whole lot in the interim. Reminiscent of hotels on the southern shores of England, it’s biggest selling point is arguably its fantastic position on the bay of La Concha. The historic building features a variety of rooms, including deluxe sea view rooms where you can wake up to the sounds of the waves, and new attic rooms that offer terraces with a large Jacuzzi for soaking while taking in the awe-inspiring panoramic view of the Bay of Biscay. All feature free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, flat screen TVs with international channels, room service, bathrobes and slippers, tea/coffee service and more.