An exclusive retreat 15 minutes from San Sebastián, the Akelarre Hotel is set in an enviable location with unspoiled views of the sea and an acclaimed three-Michelin-starred restaurant.
Hotel Maria Cristina
A historic hotel on the edge of San Sebastián's old town, Hotel Maria Cristina has welcomed the global elite since its opening in 1912. Renovated in a contemporary but sympathetic style, the hotel has retained its original grandeur while still providing modern luxury. Revolving doors lead into a grand, marble lobby where uniformed doormen are on hand to help with luggage.
The 136 rooms feature elegant design elements such as soft linens in fresh whites and muted purples, sparkling chandeliers and a vibrant artwork behind each bed. En suite bathrooms provide deep soaking tubs with showers, sleek marble and tile decor, and comfy robes and slippers. Rooms also provide complimentary Wi-Fi, air conditioning and flat-screen TVs.
A buffet breakfast is served in the former grand ballroom, adorned with the original gilt stuccowork. There is also the Dry San Sebastián Bar, serving cocktails and light bites, as well as Café Saigon, departing from typical Basque cuisine and serving finely-crafted Asian fare. In addition to the attractive dining options, the hotel offers cooking classes, a gourmet food shop and a gym. The hotel also provides towels to use the nearby beaches and free bikes to explore the heart of the city.
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Rooms are decorated to follow the traditional Belle Époque of its 1912 opening, albeit with all contemporary conveniences and a modern, designer makeover. Plush white bedding contrasts with muted purples and pinks in the fabrics and soft furnishings. There is also a coordinating contemporary artwork hanging above each bed. En suite bathrooms are large and feature marble fixtures, deep tubs and a comfy set of robes and slippers. Complimentary Wi-Fi, air conditioning and flat-screen TVs come as standard.
The hotel enjoys an enviable location overlooking the Urumea River, within a ten minute walk of two of San Sebastián’s excellent beaches. Well-located for exploring the city, the hotel is right next to the narrow streets of the old town, famed for their huge selection of pintxos bars.
Food and drink
The Dry San Sebastián Bar serves cocktails and light bites throughout the day with a menu consisting of Basque pintxos (regionally-styled tapas) and Chinese dim sum, as well as a stylish afternoon tea. For dinner, Café Saigon serves creative Asian cuisine. Alternatively, San Sebastián’s wide array of restaurants are just a short walk away.
Facilities and activities
Keeping in step with San Sebastián’s renowned food culture, the hotel boasts an excellent cooking school and gourmet shop selling Basque specialties. Additionally the hotel has a well-equipped gym.
Though not all areas are fully accessible to guests with disabilities, the hotel offers specially-outfitted accessible rooms with roll-in showers, visual fire alarms, doorbells and wide doors to allow easy mobility.
For anyone looking for a taste of the Belle Époque alongside elegant, contemporary luxury, the Hotel Maria Cristina is our recommended choice. We find the polished service to of a high level.
Places & hotels on the map
Alternative places to stay nearby
Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favourite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.
A San Sebastián institution welcoming guests for well over 100 years, Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra offers impeccable service, old-world charm and a beachfront location. It is a convenient spot for a seaside stay close to the heart of the town.
A grand converted manor dating from 1898, Villa Soro offers warm, inviting rooms just outside the heart of San Sebastián. Its relaxed atmosphere, understated style and muted tones combine to create an intimate character in an elegant setting.
Experiences while staying here
The following activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences of the area where you’re staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident’s eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can also suggest outdoor pursuits and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the traditions of the area’s inhabitants.
As part of this hands-on half-day cooking class in San Sebastián, you’ll learn about the culinary heritage of the Basque Country. You get an introduction to typical ingredients and dishes from the region, and cook a multi-course meal, paired with local wines.
Industrial hub turned cultural hothouse, Bilbao is home to Frank Gehry’s groundbreaking Guggenheim as well as a lively cultural and culinary scene. On this tour, you explore the city with a private guide for an insight into its changing fortunes and engineering marvels.
You’ve an opportunity to sample some of the best pintxos in the Basque Country on this half-day tour of San Sebastián. You’ll try a wide range of typical local dishes with the help of an expert guide, as you wander from bar to bar.