The grande dame of San Sebastian hotels, the Maria Cristina has occupied a stately building on the banks of the Urumea River in the heart of the town since 1912. Surrounded by promenades and attractive landscape gardens the hotel oozes luxury and as such has attracted a wealth of aristocrats and royalty over the decades, making it the favoured accommodation for international high society (in layman’s terms– it’s dead swanky).

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Harriet, Kate L and Molly are here to help give you the inside track.

All the 136 spacious guestrooms and suites are decorated in a sophisticated palette of greys and white, with a splash of purples (a deferential nod to royalty) and greens. Many rooms come with spectacular views of the river or the Bay of Biscay and all are air-conditioned with marble bathrooms. Family rooms are available and provide extra space for up to two extra beds or cribs. For those wanting the creme de la creme the 1100 sq ft Royal Terrace Suite with its regal rooftop location is the room for you.

In such a famous culinary city it's only appropriate that the Maria Cristina is home to haute cuisine. The Easo Restaurant serves the best breakfast in town with bread, cakes and fruit pastries baked in-house and every morning. Alternatively, Café Saigon offers a nice slice of Asian cuisine with emphasis on Japanese and Vietnamese dishes. The Maria Cristina also does a fine line in cocktails and the DRY Bar, one time haunt of Bette Davis, is the perfect hotspot for an evening tipple.

This prestigious hotel also features a fitness centre and even cooking school, should you want to try and emulate Basque quality cuisine back home.

With the Old Quarter of San Sebastian and the beaches of the picturesque bay just a short walk away there's plenty to see and do here. While the Maria Cristina makes a great base from which to explore this elegant seaside resort day trips further afield are also easily feasible. We can arrange visits to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao or to food markets and beautiful beaches in the less explored parts of the Basque Country.

Why we love it

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The hotel runs a quite frankly fabulous Pinxtos Passport experience where you can purchase a 'passport' containing six tokens that can be traded in at 10 different bars around town for pinxtos (Basque tapas). Think of it as an adult treasure hunt, with the rewards being some of Europe's finest food and a glass of wine.

Harriet, Original Traveller


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Harriet, Kate L and Molly are our Bilbao, San Sebastian and Rioja experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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