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“Simply the best. We will be back”

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Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Sebastian
Certificate of Excellence
Northern Ireland
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Simply the best. We will be back”
Reviewed 18 July 2011

From the minute we arrived at the hotel, we were impressed by the warmth of the staff and the luxury of the surroundings. The receptionists could not have been more helpful or friendly giving the impression that they were delighted to be of service to us.

The deluxe room was exceptional in every way. The huge bathroom was luxurious. The bed was exceptional and the living space was most generous.

The concierges were exceptional and provided the very best advice on places to eat at, and visit. On our first night, we enjoyed a fantastic meal in the beautiful Saigon restaurant.

I cannot speak highly enough about the quality of our stay and we will most certainly be back.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank CCMCL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Irvine, California
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 July 2011

The Hotel Maria Cristina in San Sebastian is a legend of a place. While it still enjoys its incredible location (there really is not another place that can hold a candle to it in terms of convenience to everything) its decor and amenities are in serious need of an upgrade. It would not surprise me if the carpet, wallpaper, drapes, bathrooms etc. have not been upgraded in over 30 years. That is just too long for a 5-star hotel and lowers the overall feel to a 4-star at best.

Our room was a contrast - on one hand we enjoyed an absolutely beautiful river view with a nice little balcony to overlook Gros and the ocean to the left. On the other hand, there was evidence of holes that had been punched in the walls and poorly repaired with some patching and unmatched paint. The carpet was old, worn and ragged. The bathroom looked like something from the 1970s. It felt and looked like the Spanish economy - worn and in a recession - in desperate need of financial aid.

The staff was very nice and well trained - particularly in reception and in the bar. However, there were clearly moments of understaffing (or inattentiveness) not characteristic of a 5-star hotel. Long lines at check-out due to there only being one person manning the desk (as an example). We could all see two or three additional staff in the "back room" - but apparently there shift had not started so they did not help out.

San Sebastian itself is a town that probably warrants 2 days rather than the 4 we gave it. It was overwhelmed by backpackers in their 20s - staying at Pensions and filling the pinchos bars. It gave the town a youth-hostel appearance and feeling which was somewhat disappointing. Also, the cleanliness of the town and the food left something to be desired. Plates of mayonaise based seafood dishes sat out on the counters for hours without airconditioning (it was over 100 degrees F outside). The pinchos were left out on the bars for anyone to touch - and with the heat and "interesting" unclean element, seemed to be something of a health risk. While we are adventurous, we definitely like to avoid food-poisoning and diarrea as much as possible.

The beaches and aquarium were very nice as were the vistas that rewarded a hike up the mountain to the Statue of Christ. The old ruins of the castle provided hours of interesting exploration in relative solitude. The vistas of the Ocean and beaches as well as the surrounding area from up high were fantastic. We loved the Basque culture and food.

The fine dining of San Sebastian is truly great - and our dinners (particularly at Zuberoa) were times of many ooohs and aahhs. Again, though, two nights (and two such dinners) is probably enough for most.

Overall, though, to any traveller who enjoys adventure but also likes comfort and cleanliness - we would recommend Biarritz, France which is a short 20 minute trip by train from San Sebastian. Biarritz is an absolutely gorgeous, classy beach town, with all the great food (combining French classical with Basque - a VERY great combination) and is much cleaner than San Sebastian and lacks the grungy backpacking element. If you want to go to San Sebastian, it is a very close and easy trip with frequent trains.

Overall, while the Maria Cristina provides solitude and peace from a busy, hot and somewhat dirty old town and Gros, it also reflects the recession and difficult times Spain is experiencing. It is in desperate need of an interior re-design - and if that were done it would be an extraordinary hotel. It has all the raw materials - but at this point it is just an aging, tired beauty.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Rooster64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 29 June 2011

An ideal location at the edge of a charming Old Town and near a broad sweep of beach and shoreline. We found the staff extremely helpful with restaurant reservations and other requests. We would return in a minute.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank plktraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CA
Level 5 Contributor
46 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 June 2011

We stayed here for 3 nights and had a great time. Hotel was grand. Most of the staff were knowledgeable. Location was excellent right next to the old town about 2 blocks away, easy for pinxtos hopping. Bed was comfortable Westin standards. Bathroom was large and spacious. We would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank brigdo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
co.kerry
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 June 2011

The rooms were super t the staff we so helpful and friendly. There were six of in the group and I know I can speak for all of us, we were a short walk to a lovely beach and the breakfast was to die for FULL MARKS FOR THIS HOTEL

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank bebellebabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 June 2011

5 stars! Will definitely go back. We stayed at MC for two nights and then extended our stay. We booked just outside the peak season so we didn't pay what looks like to be full price but the hotel is really exceptional. The staff were very accommodating and the rooms made you feel like royalty. My wife didn't want to get out of the bed because it was so comfortable. Very clean, amazing breakfasts and very close to the old and new town. Only negatives were the spa downstairs (associated but not the hotel's) and the fact that you had to pay for wifi in the rooms....oh and parking in San Sebastian is 24 euros for 24 hours with few options. But overall, highly recommend it!

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mannes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Antonio, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 June 2011

What a lovely, grand old hotel, restored inch-by-inch. A Starwood property, I think. Our room was huge, with lofty ceilings and a view of the river. Gigantic bed with crisp, white linens. The bathroom was just short of obscenely elegant. The bar was a great place for a quiet drink before hitting the streets for tapas and maybe dinner (ask the bartender to open the French doors and let the sea breeze in). The breakfast buffet was perfect, though most mornings we ended up taking juice and a croissant in a quiet square near the market. The hotel staff anticipates your every need. On our day of departure we left our baggage with the doorman, telling him that we were going for a stroll and would want a taxi at 1:00, please. When we returned, a private car and driver were waiting, and the doorman had our bags ready to go in the trunk.

If I had to dig up some criticisms, they would be these. First, if you want arctic-blast air conditioning, don't go to Europe. Neither this hotel nor any other will meet your needs. Second, security is weak.. Any credit card will operate the elevators, and there's a grand staircase that accesses every floor. But I don't think that matters: San Sebastian is just not a city where that would worry you, and there are always staff in the lobby keeping an eye on things.

I loved the hotel. And San Sebastian.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank captainjackhays
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Sebastian

Property: Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Sebastian
Address: Paseo Republica Argentina, 4, 20004 San Sebastian - Donostia, Spain
Phone Number:
Region: Spain > Basque Country > Province of Guipuzcoa > San Sebastian - Donostia
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in San Sebastian - Donostia
#1 Family Hotel in San Sebastian - Donostia
#1 Luxury Hotel in San Sebastian - Donostia
#1 Romantic Hotel in San Sebastian - Donostia
#1 Business Hotel in San Sebastian - Donostia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Sebastian 5*
Number of rooms: 136
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A Century of Elegance in San Sebastian - Since opening in 1912 the restored Hotel Maria Cristina has been closely linked to the history and cultural life of San Sebastian. The lavish Belle Epoque interior is filled with soaring columns, 19th-century portraits, rich silk brocades and glorious chandeliers making for a truly opulent experience.Experience gracious hospitality on a grand scale in the hotel's rooms and suites. Decorated in a sophisticated palette of greys and white, the rooms are a quiet haven of luxury. Style, technology and a dazzling range of services which combined make for an unforgettable stay. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Maria Cristina Hotel

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