We stayed at the Hotel Maria Cristina in March 2014 as part of a holiday through Spain. This was one of the best hotel choices we have made.
Arriving by car, a short 1 hour or so drive from Bilbao, we entered the driveway of the Hotel at its impressive river front entrance and were greeted at the door by the porter, who assisted with parking our car at the public carpark just next to the hotel. The lobby and reception area was absolutely beautiful, decorated in beautiful classical style. Receiving a warm greeting and welcome by the receptionist, our check in was completed very swiftly, and we were assured a large room with a lovely view, which would be ready for us in under half an a hour. The concierge then took over seamlessly, handing us a map of the city, and then provided us with a map of must-try pintxo bars and a list of items that we should order at each place, which we found to be most useful.
2 hours later, after a short stroll through the old town and a quick but satisfying visit into some of the recommended pintxo bars, we returned to the hotel to check into our room and to freshen up. We were shown to a room on the third floor, an absolutely beautiful room overlooking the riverfront and the Kursaal. Spacious, HUGE king size bed, large bathroom and a little window alcove, we were more than happy with the size of the room. Generous wardrobe space hidden behind beautiful wood panelling, seating area by the window alcove, large wood carved desk and flat screen TV. Marble-top cabinet under the flat screen TV revealed an assortment of barware and glassware and mini bar. Bed was astoundingly large, it was wider than it was long, and soft plush pillow top mattress which afforded an incredibly good nights' rest.
Bathroom were sparkling clean, separate shower and bathtub, plenty of fluffy white towels and heated towel rack , amenities were generous and well thought out. Rain shower yielded even consistent pressure and temperature.
Housekeeping standards are high and consistent, turn down service at night is always done, complete with weather forecast, bottled water and chocolates.
Breakfast was included in our hotel rate, and the spread was above par. Plenty of choices for food, and fresh orange juice was served along with tea and coffee.
Location-wise, it cannot be beat. It is not directly in front of the playa la concha, which I feel keeps the crowd and noise level to a minimum and affords guests peace and quiet and a sense of exclusivity, yet the beach is but a short 5 minute walk away through the main street. Round the corner from the hotel is the old town with its maze of narrow streets and alleys, and tucked into them are the true jems of San Sebastian, some of the best pintxo bars I have ever visited.
Concierge was most helpful in providing directions, ideas on sightseeing, making reservations at top restaurants. Each day when we returned to the hotel, we were always approached by a member of the concierge team to enquire whether we enjoyed their recommendation. We truly appreciated their efforts in ensuring our visit to San Sebastian was an enjoyable one.
My one complaint would be the sound which somehow manages to permeate through the walls, we could occasionally hear music, muffled conversation and tv sounds from the next room.
Parking is expensive however, and the system with which the hotel charges parking is slightly complicated. In the end, we opted to park the car on our own rather than go through the hotel, which we understood attracted an additional valet charge and applicable taxes. While this did not detract from our enjoyment of our time to San Sebastian our or stay at the hotel, one recommendation I would make is perhaps the hotel can consider offering free parking, or at least parking at subsidized rates.
So are we going to return to this hotel and to this stunning magnificent city? It's a resounding YES!
- 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