I would like to start by making a personal thanks to Ane Urquia.
Before my stay she secured me reservations at Zuberoa, Etxebarri (including a personal driver for the journey there and back), and Akelarre, (I booked myself at Muagritz).
Not only that but also there was a French ATC strike during my trip, and my return flight to London was from Biarritz. She went above and beyond to find alternative flights and get throughout to my airline to check if my flight was going ahead. When I left the hotel on the last evening, there was no confirmation from the airline if the flight was going ahead, so I asked her to check in the morning for me, she said she would come in early and let me know. Now despite the promise, which Im very much used to from hotel staff, she actually did call me early morning at a reasonable hour and informed me that the French ATC strike had been cancelled, and my flight would be going. Superb and well above and beyond any other concierge I've experienced before.
She also arranged transfers for me, arriving at San Sebastian airport from Madrid and to Biarritz airport, right on time and even came to the door with me to see me off for my departure. I have really never seen a better concierge in my life and I've stayed at much more expensive hotels than this. She was extremely polite and accommodating. I've seen other reviews mentioning Raoul too, I also dealt with him and he is good but can honestly say Ane went above and beyond.
My one main gripe with the hotel (although still 9/10 overall) was the laundry service, they would take my laundry, which I delivered to them daily, promise a return delivery time, but not send it to me hours after, until I called and asked. It so happened that I once was discussing my flight with Ane and they had not delivered my laundry yet, I mentioned this to her, and she quickly ensured that it was sent to my room.
I must say that all the staff were mostly exemplary really. I had shisha at their bar, and they could not make it, at the time I said nothing and paid, but upon check out I mentioned to them that this was not smoking well, and they removed it from my bill without a second blink, similarly they had given me a cocktail voucher on check in, and I was supposed to present the voucher when having the cocktail, however, I forgot to do so, even though I did drink in the bar. I asked if I could present it now, and this was also done without a blink of the eye.
Room service is a little slow, and although they have some 24 hour items on the menu, orders at 2-3am for simple things like anchovies on toast could not be accommodated. Why, I just don't know? Open the tin and put it on the plate.
Room was good, I booked a terrace suite, which perhaps was a little small for €700 per night, but still a good room with a great terrace and comfy bed. Cons would be that the bathroom was not up to standard for a €700 a night room, it was ok for perhaps €200 euro a night room (Paris or London prices), normal shower, small tub, nothing out of the ordinary. Compare Park Hyatt Milan's executive suite shower with a perfectly warm travertine floor, extraordinary smelling Blaise Matin shower products and perfect pressure, and that suite cost me €550 per night).
I am SPG gold, and was not upgraded. I asked at check in, and all the man had to say was that I was in one of the best rooms, well yes, but I had booked one of the most expensive rooms! An upgrade was something entirely different, and I do know for a fact that some of the larger suites were available. Disappointing really that they don't give the promised upgrades to status SPG members. Just a warning to the SPG members out there.
I loved the decor.
The location is very good.
So in summary,
Room rate, London or Paris prices but not even competitive, in bigger cities when charging such prices they know they need to give you something special, this is more like we are the only hotel here at this standard so this is the price
Laundry service, Please do check how the Mandarin oriental Jakarta, Peninsula HK, and many others return laundry, not just timing but quality of the wash and press. 5* charge over the odds for it, and its actually something I look forward to because I have an expensive wardrobe. Return delivery was also disappointing.
Room service, This is 2014. If I want a local common item, like anchovies (you have them in your boutique downstairs) at 3am then I don't expect to be met with difficulty. I guess the world is a little different still outside big cities.
Cleaning service, was hit and miss, sometimes my room was cleaned properly, sometimes looked a little rushed. I am very tidy in hotel rooms, so it was not a long job but that doesn't mean I don't want the room cleaned properly and I will do it myself.
Lack of benefits for SPG gold/platinum members, although this seems common in Spain, the W Barcelona also did not upgrade me from a corner suite to anything better, because they also felt I was already in a good room, well of course I was paying that rate! Hyatt always upgrade me, regardless of how high my booked category is and I really see little point in obtaining tiers in a hotel loyally program if they won't upgrade you when you already book a relatively high room category. I can understand not upgrading those who book the lowest room category, but to not upgrade someone who books the 3rd or 2nd highest category of room is a bit poor.
Its a lovely hotel though, but I must warn you of these issues.
- 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