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“It was a palace, why expect less”

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Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Sebastian
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
60 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“It was a palace, why expect less”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 May 2010

It was my second time in the city but the first for staying an extended amount of time. And what a place to spend two weeks. No complaints in any aspect. The staff always helpful and cordial. Restaurant staff attentive and kept breakfast filled up. The location itself could not be better. Just steps away from one of the main beaches and all other points in the city are accessible by public transportation. A true gem in the summer, as the first time I went it was early in fall. A big difference, a great place in northern Spain regardless.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Chillinathtown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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Andernos-les-Bains, France
Level Contributor
141 reviews
98 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 135 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 May 2010

It's a nice hotel, but it doesn't deserve its 5 stars. Our room (a junior suite) had seen better days. The service was ok, but not perfect because of a shortage of staff. The location is great and the breakfast buffet is wonderful.

I would say that overall, it is a good experience, but in this price range the expectation is higher.

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank TNH33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Walsall
Level Contributor
89 reviews
58 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 163 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 April 2010

The Maria Cristina remains a fine hotel, with an overwhelmingly friendly and eager to please staff, especially at reception and in the breakfast buffet (excellent and varied food). I can however see the potential for criticism that has been apparent in some other reviews of the hotel, but to be fair, few of those faults affected us during our ten day stay from the 5th of April.
It is rare to find a hotel of its type in such an enviable position, within two minutes of an upmarket shopping centre, within three minutes of an excellent eating quarter ( super tapas bars and a range of restaurants up to three Michelin stars ) and within a five minute walk of some of the finest city beaches in Europe…and clean, even to the extent of one beach (Playa de Zurriola ) being categorised as naturist friendly, with both sexes taking advantage of that fact… and in mid-April!
We brought our own car over to Santander with Brittany ferries and used the excellent and mostly very scenic (except around Bilbao) A8 motorway for the 2 ½ hour journey to San Sebastian/Donastia. A car is essential to explore the beautiful corniche coastline and the spectacular inland areas of Navarre, go to the monastery at Leyre and the stunningly restored castle town of Olite with the added advantage of very helpful staff at the vineyard outlets (bodegas) on its outskirts. Superb wine is available to taste and buy at very low prices (from about e2.40 a bottle), my wife did most of the tasting though as drink/drive laws are strictly enforced. The A15 motorway again makes driving easy to the interior, with no toll until you reach Pamplona. One word of caution, there is little parking available in San Sebastian, but the hotel has its own spaces reserved in the new and very safe underground car parks…but at a price of around e20 a day plus e8 for valet parking if you require it. Driving in the city is quite straightforward once you are used to the one way system and the fact that all traffic lights work together along a stretch of road.
The rooms in the hotel do reflect the hotels status, well appointed marble bathrooms and spacious bedroom with giant bed and sitting area plus new flat screen TV. We had an excellent fourth floor room with a view of the sea and river. Remember that San Sebastian is a city that is active well into the early hours, so noise will drift up unless you keep your window closed…not always practicable as the rooms do tend to retain heat. The main drawback to the hotel, although with so many food outlets within a few minutes walk its hardly a disaster, is the lack of local cuisine. The only restaurant available at the hotel during our stay was the Vietnamese, good though it undoubtedly is, it does not reflect the enormous potential of Basque food. Local food is available in limited quantities through room service and in small doses at the bar, but we were ‘forced’ to use the tapas bars and restaurants in the old town. Again the fact that most restaurants do not open until 8.30 or 9.00 is a disadvantage….but then that is why tapas bars came into being to provide early evening appetizers, so I won’t complain too much. If you want a simple, but excellent early evening meal, try the fish restaurants by the harbour, I highly recommend 'Marinela' , we had fresh turbot on one occasion, simply cooked with olive oil and garlic, served with mini roasted potatoes and washed down with local beer….brilliant!

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank bobwood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
brighton
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 March 2010

Just got back from a week long stay in San Sebastian, this hotel is the key headline hotel in the town and it is perfectly positioned to take advantage of everything the area has to offer. A few specific comments:

There are one or two great staff at the hotel, in particular Ane Ibarzabal on reception and doorman Juan Antonio Migueliz (Juantxo), if they are on duty then you are sure of good stay, some of the other staff were not as good

Contrary to some other reviewers, I thought the hotel decor was in good shape overall, the only big issue is the plumbing. We had our toilet overflow which was not pleasant and the hot water takes a long time to come through in the morning

Food in the hotel is very expensive which seems a bit pointless as it is so cheap and good in restaurants in the town that most people seem to eat out. As an aside we were a bit disappointed with some of the Pintxos bars in the old town and a Spanish friend directed us to better bars such as Lagar and Milcatas which are on the other side of the river

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank gracesheraton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tampa, Florida, USA
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 March 2010

We stayed at the Hotel Maria Cristina for two nights while experiencing San Sebastian and the Basque country. The location is excellent -- walking distance to the beach, shopping, and the pinxos district. The staff at the hotel was really top-notch. They were helpful in every way. In fact, my husband was not feeling well so one of the front-desk staff called her personal physician to come to the hotel and even served as translator. Every request we made was fulfilled immediately.

Our suite was very large with two separate rooms. We had two small balconies overlooking the square with a view of the river and the ocean. The decor was lovely, and the bathroom was huge and well-appointed. They already had the roll-away bed for our daughter made up in the outer room. And speaking of beds...ours was incredibly comfortable. Best sleep we had on our trip!

The room in which breakfast is served is elegant, sunny, and has a wonderful view. The breakfast buffet was delicious. We also had afternoon tea, which was quite nice. All of the common areas have an old-world elegance -- beautiful lobby, grand staircase, cozy hotel bar, etc.

The one drawback is the restaurant. We can't comment on the food, because we were unable to eat in it! We asked the front desk for a reservation and were told that we had a table at 8:00, but when we arrived at the restaurant we were quite rudely turned away and told that the front desk is unable to make reservations. The hotel manager on duty attempted to convince them to seat us (in a completely empty restaurant, by the way), but they refused. It turns out that the restaurant is separately owned and managed. So, we ended up having to order room service because it was too late to go out with our young daughter. Hotel management apologized for the problem, but made no offer to pay for room service or otherwise make up for it.

Despite that mix-up, however, we had a really great experience and would strongly recommend the hotel.

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Cheryl F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 February 2010

First, I have to admit the service at reception was superb throughout our stay. The problems lay with the dated rooms/amenities, and service in the out-sourced spa and restaurant. Do not expect 5-star anything beyond what you experience with the front desk. Room service was overpriced and absolutely mediocre. Spa management did not provide clean towels or water in the gym after 2 requests in a 1.5 hour period. In fact, they consider window cleaner as a sanitizer for the equipment. Disgusting. Food at Cafe Saigon was very nice (I know - eating at a hotel in one of the world's food capitals!!??? It was cold and we were tired), but the server was almost rude towards my traveling companion who could not understand very well. Empty floral vases and dirty carpet throughout public areas gave the impression of desperate times. Never again, even with the generous suite upgrade.

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MySpecialPerspective
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 December 2009

Although it was just a short stay, booked with points and subsequently upgraded to a wonderful suite (Starwood Platinum member), the experience was memorable, as one should expect in that location. No detail is left outside at this hotel; everything about it inspires European style, tradition and ultimately luxury. Great staff, perfect location, wonderful views, outstanding rooms, really close to greatness.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank marcopolotoronto
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 Luxury Hotel in San Sebastian - Donostia
#1 Business Hotel in San Sebastian - Donostia
#1 Romantic Hotel in San Sebastian - Donostia
#1 On the Beach Hotel in San Sebastian - Donostia
#1 Family 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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