Top 9 hotels in San Sebastian, Spain: From gorgeous mansions and designer boutiques to historic villas and theatre-inspired hotels

By Tetiana PavlichenkoMar 23, 2024 15:50 PMThe best
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Top 9 hotels in San Sebastian, Spain: From gorgeous mansions and designer boutiques to historic villas and theatre-inspired hotels
Beautiful views and luxurious amenities will be part of your San Sebastian experience. Source: https://www.lasalaplazahotel.com/rooftop-by-lasala-plaza

San Sebastian, a small city in the Basque Country is known primarily for its reputation as the gastronomic capital of the world. The concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants here is higher than in Manhattan. However, beyond that, the coastal city with its stunning sea views, superb city beaches and picturesque streets is a great place for lively vacations with friends, romantic weekends and relaxing family vacations. It has many excellent hotels to suit all tastes and budgets, so every traveller can find San Sebastian accommodation to their liking.

If you plan to spend your time here - whether to devote it to cultural exploration, shopping, beach vacations, or exploring the local culinary scene - you'll be able to find a great place to stay that suits your vacation style, location, and atmosphere for almost every one of these options. This list features the best San Sebastian hotels that will keep you pleasant company on your journey to Spain's coastal region.

1. Nobu San Sebastian

The focus of many of San Sebastian's top hotels is on gastronomy. Nobu is definitely one of them. Great cooking is the main passion of the hotel group's founder Nobu Matsuhisa. Delicious restaurants, elegant interiors and attention to detail harmonize with the hypnotizing seascape. The atmosphere here is in keeping with the San Sebastian way of life: measured and focused on small pleasures. The hotel's main villa, whose original name Villa Eder means "beautiful" in Basque, is located on the Miraconcha promenade. The design is dominated by subtle Japanese simplicity, while some details, such as the distinctive moldings, make reference to the original French palace style. The rooftop terrace with a landscaped pool and views of La Concha Beach makes guests feel like aristocrats from the days when Queen Maria Cristina spent her summers in San Sebastian. The gem of the hotel remains the restaurant, which serves Nobu's favourite classic dishes, from Basque cheesecake to black cod with miso. However, before that, guests will find an extensive drinks list, including an excellent selection of premium cocktails, wine and sake.

2. Mendi Argia

Top 9 hotels in San Sebastian, Spain: From gorgeous mansions and designer boutiques to historic villas and theatre-inspired hotels
The sophisticated boutique hotel has an original interior design. Source: Image Mendiargia.com

This site at the foot of Mount Ulia off the beaten path was originally occupied by Mendi Argia's modest villa. Openhouse Studio renovated it after demolition and transformed it into a sophisticated boutique hotel while preserving the original structure. It has been complemented using oak, black marble, terracotta and modern glass amenities. Due to its location, the hotel offers its guests a unique vantage point: its rooms offer a breathtaking view of the city below. It has several rooms and suites with glass-enclosed bathrooms, terraces overlooking the city and a seasonal swimming pool. Unlike other well-known hotels, it chooses to collaborate with the local culinary scene rather than compete: guests are offered dinner on demand from some of San Sebastian's best restaurants, such as Bodegón Senra and Mirador de Ulía, with the chef personally travelling to the hotel. Mendi Argia also hosts a private tasting of premium national and international wines on the premises in partnership with Curdelón.

3. Hotel Arbaso

The Centro district used to be the commercial and administrative centre of San Sebastián rather than a traveller's haven, but that changed forever with the arrival of the Arbaso among its luxury hotels. The city's coolest hotel is a laid-back boutique in a 19th-century house located on a quiet square next to a neo-Gothic cathedral. Arbaso means "ancestors" in Basque, and this describes the atmosphere here of an authentic experience based on Basque gastronomy and culture. The interior of the suites and exclusive rooms emphasises natural materials, handcrafted and combined with luxurious details, and exudes an elegant austerity. The suites are so spacious they resemble apartments, and their decorative gray balconies offer magnificent views of the cathedral. The hotel's restaurant, Narru, focuses on seasonal produce, local suppliers and offers an original menu of Basque cuisine by chef Iñigo Peña. Arbaso's facilities include a bar, saunas and a gym.

4. Villa Soro

This impressive historic villa, a former summer house on the outskirts of Gros, was an abandoned site until it found new life after being acquired by a family of Catalan hoteliers. Among all the popular hotels in San Sebastian, this one stands out for offering an air of rural charm despite being in the city centre. The villa, established in 1898, has undergone a major renovation, retaining its turn-of-the-century atmosphere as part of its charm. Its interior has retained some original details, such as the vintage roof of the central hall, the antique parquet flooring and the carved wooden staircase. These have been complemented by elegant furniture and carefully selected works of Basque art. Today, this villa has 25 well-maintained rooms (15 of which are located in the main building and another 10 in converted old stables), a beautiful terrace on which one can enjoy sunny days, and cosy lounges with a fireplace. To relax even more, it's worth taking a stroll in the Pierre Ducasse-designed garden or checking out Wellbeing's treatment and massage rooms.

5. Lasala Plaza

Top 9 hotels in San Sebastian, Spain: From gorgeous mansions and designer boutiques to historic villas and theatre-inspired hotels
The rooms offer beautiful views of the city and harbour. Source: Image Lasalaplazahotel.com

The stately 1917 building, made of golden sandstone typical of San Sebastian, houses one of the new luxury hotels. One side of it faces the quiet square of the old part of the city and the other side faces the bustling old harbour. This dual location is in keeping with Lasala Plaza's ambition to bring together the best of San Sebastian: love of gastronomy, culture, the sea and the art of living. The hotel has 58 rooms the interiors o which incorporate references to Basque culture and the sea and use noble materials and wood. The design is inspired by understated French neoclassicism, and the rooms are equipped with modern technology and intelligent systems to maximize guests' comfort. The windows offer views of the bay or the square. The hotel offers its guests a buffet-style breakfast, a bar and a restaurant led by renowned chef Ander Gonzalez with traditional Basque cuisine. However, its most luxurious highlight is located on the rooftop: a unique retreat with solarium and swimming pool where you can enjoy food, sunshine and panoramic views of the bay and the city.

6. Villa Favorita

This cosy, charming and original 19th-century villa is an offshoot of one of San Sebastian's famous Londres hotels. This townhouse is the last remaining gem from the scattering of elegant villas that fringe the former La Concha Bay. Favorita comprises 23 rooms that overlook one of the most beautiful seafronts, La Concha Beach. This is the place to create a special experience, a comfortable and quiet vacation as it is for adult guests only. The bold combination of glamour and sophistication in the decoration of the villa and its rooms belongs to the unrivaled interior designer Rafael Sitges, who has embodied ideas that go beyond the classics. High stucco ceilings, spiked headboards, nautical-style brass details, and mirrored bathrooms make a striking impression that is enhanced by antique furniture. Home to his two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Villa Favorita has found a home for chef Paulo Airaudo, whose kitchen philosophy focuses on using seasonal and reclaiming forgotten ingredients. A 24-hour concierge service is available to make the experience of staying in San Sebastian a personalized one. While Favorita is not the original name of the villa, it suits it just fine.

7. Zinema7

The name of this hotel matches its location. Here, the non-touristy area of Amara was previously home to the Astoria Cinema. The theme of cinema will be a leitmotif throughout your stay here. Each room is named after a famous director or actor, and photos of the winners of the annual local film festival are dotted throughout the hotel. The hotel has a library of movie books and a large collection of disks, and instead of "Do Not Disturb!", the signs read "Silence! We're filming!". The Bistroteca restaurant with ceiling installations made from recycled film stock is on the first floor, and in the lobby, you'll be greeted by a sculpture of Alfred Hitchcock (one of the suites is dedicated to him). This is one of the best themed hotels in Saint Sebastian, and the whole family will love staying here. There's also a cocktail bar with a classic drinks list and a fitness centre. Zinema7 is a family-friendly retreat, so guests travelling with children can request a baby bassinet, bed barriers, and a set of bottle warmers in their room, or, if the family is large, stay in connecting rooms.

8. Hotel Maria Cristina

Top 9 hotels in San Sebastian, Spain: From gorgeous mansions and designer boutiques to historic villas and theatre-inspired hotels
San Sebastian's historic hotels impress with classic glamour. Source: Image Marriott.com

The magnificent Maria Cristina represents a timeless classic and is one of the finest and most famous hotels not only in San Sebastian but in all of Spain. It opened in 1912 and has taken its place as the most glamorous and venerable hotel in the city. Its enviable location on the river overlooking the sea quickly made it a favourite stopover for international high society. The hotel, named after the Queen Regent of Spain, has acquired a rich historical heritage, which is carefully protected here. It attracts travellers with the splendor of the Belle Epoque, embodied in exquisitely decorated rooms and suites with chic furnishings, romantic paintings and modern amenities. It's a great choice for a stylish city break, such as during the San Sebastian Film Festival. Suites with authentic design give a better feel of the city and offer views of the river or its old neighbourhoods. Family rooms can accommodate up to 4 people, while larger companies can book suites with several bedrooms and a living room.

9. Akelarre

The countryside village of Igeldo between the suburbs of San Sebastian and a charming hilltop village is known for three things: growing young peas, a cable car and one of the city's three most legendary restaurants, the three Michelin-starred Akelarre. The latter's owner Pedro Subijana had long dreamed of adding a small hotel to his establishment, and in 2017 he brought the idea to life. However, the modernist construction of the building, designed by Madrid-based designers, with its cube-shaped forms and cladding of rough gray slate, has certainly surpassed notions of a typical restaurant with rooms, presenting one of San Sebastian's most stylish hotels. The five-star boutique with magnificent sea views has 22 rooms with minimalist interiors. Their mirrored windows make the space feel even more expansive and airy. The main attraction of the hotel is, naturally, the Akelarre restaurant. However, aside from it, it has an excellent spa, and activities include visits to San Sebastian Cathedral nearby and walks along the picturesque coastline. In this quiet bucolic location, it's easy to forget that you're just 10 minutes from the busy city.

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