San Sebastian, Spain
What it is
The iconic 3-Michelin starred restaurant since 1970 has been newly reborn as a seafront hotel with a topnotch spa.
What it isn't
Tailored to kids and pets. Leave littles at home and enjoy the ultimate in “adulting.”
What we think
When a restaurant has garnered three Michelin stars for more than 13 years running, you know it’s as good as it gets. This one, helmed by Chef Pedro Subijana since 1975, is worthy of the pilgrimage alone, thanks to dreamy dishes like hake in seaweed steam with oyster leaves and prawns on orujo (brandy) fire and sea roe. No surprise that the new hotel’s design, by Studio Mecanismo, is just as inventive and acclaim-ready. Interiors are sleek enough to please Kimye, from the infinity pools to the floor-to-ceiling windows that turn the ocean into a de facto art installation. Rooms are truly ginormous (starting at 538 square feet), and fitted with terraces that face the sundown on the Bay of Biscayne. Also expect luxury amenities galore: a Bang & Olufsen sound system, rain shower, Nespresso machine, and, bliss-of-all-bliss, turn-down service. Want your own heated, indoor/outdoor infinity plunge pool? Upgrade to the Akelarre Suite (speaking of Kimye-ready).
You're here because
You want to experience the warmth of a Spanish finca (estate), but you’re a modernist to the core, and the architecture of Akelarre could double as a MoMa outpost. It doesn’t hurt that there’s also a 700-bottle-deep wine cellar on the premises.
You swore you’d never take a cruise again, but there *is* something so calming about staring out at the sea from a seagull’s-eye-view. So you’re ecstatic when you walk into the hotel’s spa, where floor-to-ceiling walls of windows have views of one thing, and one thing only: a wide panorama over the ocean. You dip under waterfalls in the hydrotherapy pool before your treatments, a Sisley facial and Ayurvedic massage. You may not be able to buy love, but you can buy euphoria.
Restaurants & Bars
AKELARRE Restaurant - the famed 3-Michelin Star tasting menu restaurant by Pedro Subijana
Espazio Oteiza - open daily, this is the gourmet dining venue where guests can have lunch and dinner, as well as enjoy signature cocktails on the ocean view terraces. Think: Cured Iberico’s Ham “5 jotas” and Marinated Fresh Tuna belly with Wasabi Ice Cream
Come hungry. The hotel is 10 minutes along the Basque coast from San Sebastian, reportedly home to more Michelin-starred restaurants than anywhere else on the planet. (Bonus: Akelarre has a gratis shuttle for guests).