San Sebastian, Spain
Hotel Maria Cristina
A Luxury Collection Hotel
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What it is
A 1912 icon revamped for modern-day glitterati.
What it isn't
Staid. Guest rooms are fitted with enough pink and purple touches (and plush velvet upholstery) to do former guest Elizabeth Taylor proud.
What we think
The most lauded elements of the Belle Époque are back in this storied hideaway, original designed by French architect Charles Mewès of Paris Ritz fame. Expect ornate interior design, with gilding and glitzy crystal at every turn, a grand sweeping staircase and 136 posh but crisp rooms; a recent top-to-bottom renovation has kept fustiness at bay. Book the terrace suite for private chaise longues with bird's-eye views of the turquoise Bay of Biscay. This being San Sebastian, cuisine is a priority. French chef Hélène Darroze has done pop-up restaurants at the hotel, and don’t miss at least one dinner at Cafe Saigon, where you can tuck into your crunchy prawn spring rolls while overlooking the Victoria Eugenia Theatre—opened in 1912, the same year as the hotel.
You're here because
You finally landed tables at Arzak and Martin Berasategui, and you need a place to recover in style.
You always forget souvenirs until the Last Possible Second; thankfully, the property’s Mimo shop is stocked for the Spanish shopaholic. Now, a bigger problem: How many bottles of local olive oil and Ferrán Adrià molecular gastronomy kits will clear customs?
Restaurants & Bars
Cafe Saigon - Asian haute cuisine restaurant
DRY - Martini Bar with pintos (local tapas-style dishes)
Between white sand beaches and the Urumea River in downtown San Sebastian, just an hour’s drive from the Bilbao airport (five hours if you’re coming from Madrid). Don’t leave town without stopping by the Balenciaga Museum.