7 sumptuous hotels for a luxury stay in San Sebastián

Marti Buckley
There is true grande dame luxury style to be found in San Sebastián , the Spanish beach town turned Michelin hotspot

For over a century, San Sebastián has been a destination for the rich. Queen María Cristina made it her summer home in the early 20th century, sparking a trend in sophisticated summering, as well as an explosion of Belle Époque architecture. With the second-most Michelin stars per capita it's a glutton’s heaven, and its unique Basque customs are on display at every turn, from the L-shaped frontoia (outdoor courts used for community gatherings) to the many celebrations marked by rigorous and strange steps of euskal dantza (a local dance). From the hotel that bears her name to stays that feature the latest in green, sustainable design, San Sebastián maintains its reputation with a variety of hotels for all tastes. Here's our pick of the best luxury hotels in San Sebastián.

Lasala Plaza Hotel, San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain

Lasala Plaza Hotel

San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain

9Telegraph expert rating

Lasala Plaza boasts one of the city's best locations, perched right on La Concha bay – which affords easy access to both the beach and the city centre. The hotel, housed in a building from 1917, has been furnished in wood, copper, marble and seawater tones resulting in one of the city’s most stylish places to stay (one that just so happens to be highly Instagrammable). Of the 58 rooms, 32 have views of the bay. All of them feature big, cushy beds and lovely, plush pillows. Original art pieces and vintage black-and-white photos from the port deck the walls, complemented by chevron-patterned parquet and stylish marble and wood furniture. Read expert review From £278 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

An insider guide to San Sebastián

Hotel María Cristina, San Sebastián, Spain

Hotel María Cristina

San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain

9Telegraph expert rating

Since the eponymous Queen María Cristina was the first to cross its threshold in 1912, this Belle Epoque hotel has catered to the crème de la crème of guests. It has a cinematic quality, on display from the moment the suit and tie-clad staff opens the door for you to reveal a grand chandelier and marble-floored lobby. You won’t want to leave the fresh and elegantly modern rooms, or the bed for that matter – the mattresses, oh the mattresses! All 139 rooms have lovely marble bathrooms, floor-to-ceiling velvet drapes and other regal touches As is fitting for its location in San Sebastián, the Hotel María Cristina shines when it’s time to gather round the table. Read expert review From £474 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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One Shot Tabakalera House hotel, San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain

One Shot Tabakalera House

San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain

8Telegraph expert rating

This is the only hotel in San Sebastián’s for-locals-only neighbourhood of Egia, integrated into the Tabakalera, a former cigarette factory-turned-cultural centre. The gorgeous, traditional stone exterior of the building gives way to a creative and thoughtfully designed interior. Playful details such as decorative copper tubing and swings in the lobby keep things light but seriously stylish. The hotel’s 42 rooms all look out on the street, and their gigantic windows let in loads of light; they feel downright palatial, with soaring ceilings and, in many rooms, balconies. Silencio, the hotel’s below-ground restaurant, offers traditional Spanish bar food with modern touches. Read expert review From £95 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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Villa Soro, San Sebastian, Spain

Villa Soro

San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain

9Telegraph expert rating

Villa Soro and its 25 rooms sit on the outskirts of the city overlooking a lawn and carriageway, as mansions do. An air of classic luxury pervades everything from the Tudor façade to the stained glass and marble-clad lobby; all the ornate details make you feel as if you’re living the pages of The Great Gatsby, including a floor-to-ceiling fireplace that gets fired up in colder months. Furniture is all period-style and regal, upholstered in khaki corduroy. Rooms feature what is now a rarity in hotels in Spain: carpeted floors – the thin, brown carpet feels great underfoot. Read expert review From £139 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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Arima Hotel, San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain

Arima Hotel

San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain

9Telegraph expert rating

Arima emulates a Scandi sensibility, with interior details that are very Zen: soft indie music playing in the stylishly lit hallways, and floor-to-ceiling windows in the common areas that cast the Nordic-style furniture in a gorgeous light. In the 69 rooms, everything is white and light wood, with botanical prints hanging on the walls. Logistics like lights and blinds are all controlled from a single panel. Arima cleverly positions itself in a city full of Michelin stars with its fine-dining option, Misura. The food has many of the marks of the city's top restaurants; sous vide cooking, elaborate plating, tasting menus – but it's unabashedly health-focused and veggie forward. Read expert review From £152 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Where to eat in Michelin-mad San Sebastián

Akelarre, San Sebastian

Akelarre

San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain

9Telegraph expert rating

Architecture studio Mecanismo has sourced top-quality natural materials to create sensual, spacious interiors to go alongside Pedro Subijana’s Akelarre restaurant – which has three Michelin stars, a has been a pioneer new Basque cuisine and the emergence of San Sebastián as a world-class gastronomic hub. Although you can eat à la carte, most people choose one of the three eight-course tasting menus; book ahead to be sure of getting a table. The 22 rooms sprawl across two floors, which are built into the hillside below the restaurant. With a glass wall fronting each room, all have spectacular sea views from both inside and from the slate terraces that run the length of each space. Read expert review From £532 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra, San Sebastian

Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra

San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain

8Telegraph expert rating

One of San Sebastián’s true grande dames, Hotel Londres hangs on to its old-fashioned air both inside and out. All the trappings of Belle Époque beauty are there: gorgeous detailed crown moulding, marble floors, ornate light fixtures, and a great old lift. The rest of the décor is vintage enough to reach a level of agreeable kitsch. The hotel’s 166 rooms are strictly on brand: basic British beach style. Furniture is dark wood with decorative flourishes and brass fittings and fixtures, and walls are decorated with photos and essays (written by the editor of the local paper) on illustrious former guests. Read expert review From £167 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Contributions by Annie Bennett