Recommended place to stay:
Hotel Maria Cristina
San Sebastian, Basque Country, Spain|www.marriott.com|
Official star rating:
Built by Charles Mewes, the architect of the Ritz Paris and Ritz Madrid, San Sebastian’s grandest hotel was named in honour of its first guest, the Regent Maria Cristina.
To celebrate its centenary in 2012, it underwent a massive facelift, buffing up the opulent Belle Epoque rooms that have played host to movie stars galore during the city’s annual Film Festival.
Located in the heart of town, it’s as suited to first-time visitors as Hollywood heartthrobs, with spacious bedrooms and lovely views of the water.
There’s a sumptuous breakfast buffet in the elegant dining room, a royally plush bar and terrace, and Café Saigon restaurant with an all-Asian menu.
It’s an easy walk to the beach and the buzzy bars and restaurants in the old town. Its neighbour on the elegant riverfront paseo is the equally opulent Victoria Eugenia Theatre, which plays host to the Film Festival.
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Fascinating ancient traditions, world-famous gourmet treats, Spain’s finest wine region and a gorgeous golden coastline.