Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Sebastian
10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Not what everyone says...
"This hotel gets rave reviews but when my family and I stayed there over the Christmas holiday there was MAJOR construction surrounding the hotel making it difficult to find, park, and walk to and from... The first suite we saw was dirty and depressing with peeling wallpaper. Although the staff was helpful in trying to find us another, we ended up in a suite not much better than the first. The rooms (or at least ours) needed a major overhaul. I don't understand why people review this hotel so highly."
- Travel date: Fri 30th of March 2007
Construction in October 2006
"Beautiful hotel, great service, huge rooms, but of course you get what you pay for... I chose this hotel because it was the only hotel in San Sebastian that would allow my small dog. The hotel was wonderful, but it should be for the price.
The shower was not impressive. The bathroom was cavernous and there was shower/bath "area" with a tub at one end and shower at the other all covered by a curtain. The result -- you close the curtain and can hardly see a thing!
Also, as of October 2006, the plaza next door is undergoing some construction. This means the whole area is fenced off, as is the grass area at the entrance to the hotel, so not partucularly attractive. Also, the work begins at 9:00 a.m. so if you are on side of the hotel overlooking the plaza (which has side views of the river) you will have construction noise. Best views would be straight out at the river. Next, overlooking the plaza (when it's not under construction) which also has river views. The alternative is overlooking the hotel entrance, which has a "garden" area."
- Travel date: Fri 13th of October 2006
Total 5-star elegance & amenities in an amazing city
"We booked the Maria Christina for our three night stay in San Sebastian because all the reviews we read made it sound amazing. And they were all right. The hotel is beautiful and totally elegant. The service was excellent from the very helpful front desk/concierge staff to the room maids. The MC had every amenity including a very nice spa, a warm and welcoming bar, a business center where we used the internet, two fine-dining restaurants, etc. Most impressively, we had the fastest room service we've ever had anywhere. Breakfast was in our room in about ten minutes after our call. When I requested a larger coffee cup so I could make my own latte from the espresso and hot milk I had ordered, the waiter was back in two minutes.
Our suite was really over the top. We had been upgraded to a penthouse suite because of our American Express status. The suite was on the top floor and had an enormous terrace wrapped around the entire corner suite. We had beautiful views in almost every direction. (We actually watched and heard a Dylan concert on a stage across the river from our terrace. And he was staying at our hotel.) There was a large living room with a walk-in closet and fireplace, a large bedroom with an especially comfortable bed, and a nice two room bath. We could access the terrace from the living room or the bath. A very complete set of amenities garnished the bath.
Of course, the MC is expensive. It was our most expensive hotel in Spain, but was the most luxurious and worth a splurge for those three nights. Drinks in the bar and breakfast were pricey; they charged for internet usage---each time. And the laundry we sent out cost a fortune.
Best of all, though, was the location of the MC. It's in the heart of San Sebastian within walking distance of almost anything we wanted to see or do. It's right on the river that empties into the sea just a block away. We had views of one of the three beaches and the Atlantic. We looked over the rooftops of blocks and blocks of beautiful, historic buildings. We could see the mountains along the shore. We walked out and were in the old quarter withing minutes. And the tapas in the quarter (called pintxots in Basque) were the best in Spain----and that's saying a lot. We hired a private guide to show us the city (through Green Services on the internet), and we had a wonderful three hours walking and exploring the sights, learning the history, and tasting pintxots at his favorite spots. Green Services invited us to go to Pamplona the next day for the running of the bulls (about an hour away) and we took them up on it. That was an amazing experience!
The food in San Sebastian is incredible. We'd read that SS has more Michelin stars than any city in Europe and that must be true. Not only were the pintxots an amazing spread of familiar and non-familiar small plates, but the restaurants where we had dinner were all great----especially Arzak, a Michelin 3-star restaurant that was one of the best places we've ever dined. We never tried the MC Hotel restaurants as the article we found on the internet did not recommend them, but they looked quite nice and the menus sounded great. Maybe next time.
Bottom line, we absolutely loved San Sebastian and the Maria Christina was the perfect place to stay on this first sojourn into a city we now count among our favorites in the world. If you want to be in the lap of luxury in an exotically historical city on the sea, this is the place."
- Travel date: Sat 29th of July 2006
No swimming pool
"I was a little disapointed with hotel. I felt to be charged for spa was unfair I thought Starwood policy not too charge for extras like this. I was told there was a swimming pool there wasnt it is a hydrotherapy pool quite a difference. As for the "heavenly" shower I thought pathetic, the bed too in my opinion was nothing more than regular. The breakfast for the price was disapointing no "freshly" squeezed orange juice little fresh fruit and a poor selection of medium supermarket grade yogurt. On a plus point the location of the hotel is superb."
- Travel date: Thu 13th of July 2006
Great place, beautiful room and close to everything
"I love this hotel! The hotel itself is a beatiful old Belle Epoque style landmark. The chinese restaurant within the hotel is one of the best I have been to anywhere. The staff were very helpful. The location is very centrally located and a short walk to the Parte Vieja (Old part of town) and La Concha beach."
- Travel date: Fri 16th of June 2006
People Make This Gem A Real Star!
"This gem hotel, beautifully appointed rooms, clean, efficient and VERY FRIENDLY staff, overlooking beautiful river and ocean views is centrally located in this charming little city. Superb dining in the hotel with more incredible selections close by (see ARZAK)! Full service spa tucked away, again with friendly staff. Walk to City tour bus, shopping, beach, Marina and more. Easy drive to Biarritz, France, and to Bilbao (stunning new architecture prompted by the Guggenheim Museum) and the prehistoric caves of the region. Relaxation, Fun and so many wonderful sights so close by. A Must GO SEE!!!"
- Travel date: Mon 29th of May 2006
Maria Cristina a great deal in February
"We recently took our daughter to university in Northern Spain and had a few unexpected days to travel in the Basque region. From reviews on trip advisor and in guide books it was obvious that the Maria Cristina was the place to stay - the only drawback was concern over the price. However, checking the Westin website while in Logrono we got a fantastic rate of $155. per night.
San Sebastian is a wonderful city built on a monumental scale and the Maria Cristina fits right in. It is a huge property and even at our low rate the room we got was huge. As others have noted the bathrooms are larger than main rooms in other hotels. The king bed and linens were definitely up to luxury standards.
The hotel was a great base to visit the Basque area and in particular the Guggenheim in Bilbao which is an hour away. Bilbao is a dump compared to San Sebastian.
The staff was great, fluent in English and managed to get us a table at Arzak, which many argue is the best restaurant in Spain. In summer reservations are apparently required months in advance.
Do yourself a favour and check out San Sebatian in winter - the climate is quite mild - and be sure to stay at the Maria Cristina.
Lastly, it appears that the poor reviews on trip advisor are all two years old or more - I presume things have improved since these people visted.
Dale Dunlop - Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada"
- Travel date: Sun 5th of March 2006
Superb city centre hotel
"Stayed for 1 night in December 2005. Paid 170.00 euros inclusive of breakfast for a superior twin bedded room. Superb riverside view from room. Good value restaurant with local dishes. Managed to get a free parking space outside hotel. Hotel does use the nearby underground car park."
- Travel date: Mon 2nd of January 2006
"We stayed three nights ( double room ). First I want to say that, its true that you dont have spa, gym or golf, but when you book a hotel, you must to know the ammenities and extras, so its not hotel fault. I write this for everyone that say that its a ruin because it has no these kind of extras. I seems a little bit absurd. If I want a gym, I look for a hotel with gym, dont you think ?
Rooms excellent, service too. Somebody say that is far from the beach. Which beach? San sebastian has three beaches and one of them its just 2 muinutes walking, in fact my room had view over the river and corner of the beach.
Breakfast its 20 Euros at June'05, not 30 but its the best breakfast buffet you can imagine.
So you dont hesitate and choose this hotel by far."
- Travel date: Mon 19th of December 2005
"That's the feeling I brought back from my days at Westin Maria Cristina. Magnificient building, fabulous location... we felt royals!!!
Dont understand complains Ive read below... mainly cuz they refer to money issues as how expensive the minibar was etc... Come on!! it's a 5***** hotel considered to be in The Luxury Collection!!! Btw, they opened a state-of-the-art fitness center!!!!
Summig up: IMPRESSIVE!!!"
- Travel date: Sat 22nd of October 2005