In short, I would highly recommend the Hotel Arts (as the locals call it). The rooms are generous in size, very nicely appointed with large bathrooms and top end linens and bath products. If you are a family traveling I would certainly recommend this property due to the larger size one and two bedroom suites which you can reserve for a reasonable rate if booked in advance. The rooms have spectacular city and/or ocean views and while we had a majestic ocean view it would not be a hardship to overlook the city of Barcelona, particularly as you can view down the expansive boulevards. Personally, I thought that the city view was more interesting than the sea view and comes at a better price point.Breakfasts were indulging and are included if booked through Protravel and there is both indoor and outdoor sitting. The swimming pool is on the 2nd floor rooftop overlooking the beach and sea and proved a great mid -afternoon hangout in between our morning and late afternoon or evening tourist excursions (especially if you are traveling with children). The hotel has a good gym with cardio and free weights in addition to a well-regarded Spa.The Hotel Arts has everything you would expect from a top luxury hotel with excellent service. At all the common areas of the hotel there was an abundance of staff helping with check in, bags, taxis and directions. We never felt we had to chase down information as it was always in front of us.
San Sebastian, Spain a great destination for walking, dining, surfing and shopping.I recently spent 4 nights at the end of August in San Sebastian. The town is tucked in the North West Corner of Spain roughly and hour south of the French border. The terrain is semi mountainous yet set against the ocean so both the topography and architecture were unique from much of other destinations in Spain. We originally decided to visit this city to experience the amazing dining that they are known for however we were taken away by the beauty of the landscape, the old world feel for the town and the great beaches.Dining options are endless and there are a host of Michelin rated restaurants with both local and fusion cuisines. Needless to say, if you are a "foodie" you probably know about San Sebastian. This is a must visit destination for anyone driven by cuisine and particularly if you have an adventurous palate. (Pigs feet, boars ear, sardine prepped 20 different ways, spider crab pies….it’s all there). They also have Pizza, burgers, sushi, pasta and more mainstream dishes beautifully prepared if you are not so adventurous. One of the best experiences we had was doing a walking food tour where you stop in various restaurant/bars for a small tasting portion called De Pintxos paired with a glass of wine. There are a number of tours and guides that help tune you in to the best offerings at each place. It’s a fun and interesting way to dine and I suggest you do it early in your trip as you may just dine that way each and every night.We sort of heard about surfing in San Sebastian before we arrived but it is a bigger component of the local vibe than we thought. There are dozens of surf schools (very affordable) with waves for all levels of surfers. My 10 year old son took three days of 90 minute private surf lessons (70 Euro for the session) and was catching waves and getting up within a half hour of his first lesson. The school generously allowed him to sign out a board and wet suit for free when he was not working with their instructors. The beaches are expansive but unlike most other destinations in Spain don’t really offer lounge chair and umbrella rental. But don’t let that deter you from a day at the beach.All in all San Sebastian exceeded my expectations and I highly recommend as a “go to” destination when considering Spain.
The Maria Christina is a landmark property set one block from the old city and one block from the beach so the location could not be better. A large luxury hotel traditionally styled with all the big hotel amenities that you would require such as concierge desk, valet parking, small gym, good internet service. The rooms are typical European traditional décor and the bathrooms are large and well appointed with great products. Our room had the largest king size bed I have ever seen and a nice view overlooking the town and a large courtyard.Since San Sebastian Spain is a large “foody” destination having the concierge desk to help with reservations and dining ideas was a big plus. (Read my separate entry on San Sebastian for more details on dinning and things to do). We ate breakfasts only at the hotel and the service, food quality and venue were all excellent. Maria Christina is the” go to” hotel for luxury travelers to San Sebastian and certainly deserving of their strong reputation. SPAIN