San Sebastian distinguishes itself with high-end culture, and it offers the hotels to match. Stay at a hip downtown spot, seaside retreat, restored 19th-century villa, or contemporary hotel with this list.

Room Mate Gorka Hotel

Photo courtesy of Room Mate Gorka Hotel

The boutique Room Mate Gorka Hotel sits in the middle of downtown San Sebastian, in Plaza Guipúzcoa. Modern decor and large, bright rooms provide a contemporary spot to relax in the city, and are designed with comfort at top of mind.

After you've enjoyed the extensive breakfast buffet, sit on the terrace of Gorka's Bar to enjoy the sea breeze. Then head out into the downtown to check out the area shops, restaurants, and attractions.

Lasala Plaza

Photo courtesy of Lasala Plaza

Lasala Plaza embraces the seaside character of San Sebastian, sitting right next to the beach by the old fishing town. The building dates back to 1917 but has been renovated to embrace a more modern style while still celebrating classic Donostia. The city's seafaring nature is evident throughout the hotel, with touches like a reception desk shaped like a boat keel and oar-shaped braided copper plaques.

Rooms have views of either the ever-changing sea or the historic Plaza Lasala in the Old Town. If you need a wider lens, enjoy the views from the rooftop pool, restaurant, and solarium, which gives you a 360-degree view out over the city. Onsite restaurant La Jarana Taberna adds a contemporary touch to traditional Basque cuisine, using locally sourced seasonal produce.

Villa Soro

Photo courtesy of Villa Soro

For travelers looking for a more old-world stay, Villa Soro sits amidst professionally designed gardens in a historical heritage villa that was originally built as a home for a British family in the 19th century. Rooms span both the original home and the converted stables, and there are plenty of period touches remaining around the property, like fireplace lounges, a carved oak staircase, and stained glass windows.

Stop in the refined Eguzki Soro bar and garden, designed to look like an English cocktail bar, for breakfast or Basque delicatessen bites. The city center is roughly a 10-15-minute walk away, but the walk is part of the fun. You can choose to walk either through the trendy surf neighborhood of Gros, which is full of restaurants and shops, or right along the beachfront.

Hotel Akelarre

Photo courtesy of Hotel Akelarre

The recently opened Hotel Akelarre sits roughly 10 minutes outside San Sebastian, perched on a stunning viewpoint along the Basque coastline and Bay of Biscay cliffs. Dramatic avant-garde architecture is designed to exist harmoniously with its surroundings and made with quality raw materials.

Especially don't miss the three-Michelin-star Akelarre restaurant. The hotel actually spun out of the restaurant, turning a meal into a multi-day experience. Guests can also enjoy the spa and its three treatment cabins or join experiences like the "Basque roots" or "Oteiza flavors" curated stays.

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