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Hotel Highlights

  • Movie-star cool in every room
  • Urban luxury a short walk from the beach
  • Michelin-starred restaurants at every turn

Overview

The cinema-themed Astoria7 is a motion picture of a boutique hotel in San Sebastián, where every room is dedicated to a movie legend. Go to bed with Glenn Close, Dennis Hopper or Julie Christie, among others. Interiors are sleek and bright, with retro furniture and pistachio-, cloud- or coffee-coloured walls. Beyond the red-carpeted lobby, there’s a ’70s-style lounge where even the library is movie-themed.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Astoria7 Hotel with us:

A packet of local almond cookies and a bottle of crianza

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Astoria7 Hotel

Non-refundable rate: 10% off

Facilities

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Astoria7 Hotel – San Sebastian - Spain

Need To Know

Rooms

102, including one suite.

Check–out

12pm. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $205.80 (€154), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Breakfast is not included in the room rate.

At the hotel

Fitness room, free WiFi throughout, DVD and book libraries, concierge. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD player, laptop-accommodating safe and minibar.

Our favourite rooms

We hate to make it personal when it comes to Hollywood, but, as far as Astoria7 is concerned, it’s got to be Alfred. The Alfred Hitchcock suite on the top floor has its own ceiling-stowed projector and screen, as well as a separate lounge, large balcony and a cinema library. For lone rangers, some of the single rooms on the ninth floor have almost-double beds and their own balcony.

Packing tips

Paparazzi-evading sunglasses – and Mrs Smith should channel Audrey or Grace with Tiffany jewels and satin headscarves.

Also

Smoking is allowed in some areas and rooms; no pets. Two-night minimum stay required at Easter, 8–15 August and during the city’s film festival (September).

Children

Welcome; cots available for free, extra beds for €40. The hotel has connecting family rooms with the same entrance hall. A nanny can be drafted in (with a month’s notice) to babysit for €12 an hour.

Food & Drink

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Astoria7 Hotel – San Sebastián – Spain

Hotel Restaurant

Start the day with fresh pastries, charcuterie and local cheeses in the breakfast room, among photos of the A-list wining and dining in San Sebastián. The restaurant's menu lets you do the casting: pick ingredients, how they're cooked and what garnishes them.

Hotel Bar

The Astoria7 cafeteria is next to the breakfast room, and gets packed out with coffee-drinking, cig-happy locals by midday.

Room service

Call down between 1pm and 10.30pm.

Smith Insider

Local Guide

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Astoria7 Hotel – San Sebastian - Spain
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Switch lazy days in your suite for lazing on La Concha beach, a 15-minute walk from the hotel. Or spring into action and climb up Mount Igueldo for bay-sweeping views, day or night (you can always cheat and take the cable car). Explore the coastline peppered with fishing villages in the province of Guipuzcoa – stop off at Zumaia, Guetaria and Hondarribia.

Local restaurants

Take a big appetite and an empty credit card to one of the multiple Michelin-starred restaurants in the town. Arzak on Avenida Alcalde Elosegui (+34 (0)94 327 8465; www.arzak.info), Akelarre on Paseo Padre Orcolaga (+34 (0)94 331 1209; www.akelarre.net) and Martin Berasategui at 4 Loidi Kalea (+34 (0)94 336 6471; www.martinberasategui.com) have three stars each. Slightly more wallet-friendly, Brankaon Paseo Eduardo Chillida (+34 (0)94 331 7096) serves up Basque cuisine and some interesting takes on seafood (such as anchovies with strawberries). Juanito Kojua at 14 Puerto (+34 (0)94 342 0180; www.juanitokojua.com) is a simple and small seafood restaurant in the Old Town. If you don’t mind eating standing up, or being jostled by a lively crowd of discerning diners, head to La Cuchera de San Telmo (+34 (0)94 343 5446) at 28 Calle 31 de Agosto for some of San Sebastian’s finest pintxos. Gloriously succulent scallops, caramelised foie gras chunks and braised pig snout are just a few of the treats on offer. Kokotxa (+34 (0)94 342 1904; www.restaurantekokotxa.com) at 11 Campanario serves masterful, artistic food – book well in advance to secure your seats. Sample the eponymous kokotxa (cod or hake cheeks) while you’re here. Bar Nestor (+34 (0)94 342 4873) at Donostia serves the best tortilla in town.

Local bars

El Gavilan on Avenida Sancho El Sabio (+34 (0)94 346 1998) is a cosy bar directly opposite Astoria7 – open for coffee in the daytime as well as something a little stronger at night. For perfect pintxos, pull up a stool at Iturrioz on Aldamar (+34 (0)94 342 5884) and brave the raw sea urchin served in its spiky shell. For DJ sets and a cool crowd, head to Udaberri on Calle Larramendi (+34 (0)94 345 1538).

Local cafés

Café de la Playa (+34 (0)94 332 6521) on Zurriola beach is popular with surfers. Savour a cake and café cortado at Unión Artesana (+34 (0)94 342 2292).

+ Enlarge
Foodie-friendly San Sebastián

Astoria7 Hotel

1 Sagrada Familia, San Sebastián, Basque Country, 20010

Planes

San Sebastián has an airport but you’ll be pushed to find a direct flight there, unless you’re travelling within Spain – get to Bilbao (100km away) with Easyjet (www.easyjet.com) or Iberia (www.iberia.com). Biarritz airport (50km away) is served by with Easyjet and Ryanair (www.ryanair.com).

Trains

Arrive at Estación del Norte, just over a kilometre from Astoria7, via trains from Madrid, Bilbao or Barcelona (www.raileurope.co.uk).

Automobiles

The 100km drive from Bilbao should take a little over an hour; allow 40 minutes to drive to San Sebastián from Biarritz. Avis (www.avis.com) has offices at most airports in the region. The hotel has a private garage where you can park for around €17 a day.

Other

Brittany Ferries (www.brittany-ferries.co.uk) serves Santander (200km from San Sebastián) from Portsmouth or Plymouth. P&O Ferries (www.poferries.com) sails from Portsmouth to Bilbao.

Reviews

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Astoria7 Hotel – San Sebastian - Spain

Anonymous review

by David Annand , Model editor

‘That is an absolute shed load of meat.’ Disappointingly for all concerned, this pithy little observation is not part of Mrs Smith’s armoury of pillow talk but an analysis of the quite preposterously generous pile of rare beef on the plate in front of me. We’re in the restaurant of San Sebastián's Astoria7 Hotel, but this remark would have been no less apposite had …
Read more

Astoria7 Hotel

Anonymous review by David Annand, Model editor

That is an absolute shed load of meat.’ Disappointingly for all concerned, this pithy little observation is not part of Mrs Smith’s armoury of pillow talk but an analysis of the quite preposterously generous pile of rare beef on the plate in front of me.

We’re in the restaurant of San Sebastián's Astoria7 Hotel, but this remark would have been no less apposite had it been describing the mound of Serrano ham we are soon to be served in Bilbao or the devastating portion of duck dished up to us in Biarritz.

Both Biarritz and Bilbao are on our radar because although seemingly San Sebastián wants for nothing, it could do with an international airport – anyone going a long weekend is obliged to fly into one or other of the Basque Country’s other great cities. Opting to arrive on the Atlantic coast of France and leave from a little further along the coast of northern Spain, we started our sojourn with 48 hours on Biarritz’s lovely surfing beaches and we’ll conclude with a wonderful day exploring the splendour of Bilbao’s art galleries.

Pleasant bookends indeed, neither destination comes close to matching San Sebastián, with its almost comically perfect bay, its tasty gastronomy and its charming network of old town streets. Advised in Biarritz to take the coach to San Sebastián over the rather ponderous train, our transit here worked perfectly, depositing us opposite the gleaming façade of our contemporary bolt hole, Astoria 7.

Inspired by the half-century-old San Sebastián International Film Festival, the minds behind the Astoria7 have designed each of the boutique hotel's 102 rooms as a tribute to moviemakers from across the globe. Unhesitatingly escorted up to our suite on the ninth floor, I can’t deny a patriotic smirk that accompanies my discovery that the honour of the best room in the house has gone to Britain’s own Alfred Hitchcock.

Befitting a man that sneaked a cameo into all his films, the suite is packed with all things Hitchcockian. Statuettes and books beg to be enjoyed on an Eames lounger in the television room, with a DVD boxset complemented by a movie poster – albeit a tad naff – above the bed. Poster apart, it’s a slickly appointed pad with a spa-style bath, a big bed and a spacious balcony.

Hungry from our journey we decide against the Astoria’s all-day bar with its tabletop snacks and instead gobble up the menu del dia in the hotel restaurant. Given the rarefied standards of San Sebastián’s celebrated cuisine there’s no shame in saying it’s unlikely to upstage the city’s most renowned fare but Astoria7's own restaurant is light and airy and perfectly serviceable.

Eager to make the most of the sun, we grab some towels and take the charming 10-minute walk up to San Sebastian’s beach, a golden crescent of sand lapped by waters calmed by the bay. I’ve always liked urban beaches – partly because of the sexy sparky atmosphere created by flirting teenage smokers and pumped-up poseurs, but mostly because you know you’re never more than five minutes from a cold glass of wine – and here we are at one of Europe’s best takes on this seaside type.

After hours of idling in the warm shallows, we nip back to the hotel where Mrs Smith washes the salt from her hair with the Omnisens toiletries before indulging in a bubbly little Jacuzzi. Scrubbed, sun-salved and Mrs Smith's evening frock donned, we are ready to venture out into the old town, and into the delightful warren of pedestrianised streets that comprise San Sebastián’s culinary centre.

Now, eating at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants requires a little planning ahead, and greater foresight than has been applied by this reviewer. Just as you can’t bowl up to the Fat Duck on a Friday night and expect the chef’s table, tables need to be reserved well in advance if you want to eat at any of San Sebastián’s three-star super-restaurants – Arzak, Akelarre and Martín Berasategui – all of which have tasting menus at around €150. The city’s other top restaurants are easier to get into but still need pre-planning. Our attempts for a table at the highly regarded Restaurante Kokotxa, a one-starrer in the old town, fall flat.

Luckily for us we are a text message away from Mrs Smith’s old mucker José Pizarro who just happens to be a world-renowned Spanish chef. He admonishes us for even thinking about a sit-down dinner, enthusing that San Sebastián is all about its tapas-y pintxos and that we have to get ourselves inmediatamente to the kings of the small plate at La Cuchara de San Telmo.

Tucked away down a sidestreet off the larger Calle 31 de Agosto, La Cuchara de San Telmo serves us small bowls of ink-black risotto, tender veal’s cheeks on mash and lots of other things about which you know very little other than that they taste as good as anything at considerably fancier restaurants where the wine is very definitely not €2 a glass. The tone of the trip is set. Here on in we sun and walk and stop and talk and eat and eat and eat. Every street in the old town has a pinxtos bar or two and the atmosphere everywhere is incredible, with locals of all generations drinking and eating little plates from simple slices of ham to ornate Michelin-style titbits. Highlights include Txepetxa and Bar Nestor, where people come from miles around just to eat the tomatoes.

48 hours later – our skin slightly tight from the sun, our belts slightly tight from the food and our heads slightly tight from the booze – we amble arm in arm back to our hip hotel to take advantage of our room’s star feature: a pull-down screen and projector that transform our boudoir into a home cinema. What can we do but watch a Sir Alfred flick? We opt for ‘Marnie’. Maybe this old-time classic that’s dated since its first showing in 1964 is not the most apt choice for San Sebastián, which is an old-time classic that feels entirely up-to-date. But where a lack of suspense does work is in the surroundings and delivery of Astoria7's hospitality – particularly in a city where the eat-drink-and-be-merry escapes are crushingly, and wonderfully, predictable.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Astoria7 Hotel's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We liked the concept and thought the movie themes were cute. They have great parking facilities and good service!

Don’t expect

Housekeeping were a bit noisy.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the beautiful, lovely room and the great service.

Don’t expect

It requires walking or a taxi to get to the Old Town.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This is an interesting and unusual themed hotel. I had a well equipped room and bathroom. It's just 15 minutes' walk from the old part of town containing all the tapas bars and restaurants you could ever want, and within five minutes' walk of many good quality shops. There's secure private parking at €17 per day. I enjoyed the simple but adequate buffet breakfast, and the helpful and friendly staff. Having a car facilitates visits to neighbouring Bilbao and St Jean de Luz (France).

Rating: 9/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the very helpful and friendly staff; great location (I could walk everywhere) and great buffet breakfast!

Don’t expect

A slightly bigger room would be better, but it was really fine as we were out most of the day.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on NA

We loved

Our room was quiet and cosy and the hotel had a fun nod to its cinema history. The weather was pretty rainy when we went, so the hotel's extensive selection of classic DVDs (inspired by the film stars in each hotel room) proved very handy.

Don’t expect

Our room only had one very small window. A couple of the staff were incredibly helpful and lovely but some were a little indifferent!

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The Astoria7 was a beautifully minimal, elegant hotel, well represented by the website. Additionally though, the hotel made great efforts to accommodate my gluten-free dietary needs. The high quality, gluten-free bread provided for my breakfast was greatly appreciated and a range of other breakfast items, muffins, cereals etc. were brought in for me. The staff were both attentive and discreet and made me feel very at ease.

Don’t expect

The only lost star is because the hotel is a little far out of the centre, although fine if you don't mind a walk. It's great for the buses to Bilbao and Biarritz!

Rating: 9/10 stars