Posted 04/26/11

Hotel Astoria7: San Sebastián, Spain

Astoria7-Escapiohotels/Article: Bill Fowler

If the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences could give an award for most iconic accommodations, the Astoria7 Hotel in San Sebastián, Spain would earn an Oscar. Each of its 102 rooms pay tribute in photographs to a film star or director who has attended the prestigious San Sebastián Film Festival since it began in 1953. One may select a room featuring Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Spanish heartthrob Antonio Banderas, or revered filmmaker Federico Fellini, among many others. Whether you choose a “superior room” or suite for your stay, the mid-century modern furnishings surround you in smart sophistication evocative of Hollywood’s Golden Age, while you enjoy the conveniences of a flat-screen television, Yves Rocher skin care products, and a delicious Spanish breakfast buffet. The hotel’s crown jewel is the Alfred Hitchcock suite, a cinephile’s dream featuring a retractable video screen, film library, and private balcony overlooking the city. The Astoria7 is a 15 minute walk from the San Sebastián’s city center and the marvelous Bay of La Concha. On your next trip to San Sebastián, Spain, discover why the Astoria7 is the world’s only “102 Star Hotel”!

Maite Mateo is the sales manager at Astoria7 Hotel.

The Concierge Questionnaire: Maite Mateo,  Sales Manager

What is your favorite word to describe San Sebastián? Charming.

What word best reflects the people of San Sebastián? Honest people.

What is the most creative, spiritual or emotional place in San Sebastián? “El Peine del Viento” (The Wind Comb) by Eduardo Chillida.

“This sculpture is a perfect example of beauty in its pure state. The melding of the roughness of the sea with the strength of the iron structures has elevated its natural character as a contemporary work of art to the status of a place to meet and chill out for local people and tourists alike.”

Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002) was a major Spanish Basque sculptor noted for his monumental abstract installations. El Peine del Viento is a collection of steel sculptures installed seaside at the foot of beautiful Mount Igueldo.

What is your favorite outdoor activity in San Sebastián? Going for "pintxos." “One of San Sebastian's gastronomic treasures is its famous pintxos, culinary miniatures (tapas-like delicacies) that can be anything from the original slice of bread covered with food, to the small creations of Haute Cuisine in miniature. To "go for pintxos" in the Old Part of Donostia is a way of getting to know our culture – by combining laughter, conversation, movement, changes of atmosphere and fun.”

What is your favorite indoor activity in San Sebastián? Enjoying cultural events at Victoria Eugenia Theatre or at Kursaal Convention Centre.

“All fields of creativity are represented in San Sebastian. The city's an explosion of knowledge, art, tradition and modernity available to everyone. It’s ten or so museums, its famed festivals, splendid and well-known sculptures, the diversity of theatres and exhibition halls are, without a doubt, a clear example of its cultural wealth.”

Not to be missed are two of the world’s best film and jazz festivals. San Sebastian’s “Zinemaldia” International Film Festival has been a September tradition of international acclaim since 1953, while July brings the week-long International Jazz Festival. Check out shows and ticket information on the web at: SanSebastianFestival.com and HeinekenJazzaldia.com!

What is your favorite sound or noise in San Sebastián? The rolling of drums and the sound of Maestro Sarriegui's music on the 20th of January, St. Sebastian's Feast Day (Christian saint and martyr). “This is the most nostalgic day of the year for local people. For 24 hours the air throughout the city is filled with the rolling of drums to the sound of Maestro Sarriegui's music, in a festive, colorful re-enactment of the city's history.

The hoisting and lowering of the Flag in Constitución Square are two of the most emotional moments for the local people. It's a very worthwhile experience to follow one of the drumming parades through the city streets throughout the early hours of the morning. On this morning, San Sebastian is invaded by a peaceful regiment, composed of over 5,000 girls and boys capable of tugging at the watching adults' heart strings. There's nothing that can compare with the sight and sound of the Children's Drumming Parade.”

What is your favorite smell or taste in San Sebastián? The smell of the sea and the taste of the natural cooking products from our country.

What drink best reflects San Sebastián? Txakoli. It is a white wine exclusively produced in Basque Country. You can enjoy this drink with a delicious pintxo at the Hotel Astoria7 bar.

Txakoli making became nearly extinct in the middle 19th century. However, certain varietals of this grape from the Basque region were granted Destination of Origin status in 1944 and now enjoy wide distribution.

What song or type of music best reflects San Sebastián? Basque local songs (Benito Lertxundi, Mikel Laboa, Mikel Urdangarin…)

Benito Lertxundi was a major contributor to the Basque music revival of the 1960s, and many consider Mikel Laboa to be the patriarch of Basque music. Check them both out on iTunes: Benito Lertxundi and Mikel Laboa.

If Heaven were San Sebastián, what would God say to a visitor when they arrive at the Pearly Gates? Come to Hotel Astoria7 and enjoy a wonderful stay.

Complete your stay seeing the landscapes, the tremendous force of the Cantabrian Sea, the Bay, its beaches, the extensive network of parks and gardens that sit alongside traditional, romantic and contemporary architecture. Each area of San Sebastian has its own character. And finally… don’t miss the wonderful gastronomy of this city!

Hotel Astoria7: San Sebastián, Spain • Sagrada Familia 1, San Sebastián, Spain • Phone: 34-943-445000

Lan Airlines US