Hotel Maria Cristina, San Sebastián

Hotel Maria Cristina is without a doubt the most desirable place to stay in San Sebastian. The small and atmospheric town is full of lively restaurants serving delicious food but when it comes to finding somewhere to stay, there are only a few luxury hotels to choose from. Maria Cristina overlooks the Urumea River, just 5 minutes walk from the old town and the famous La Concha stretch of beach.

Hotel Maria Cristina

The beautiful belle epoque era building stands majestically, and is the hotel of choice for film stars who attend the San Sebastian film festival each year.

Hotel Maria Cristina

Inside the hotel it is even more decadent… with marble staircases and pillars, and grand artworks decorating the walls. After a speedy check-in we were riding up in the lift to room 110, a lovely deluxe terrace room.

Hotel Maria CristinaHotel Maria Cristina

Our elegant and spacious bedroom was the dream accommodation, with a giant bed as the centrepiece. The room was pristine white with accents of colour and pattern to add character. Above the bed, a colourful abstract headboard immediately attracted my attention, and on the walls the unique artworks cause pause for thought.

Needless to say I slept blissfully in the beautiful bed. As soon as I got in, the silky sheets seemed to hug me and send me nicely off into a deep sleep.

Hotel Maria CristinaHotel Maria Cristina

The bathroom was palatial with a marble-clad bathtub complete with stylish striped curtains, a powerful rain shower and separate toilet room. Piles of thick soft towels and bathrobes were awaiting use, and the full range of revitalise-me toiletries from Elemis were stocked in generous supply.

Hotel Maria Cristina

In order to enjoy our regal room for just a few hours longer we ordered a room service breakfast. The sun was shining brightly through our balcony, and it was lovely to eat while admiring the view. We feasted on an assortment of continental and a la carte treats including miniature pastries, tropical fruit salad and Eggs Benedict. Everything was beautifully prepared and tasted delicious.

As we checked out I noticed the hotel’s gourmet shop, Mimo, which sells a range of speciality meats and delicacies as well as cookery books and Basque products to remind you of your stay in this culinary city.

More information and book a room at Hotel Maria Cristina here.

Hotel Miró, Bilbao

I wasn’t sure what to expect of Bilbao, as it is often considered as an afterthought to San Sebastian, but I was pleasantly surprised… the city is easily walkable, full of neighbourhood bars and cafes and has a number of prolific museums and galleries. Most notable, of course, is the impressive Guggenheim which many tourists visit the city for alone. If you are visiting for this reason the best place to stay is Hotel Miro, a stylish design hotel located just across the road from the famous modern art museum.

Hotel MiroHotel Miro

Hotel Miro is quietly sophisticated with minimalist decor and striking design features. This inspiring hotel was created by designer Antonio Miro, and remains one of the few 4-star boutique hotels in town. Guests staying have access to the Miro bicycles and also are welcome to help themselves to tea and coffee in the lounge whenever they wish.

Hotel Miro

We were on the fifth floor in Room 52, a petite but well organised room. The bedroom was decorated in subtle shades of neutral white and beige with a touch of vibrant colour on the bed from the velvet red pillows. A large window let in plenty of daylight while also providing panoramic views of the amazing Guggenheim architecture.

The bathroom was small with a toilet, sink and powerful rain shower. Hotel Miro uses toiletries from luxury English brand Gilchrist & Soames, that smelt delicious and felt very nourishing for my hair.

Hotel Miro

In the morning we opted for the ‘Brown Bread Bag’ breakfast. This in-room service is a lovely touch and gave us the chance to relax in the room while enjoying the views with a delicious continental breakfast. The delivery included flaky mini pastries and freshly-baked bread, fruit salad, yoghurt & granola, coffee and fresh juice.

Despite the small room sizes, this chic hotel feels luxurious and homely. Within walking distance of the Guggenheim, the main shopping areas and the eclectic old town, it is the perfect place to rest your head during a short mini-break.

More information and book a stay at Hotel Miro here.

The Great House, Sonning

I often get asked about the best mini-break destinations that are easy to reach from London and reasonably priced. The Great House in Sonning ticks both boxes. Just a 25 minute train ride from Paddington, this idyllic boutique hotel is the perfect place to escape to for a balmy summer weekend away.

The Great House

The Great House has recently opened after a grand renovation of the original hotel buildings. The hotel, which has a variety of bedrooms, sits of the edge of the Thames, in the Berkshire village of Sonning. Teresa May and George Clooney both live in the area, proving just how special this little pocket of Britain is.

The Great House

The bedrooms are modern and stylish with a hint of retro charm. The smallest ‘cosy’ rooms start from just £60 a night or you can splash out on the ‘Coach House Apartment’ which has a spacious separate lounge area and even comes with its own popcorn machine! The bathrooms are lavish and luxurious, I was lucky to have an indulgent freestanding bathtub in my room, which was lovely for a late night soak. Toiletries are by Fair CosmEthics, a Fairtrade company who only use certified ingredients.

The Great House

The Coppa Club restaurant is found on the ground floor of the hotel and is a real bonus to the hotel’s offering. Beautifully set out with plenty of natural daylight, this contemporary eatery serves seasonal food throughout the day, including a delicious breakfast for hotel guests.

The Great House

Also on site is the The Great House Lodge which has 5 individual rooms ideal for work meetings or events. The space is also already getting booked for weddings, for which the walls can be rearranged to create one large room perfect for special celebrations.

When you are ready to go out and explore there is plenty to see and do in Sonning and Reading. Best of all though is walking down the river and taking in the fresh air. It is difficult to believe how close The Great House is to the city when you are outside enjoying the hotel’s beautiful surroundings.

More information and book a room at The Great House here.