Cinephiles rejoice! One of the newer hotels in the ever-popular beach town of San Sebastián, the Astoria 7 is a haven of cinema history specifically dedicated to the world-famous film festival that takes place in town every year. Housed in the former Astoria Cinema, the exceptional service and contemporary rooms each dedicated to different stars round out the well-executed thematic décor running through this unique business hotel.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The hotel is a bit out of the way from the town’s main attractions with not much of interest in the immediate area, so a quick bus/taxi or a long stroll will be needed for trips to the Old Town and the beach.
Each of the 107 rooms of the hotel is dedicated to a different filmmaker. From Bacall to Coppola to Hitchcock, guests will find charming portraits and décor that do well to accent the sleek and modern habitations. Wood floors are a nice touch as are the complimentary espresso machines, wifi, and high-tech features expected of a 21st century hotel.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Despite what you see in the movies, Astoria 7 is a non-smoking hotel with no rooms available for those looking to do their best Humphrey Bogart impression.
Clean marble floors and walls create a stylish aesthetic and we liked the modern addition of steam-free mirrors.
The hotel supplies toiletries through the posh Rituals line of products, so snatch whatever you don’t use.
A true cinematic delight, the spacious lobby and lounges of the hotel are the highlights here that separate it from otherwise similar modern hotels. Walls are adorned with portraits of classic directors and movie stars and a silent movie projector plays films against a white wall while countless other touches, like the film-reel-inspired light shades and even colorful self-serve concessions, contribute to the atmosphere.
Guests are welcome to borrow DVDs from the extensive film library found in the lounge area and make use of the DVD players in their room.
The gym is reminiscent of most basic hotel fitness rooms: nothing to look at but enough to get the job done. Guests will find LifeFitness aerobic machines, a few strength machines, and a selection of free weights along with a few mats and medicine balls.
A fashionable, diner-inspired restaurant makes for a suitable place for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for those in need of a quick bite between the many culinary delights found outside of the hotel. Aside the restaurant is a rather charming cafe & pintxo bar that makes for a nice coffee to start the day or an afternoon beer amongst the many film portraits on the walls.
Adjacent to the lobby is a small but stylish cocktail bar whose modern design is nicely juxtaposed with the classic living room and library next to it where guests can enjoy their drinks in comfort. The library chockfull of cinematic antiques adds the final touches to a rather enjoyable drinking atmosphere.
While the hotel’s out of the way location makes it convenient to arrive at by car, it does make trips to Parte Vieja and the beaches slightly more time consuming. If it’s a nice day, the 20-minute stroll along the river is a nice bet. Otherwise, you will need wheels. Luckily San Sebastián has a very clean and reliable bus system running day and night that will get you places within 10 minutes. That being said, the staff is more than happy to organize your cabs if busses aren’t your jam.
The staff at Astoria 7 is exceptionally helpful in pointing guests to all the best places to eat in the old town. Gandarias Restaurante (10-minute cab) is one of the more highly regarded pintxo bars lining the streets of the old town and makes for a classic first introduction to the art of eating here.
For those looking for something closer to the hotel, Salaberria (2-minute walk) is an authentic Basque Sideria with local cider poured from huge wooden barrels and plenty of local (meat-focused) cuisine to be had.
Anyone looking to quench their thirst simply needs to wander the intimate streets of Parte Vieja (10-minute cab), known for having some of the highest concentrations of bars in the world. While there, stop by Atari Gastroteka if you like your drinks strong.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Though its location is less than ideal (definitely better for short stays than long ones), we can’t help but be won over by the plethora of stimuli that evoke the magic of the silver screen. Astoria 7 combines the modern amenities of a big hotel with the boutique flair of a small one, which provides a nice alternative to the older pensions and hotels found closer to the heart of town for those willing to sacrifice location for comfort.