Fodor's Expert Review Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra
Calle Zubieta 2, San Sebastián, Basque Country 20007, Spain See on Map Fodor's Choice
Situated on what has to be the best piece of property in the entire city, this classic beachfront hotel has been a landmark of San Sebastián since opening in 1868. The British-seaside-inspired hotel sprawls along the iconic La Conche playa and its boardwalk, and is just a few minute stroll to San Sebastian’s Parte Vieja. With spacious rooms and old-world comfort and service, the hotel is infused with its 150-year’s worth of history at every turn while still providing guests with the modern technological basics of the current century—all at a spectacular value for the price.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Amenities like spa, pool, and gym are not located onsite but are accessed through partnerships with the beachside gym and spa located just a short stroll away.
Some of the most breathtaking views one can experience are to be had in the Sea View rooms at the Hotel Londres, where floor-to-ceilings windows open up onto small terraces, with the entire panorama of San Sebastian’s famed bay to feast upon beyond. The city views aren’t too shabby either, which look out onto a classic square in one of the most sought-after zip codes in Spain. Though we would highly recommend upgrading to Sea views; it is the true attraction of the hotel. The 167 rooms come in a variety of different levels but are all surprisingly spacious and feature antique furnishings, comfortable beds, flat-screens, and AC.
The hotel added an entire new floor, known as the attic, a few years back: don’t let the connotation of the name deceive you, the handsome rooms on this floor all feature modern sun-bathing terraces with lounge chairs and glass balconies.
Elegant and airy and encased in marble, bathrooms at the Hotel Londres are everything one would expect of such an enduring hotel. Guests will be pleased with the robes and slippers on offer even at the most standard levels of room.
Classic San Sebastián style collides with themes of nautical 19th century Britain in this quaint lobby dressed in rich tapestry, chandeliers, original furniture, and old model sailings vessels from yesteryear. The reception area itself is small but the ambiance and the view from the hotel’s adjacent beachfront lounge beckon guests to spend some time here between exploratory trips around town.
Though not onsite, the hotel has a partnership with La Perla Spa, an absolutely gorgeous Bella Époque era pool and spa just a short walk down the promenade and located beachside with views of La Conche bay. Guests can ask reception about access to the spa for discounted rates.
Guests can buy discounted access to a full-sized, professional gym located just a stone’s throw away across the promenade. For those looking for a strength workout or in need of some exercise in the winter months, the views of the beach from the gym are hard to beat. If it’s nice out though, the entire boardwalk can be your gym if you bring your running shoes.
The hotel’s premier restaurant, La Brasserie Mari Galant, houses buffet breakfast in the morning and turns into a proper Basque dining experience for lunches and dinners with a focus on meats and seafood. For more casual café options in a spectacular beachfront setting, the Swing Bar offers a basic array of snacks and dishes to go along with coffees and cocktails.
Most lounge time in the hotel should be spent in the Swing Bar; the regal space has ample seating and big windows running along the boardwalk that look out upon the bay. Also open to the public, guests will often find fashionable locals here taking work meetings and lunches while knowledgeable bartenders mix an extensive array of cocktails as the evening goes on.
Most all of the city’s attractions are within walking distance of the hotel, and should guests want to venture further out or to some of the nearby villages, a well-run bus system has stops just a short distance from the doorstep of the hotel.
The sheer number of pintxo bar options in the old town can be overwhelming to choose from, but La Cuchera de San Telmo (7-minute walk) is a must-eat while in San Sebastián. Primarily meat and seafood focused, the made-to-order pintxos and plates are simply some of the best in the city.
For those with some wheels who are looking to try one of San Sebastian’s three-star Michelin restaurants (there are more than one in this small town, crazy we know), try Restaurant Akelarre (15-minute drive), located on Mount Igueldo with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sea below. Make sure to book long in advance.
In the old town, Atari Gastroteka (5-minute walk) is one of the few pintxo bars that also knows how to make a fine cocktail. Though be warned, in the summer months the bar can be overwhelmed by tourists in the later hours of the evening. For something closer to home, Rojo y Negro (1-minute walk) is an upscale local pintxo bar that offers a fine array of beers, wines, and liquors and has an enviable location along the shopping district’s main walking-only boulevard.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Its unbeatable location, ever-friendly service, and historic sense of place make this hotel a no-brainer for us. And though modern amenities like a gym and sauna are located offsite, the timeless hotel and its beachside services deliver in every way one could want for a visit to San Sebastián.
People also liked
Hotel Arrizul Congress
$$ | c/ Ronda, 3
Opened in 2017, Hotel Arrizul Congress is an elegant contemporary addi... Read More
$$ | Calle Legazpi, 12
This unassuming boutique hotel that overlooks Plaza Gipuzkoa in San Se... Read More
$$ | Calle Posta 11
Hiding within the enchanting Old Quarter of Bilbao is a movie lover&rs... Read More
$$ | Portal de Atea S / N
Tucked away in a pastoral valley behind the picturesque seaside villag... Read More
Barceló Bilbao Nervión
$$ | Paseo Campo Volantín, 11
Located on the quiet side of the River Nervión as it cuts throu... Read More
$$ | Bº Askizu
Nestled among the rolling vineyards above the picturesque seaside vill... Read More