Tucked away in a quiet corner of San Sebastián’s old town where the ramparts meet the sea, the enviably located Hotel Parma is a simple yet welcoming family-run establishment. Guests can expect a warm staff, easy access to all of the delicious culinary wonders of Parte Vieja, and sweeping views of the city and Playa de la Zurriola from their doorstep.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Like most buildings in Parte Vieja, the walls and ceilings are thin and noise from other rooms or the apartments upstairs can be an issue for light sleepers.
The relaxing rooms deliver on all the basics: a comfortable bed, flat-screen TVs, and AC. Wood accents and gorgeous panorama photographs above the headboards add some flair to the interiors. There are eight rooms with sea views that are well worth the price, while the rest of the hotels 26 rooms either look out onto the street or the courtyard.
YOU SHOULD KNOW There are a few internal rooms that look into the building’s miniscule courtyard. We’d avoid these rooms for anyone who likes their natural light.
Guests will find all the necessities here in a clean space with tile floors and marble countertops. Most rooms offer a full bath set-up.
A recent renovation has brought Hotel Parma’s design into the 21st century, with eye-pleasing modern décor and oak trims that are reminiscent of driftwood to evoke the oceanfront locale. Sleek marble, dark wood tables in the lounge area, and a wall-sized painting make the reception area an enjoyable place to plan one’s day or to have a quick break from all of the walking.
There is a small breakfast room in the lobby where a basic buffet breakfast is served. Guests will find the essentials here; juices, coffee, toasts, and Spanish ham. But for anything more substantial, a venture outside will be required.
There is no bar in the small hotel, but that shouldn’t be a problem given the uncountable number of drinking establishments in the neighborhood.
The perks of being in old town means that most everything is accessible by foot, from La Conche bay to the modern shopping district to the neighborhood of Gros and its Playa de La Zurriola. For adventures farther out or to other nearby towns, the bus system in San Sebastián is ridiculously good and clean, and the train station is an easy walk away. For a small fee, the hotel offers a few private parking spaces in a public lot nearby for those that arrived by car.
The endless pintxo bars of San Sebastián’s Parte Vieja are the town’s main attraction and Hotel Parma is in a prime location to take advantage of them. Try starting off at Gandarias Restaurante (4-minute walk), one of the best pintxo bars in the city known for its creative seafood dishes. Just around the corner is La Cuchera de San Telmo (4-minute walk), an absolute can’t miss that serves simple yet divine grilled meats and seafood.
Once again, the old town is absolutely teeming with bars that are busy long into the night. Atari Gastroteka (5-minute walk), on the other side of old town towards the harbor, serves up well-crafted cocktails in a boisterous setting. Just down the street from Hotel Parma is !BE¡ Club (1-minute walk), a classic cocktail lounge with jazz-inspired décor that sometimes features live music and really turns up on the weekends during the early hours of the morning.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Despite simple rooms and a lack of the amenities of a larger property, the spectacular location of Hotel Parma combined with its exceptionally friendly staff and its reasonable price make it a no-brainer for travelers who are happy with the basic comforts of a hotel.