Hotel Arima, San Sebastián
last update: 24 May 2022
We were driving up through Spain on the Ruta de la Plata (Silver Route), which is the name given to the Spanish motorway A-66 that runs from Seville to Gijón, but we had turned off at Salamanca, heading to San Sebastián on the A-62 (then AP-1, etc.).
We looked for a 5-star or high-quality 4-star hotel for an overnight stay, which included secure parking, etc., and we hit on a new 4-star hotel called Arima (one of the Small Luxury Hotels). Booking gave it a 9.0 (Superb) based upon 2,526 reviews, and Tripadvisor gave it a 5.0 (Excellent), but based upon only 518 reviews.
Our in-car GPS did not have 162, but we programmed-in next-door, 164 Paseo de Miramón, which worked fine. The hotel is located in the Miramón forest, and more specifically in the region of the San Sebastián Technology Park. The area is full of modern looking 'technology' buildings, set within a forest setting that is the highest part of city, and was once populated by a few scattered homesteads.
As you can see, it does not 'shout' hotel, but we could drive up, park, check-in, go to the room, and then park the car in the free underground car park (which is on -4, round the back).
The reception was empty, so we could immediately check-in. When we checked-out the next morning it was also totally empty. We were giving 2-contactless key-cards which must be used to activate the lift, etc.
We were on the 1st floor, down the end of a long corridor. This got me thinking about the claim of the hotel concerning sustainability and environmental friendliness. The corridor was lit by more than 100 LED lights. I know they were on movement sensors, etc. but it just seemed a bit 'design-over-function'. But I guess a truly sustainability and environmental friendly hotel wouldn't be built in a city forest in the first place!
We had booked …….a …….
As you entered the room, there was a short corridor with a wardrobe, a bedroom with a view of the forest, and bathroom. The above photograph comes from the hotel website, but in our room there was an additional narrow table with a tea maker.
Turning round, the bathroom was at the back of the room. As you can see the overall style "combines noble and resistant materials such as stone, iron and wood, with textures and soft fabrics of neutral tones".
The shower was good, and the general functionality was fine, with the addition of a "collection of organic amenities".
Our opinion was that the room was certainly functional, if a little passive and impersonal. The full length window let in both light and a view of the forest outside. On a dull winters day, this room might appear overly dull and lacking light and colour. I was surprised that there was no wall safe, and my iPhone never managed to login to the hotel wi-fi.
Concerning the bathroom, I found it a little narrow. The bath is both quite small and narrow, a total waste of space. Someone looking to relax in a hot bath might better consider going to the hotel spa. The separate area for the WC and bidet was also quite narrow, and might challenge anyone 'oversize'.
We were informed that the hotel did not offer room service, but that it had a cafeteria. We arrived about 16:00, and after checking-in, etc., I checked-out the restaurant/cafeteria, which they call the Tilia Deli & Café. The website stresses the rather informal atmosphere and mentions that opening hours are 09:00 to 23:00, 7 days a week. It was quite full and animated when I first visited it, but was almost empty when we went back at about 16:30.
Then we learned that the kitchen closed for lunch at 16:00, but that a tapas menu was available. We took chicken wings, croquetas, patatas bravas, and beer, which was more than enough, and reasonably priced. The restaurant area has a large terrace and attractive terrace. At lunch it must have been particularly nice, but around 16:00 the tree-line starts to cast a shadow and the temperature (in May) starts to drop quickly. Overall, the cafeteria was a nice option.
The breakfast buffet was served in a separate area of the cafeteria. Nothing spectacular, but all the usual continental options were there, all nicely presented, etc. I particular liked the small toast items with cream and smoked salmon, and my wife appreciated the fruit and yogurt options, etc.
What we didn't see
We didn't visit the spa or the rooftop pool and terrace.
Overall I appreciated the effort that went into the concept and design. Would we go there again? Yes, if we were driving through, but I might look for an alternative if I was planning to stay and visit the city. One important point for us is a secure parking, and here the underground parking was free, and well equipped with charging stations as well.