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HOTEL REVIEW


Starwood Hotels & Resorts has completed a $25m restoration of its luxury hotel in the Basque capital, where The Gallery at HBA London’s new designs evoke the spirit of La Belle Époque, and celebrate famous female figures from the hotel’s history.


Hotel Maria Cristina – A Luxury Collection Hotel San Sebastian


Words: Matt Turner Photography: © Will Pryce T


he relaunch of San Sebastian’s Hotel Maria Cristina in October 2012 was a glittering affair, befitting a hotel whose history


has been defined by glamour and celebrity. Guests included local dignitaries, and senior executives from Starwood Hotels & Resorts, who have operated the hotel since acquiring its previous owners CIGA in 1994. An eight course menu of classic retro dishes such as Lobster Thermidore, Beef Wellington and Peach Melba was served. Between the tables, a procession of models strutted along a catwalk showing off couture outfits from each of the decades that have passed since the hotel opened in 1912.


The peacock-like postures of the


fashionistas were a reminder of the feminine grace at the heart of the new design scheme, which has resulted from an extensive $25 million, nine-month restoration of the hotel, led by Idom Engineering & Architecture.


Interior designers The Gallery at HBA London took the élan and striking presence of female celebrity guests as their inspiration – not least Spain’s revered Queen Consort Maria Cristina who officially cut the ribbon on the hotel, which still bears her name, in July 1912. This was the tailend of ‘La Belle Époque’ – the era of artistic and cultural refinement which gave birth to female liberation, haute couture fashion, and La Folies Bergere, before coming to a brutal end with the onset of World War One. This historical period – and the fluid Art


Nouveau detailing of the building’s original architect Charles Mewès – has formed the backdrop to the designers’ vision, in which refined touches have been added within the hotel’s existing framework to create a sense of luxury. Says Inge Moore, Principal, HBA London and The Gallery: “For Hotel Maria Cristina, named after the Spanish Queen Consort and located in a city with


046 JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2013 WWW.SLEEPERMAGAZINE.COM


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