In Spain’s TRYP San Sebastián Orly Hotel, paradise—however you define it—is never more than just a few steps away.
written by Zoe Gabe
THE WELCOME I wasn’t entirely certain what to expect on my trip to San Sebastián when I arrived in the city a little after noon on a Thursday. San Sebastián—known as Donosti or Donostia in the Basque language—is Spain’s gastronomic capital and is best known for its Michelin-star restaurants and pintxo bars (pintxos are small finger food). I was looking forward to trying some of these during my stay but a spate of deadlines before I left meant very little time to research on places to visit before going there. Luckily, after a quick check-in procedure, the concierge at the front desk, Eñaut, was more than happy to help. Eñaut, who, it turns out, is passionate about pintxos, handed me a three-page list of recommendations containing the bars he liked and his must-try pintxos and drinks for each place.
Aside from his pintxo list, Eñaut also gave me a map of the city and outlined the places he said I might like to see, pointing out the attractions that were closed, and letting me know that the bars in the Gros district were having a pintxo plus drink promotion later that night. I was so excited to explore the city after talking to Eñaut that although I had initially planned on taking a siesta that afternoon, I decided to check out his suggestions as soon as I left my luggage in my room.
THE SCENE Unlike its Barcelona counterpart, there’s admittedly not much in the way of facilities at TRYP San Sebastián Orly Hotel—there’s no spa, no pool, and no gym (although you can book a Fitness Room that comes with an exercise bike and a Fitness Kit)—but in a city as entertaining as San Sebastián, you won’t really miss these. It also helps that the hotel itself is ideally located: only one block away from the beach and within walking distance of the city center and the Old Town, where most of Eñaut’s recommended must-tries and the tourist train tours were situated. Because San Sebastián is such a small city, perfect for walking around, you’ll find that even the shopping district, littered with Spanish brands Mango and Zara, a large grocery store, and many other shops, is only just a few blocks away. For visitors who plan on signing up for the city’s Hop On/Hop Off bus tour, the Plaza de Zaragoza stop is also conveniently just across the hotel.
THE ROOM The first thing I noticed upon entering the Junior Suite I was staying in was that the room had a sitting area that was more than spacious enough for my purposes. In lieu of a welcome note, someone had scrawled in temporary ink on the sitting room mirror, “Bienvenido a Donosti” (Welcome to San Sebastian) and left mint candies on my bedside. The large bathroom also came with a Jacuzzi tub that could be programmed to give a hydromassage. I was never a big fan of soaking in a tub but after trying out that hydromassage, I’m willing to reconsider my stance. My favorite part of the suite, however, was the floor-to- ceiling glass wall that opened out onto a balcony with a view of La Concha Beach. At nighttime, the beach is particularly pretty, lit up with the harbor and city lights. There was nothing more relaxing at the end of the day than hanging out at that balcony and gazing out at the view. The outdoor balcony was also a boon for another reason. Throughout my stay, the weather was unusually warm and because the central air conditioning was set to heat (since it was, technically, autumn), it couldn’t be adjusted to cool the room. Though it was a bit uncomfortable at first, I found out that opening the balcony door allowed the cool air to come in and took care of the problem fairly easily.
THE FOOD Breakfast at the hotel was fuss-free but filling. Spanish chorizo, ham, bacon, and sausages were laid out on the table, as were eggs and a selection of pastries, cheeses, and cereal. Options such as fresh fruit, yogurt, and fresh fruit juices were also available for those wanting a lighter meal.
THE SERVICE One of the things I really appreciated at the hotel (aside from the reliable WiFi) was the service. Eñaut, the first person I met at the hotel, was not only friendly and helpful every time I spoke to him, but enthusiastic about his city. As I went through his extremely well thought-out list of recommendations, visiting the bars he had suggested and trying out his favorite pintxos, I began to understand why he loved San Sebastián so much and shared in his sentiment.
Ever my food guru, Eñaut also helped me make a reservation at Kokotxa, one of San Sebastián’s much-lauded Michelin-star restaurants. I had initially worried that booking at the last minute would make it impossible to get a table at any of the Michelin-star restaurants but Eñaut said he would call and try anyway and luckily enough, Kokotxa had an available slot! Dining at that restaurant was definitely one of the highlights of my stay.
AT CHECK OUT Checkout on my last day was at noon and as much as I wanted to spend more time just relaxing in my suite (perhaps going for yet another hydromassage), I also wanted to explore more of the city and so I asked the staff to keep my luggage while I went. When I arrived back in the afternoon, the staff offered to call me a cab but as the girl at the front desk had assured me that the train station was only a 15-minute walk away, I decided to walk to the station and enjoy one last stroll in the streets of San Sebastián.
THE VERDICT TRYP San Sebastián Orly Hotel is great place to stay, with a more-than-ideal location, fantastic views, and excellent service all around. I highly recommend getting the rooms with a view and the Junior Suite in particular, if you like hanging out on the balcony. Having stayed at here once, I wouldn’t hesitate to book it another time in (hopefully many more) future visits to San Sebastián.
TRYP San Sebastián Orly Hotel is located at Plaza de Zaragoza, 4, San Sebastián City Center, Spain. For bookings and reservations, visit <agoda.com/ tryp-san-sebastian-orly-hotel/hotel/san-sebastian- es.html>. Special thanks to Agoda.com