Hotel Maria Cristina, San Sebastian, Spain

The Bette Davis Suite

Designed by Charles Mewès – a French architect behind the Ritz hotels in both Paris and Madrid, Hotel Maria Cristina first opened its doors in 1912. Located in the seaside town on the southern point of the Bay of Biscay in San Sebastian, Spain, Hotel Maria Cristina overlooks San Sebastian’s Urumea River. A once sleepy village, San Sebastian quickly gained a reputation of a thriving cosmopolitan town welcoming royalty and aristocrats who yearned for the bright sunshine and newly recognized therapeutic properties of sea bathing.

In 1989, the 136-room hotel welcomed Bette Davis when she was honored to receive the Donostia Award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. After a 1983 stroke nearly killed her and the cancer treatments she endured after, Bette and her assistant Kathryn Sermak embarked on a road trip; staying in San Sebastian for five days. It was after the private interviews, press conferences, private luncheons, the presentation of the best film award, and the gala dinner, in her suite, did Bette realize that her era of Hollywood was over and it was time to pass on the torch. Bette’s condition weakened with each passing day after the festival and she was flown to the American Hospital in Neuilly, a suburb of Paris, where she peacefully passed, with Kathryn by her side.

In 2012, the hotel has revamped its’ interior in celebration of its centennial. The Bette Davis Suite has been dedicated in honor of the actress and consists of a hallway graced with photographs of the actress, a lounge, a 55-inch screen TV complemented by a collection of Davis’s films, bedroom and bathroom, and a second bedroom and bathroom that can accommodate more guests when needed.  

The hotel is minutes from the beaches La Concha and La Zurriola and a couple of minutes’ walk from The Old Quarter; dense with pintxo bars and restaurants.

The Dry Bar is a local favorite for those in need of a cocktail. A well-equipped 500 square meter cooking school, including a private bodega, offers gastronomy classes for the modern chef, where an astounding 16 Michelin stars have been bestowed upon San Sebastian restaurants.

If you feel inspired to experience gracious hospitality on a grand scale, book your stay at the Bette Davis Suite:


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