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Mercure San Sebastián Monte Igueldo - MOST BEAUTIFUL VIEW IN THE WORLD (?)

Mercure San Sebastián Monte Igueldo - MOST BEAUTIFUL VIEW IN THE WORLD (?)

Old Feb 12, 19, 12:58 pm
  #1  
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Mercure San Sebastián Monte Igueldo - MOST BEAUTIFUL VIEW IN THE WORLD (?)

Mercure San Sebastián Monte Igueldo

Map| 1 Review | 100% Recommended

Mercure San Sebastián Monte Igueldo

Itsasargi Pasealekua 134 Gipuzkoa, ES 20008 Donostia

Mercure San Sebastián Monte Igueldo - MOST BEAUTIFUL VIEW IN THE WORLD (?) (37 Photos)

Mercure San Sebastián Monte Igueldo

On the web site for the hotel "We invite you to enjoy the MOST BEAUTIFUL VIEW IN THE WORLD in a renovated hotel full of charm, where our team considers the customer to be its raison d'être. Welcome to San Sebastián or, as they say in Basque, Ongi Etorri Donostiara"

 

We had a pleasant(ish) one night stay in this Mercure in January.

 

Arrival is by way of a long and narrow winding road to the top of the Monte Igueldo. You need to have already printed your booking or you will be charged by the Park Warden for access ( our booking was inspected for about 10 minutes for some reason ).

There is a free car park for guests, and checking was quick. ( the lobby has a cash machine if you needed it ) We were given an upgrade to a room with a sea/bay view. The hotel was almost deserted, there must have been about 3 other guests staying.  Was disappointed that the room did not have the view advertised without stepping out on the terrace and then leaning out. The hotel is really about the location and view. We were given two welcome drink vouchers that we used for a Jack D and Coke in the bar later.

Room design featured a built in bench seat. The bathroom needed a little better cleaning. ( no tissues or loo roll when we arrived and it seemed to be trouble for them to be delivered from housekeeping) The min- bar with free soft drinks turned out to be two bottles of water and some capsule milk for the Nespresso coffee maker. Room was also a little dusty in places.

We enquired about access to the town below ( did not wish to drive the road in the dark ) and was told that the park barrier shut at 6pm anyway. We could use the other road back not going through the park after 6pm.  There was no shuttle bus option, and our planned route of the Funicular was out of service for a week. with no notice on the website.  The pool was also closed for the winter.

The receptionist suggested that if we wanted to see the view from the front of the hotel we could go around the side and look from there. We did, and watched the sun set over the town. The view was very nice.  Unfortunately we were prevented from returning to the entrance to the hotel by the passage way becoming locked. There was no signage to warn, and the receptionist had not mentioned that they locked the gate at sunset. After what appeared to be hours, our shouting resulted in it being unlocked and we were allowed back to the hotel without any apology . This experiance tended to spoil the stay.

Breakfast was served in a separate dining room. We were the only guests. There was a good but limited choice.

Not sure if the customer is king in this hotel, but the view was lovely if stressful.

Check In

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Room

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Service

Welcome gift

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Dining

Breakfast Buffet.IMG_2714.JPGIMG_2721.JPGIMG_2722.JPGIMG_2723.JPGIMG_2724.JPGIMG_2727.JPGIMG_2745.JPG

Location

The View

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Overall

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Mercure San Sebastián Monte Igueldo - MOST BEAUTIFUL VIEW IN THE WORLD (?)

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Old Jun 22, 19, 4:03 am
  #2  
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Thanks for the review hotel_user. I have made a booking in this hotel for a weekend this summer. Curious to discover it and the city (never been there before but heard it's beautiful). Easy to reach from France (Biarritz).
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Old Jun 22, 19, 5:06 am
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It should be a totally different experience to us as we stayed in Jan. Enjoy. Try and get the upgraded rooms with a "view" of the bay. There are three "views" from the hotel and only one is of the full bay.
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Old Jun 22, 19, 10:53 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by hotel_user View Post
It should be a totally different experience to us as we stayed in Jan. Enjoy. Try and get the upgraded rooms with a "view" of the bay. There are three "views" from the hotel and only one is of the full bay.
I booked seaview, hoping for an upgrade to bay view. This hotel is not cheap. My room comes at €200 w/o BF (22€ for BF ).
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Last edited by Goldorak; Aug 23, 19 at 12:43 am
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Old Sep 9, 19, 6:35 pm
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Review Mercure San Sebastián Monte Igueldo

Mercure San Sebastian Monte Igueldo

Map| 1 Review | 0% Recommended

Mercure San Sebastian Monte Igueldo

Paseo del Faro 134 San Sebastian, Spain ES 20008

Review Mercure San Sebastián Monte Igueldo (56 Photos)

Mercure San Sebastian Monte Igueldo

I stayed 2 nights in this hotel over a weekend. This hotel is really all about the view as already explained by hotel_user in his review from last January. The view is absolutely stunning and leaves you almost breathless. This hotel has everything to offer top notch experiences, but unfortunately it is super overpriced for the quality of the “product”. You pay the view and you pay it expensive.

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Monte Igueldo is a high hill downtown San Sebastián along the sea shore. On the picture below, you can see this hill with the hotel on the top.

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For those who are not familiar with this area, San Sebastián is in Spain (Spanish Basque Country), very close to the border with France and this is a quick ride from BIQ (Biarritz) airport where we flew to from Paris. It only takes 45 min by car from BIQ. I was lucky that we were just a few days after the G7 summit, as BIQ was closed to commercial operations during several days.

As explained by hotel_user in his review, there is a small amusement park on the top of the hill where the hotel is and so the road as a “toll” to access this area.

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Hotel guests are of course exempted to pay the fee (2.5€/person IIRC), but I forgot to print the booking as recommended by hotel_user. But showing it on the app was OK and we were cleared in just a second. Continuing about 300m after the toll, you arrive at the hotel with some reserved parking spots (parking is free). The hotel looked busy by the number of cars parked, and this was of course expected for the high season. 

 

The building is somewhat ugly from the outside (horrible style of the 60 or 70’s). The main lobby is much nicer, very spacious and is in Art-Déco style which is quite nice. You can enjoy the view from there !

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Check In

I was traveling with my parents. We had 2 rooms booked under 2 different LCAH accounts (I am Plat, they are Silver). We were nicely welcomed at the front desk (the employee was speaking French very well - French is widely spoken in the area and many signs in town display French language). 

We booked both standard rooms with sea view. This is not the entry level but the 4th category. Below you have :

  • simple room, interior view (I can’t even imagine how bad it should be ,)
  • Standard room, mountain view, 2 pax, 24m2
  • Standard room, mountain view, 3 pax, 35m2

Above you have :

  • Privilege room, bay view 2 pax, 32m2
  • Privilege room, bay view 3 pax, 45m2

I understood from the employee that they upgraded my room to bay view (but I will come back on that in the room section of the review). We were given the drink vouchers (valid for 2 in case of double occupancy). 

To tell you, this hotel is not cheap at all during the high season. Our rates were 209€ without BF which comes at 22€/pax :( . So, if you are 2, that makes the room at 253€/night. At that price in a Mercure in Spain (not the most expensive country in Europe), I expect the best.

Room

My room was of very good size but was extremely basic in term of furniture and you will for sure notice the 2 very ugly old style chairs. Back to 1980...Am I in a Ibis? Even without thinking about an upgrade, as I booked a room with sea view, I was expecting something nice for that. But there was only one small window on the side of the room. There was indeed sea view from the window, but nothing spectacular and nothing you can see from anywhere in your room due to the position of the window. So it was obvious that this room was not an upgrade, but the category I booked. The room was very clean and was in good condition. There were a safety box, a kettle with a few tea bags and instant coffee (where is my Nespresso machine ? ;) ). The minibar contained 2 bottles of water (which were not replaced during stay...). No slippers, no bathrobe. They don’t even make the effort to give you the amenities of a privilege room as they call them in Mercure hotels.

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View from my window:

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My parents room was way nicer and was indeed a bay view room. It was in the corner of the building so it offered beautiful views. Obviously it was this room that was upgraded and not mine. OK, no problem with that, I was happy to leave the nicer room to my parents. This room had the same amenities as mine and no extra like slippers and bathrobe. 

5F98A083-4E71-49FB-A1AC-96035A2B117E.jpe7E193B84-54EC-4541-9AD1-F67780E242C6.jpe

No welcome gift of any kind. I didn’t ask as I am sometimes very very tired to ask...

This is it for the room description. Now, the main problem is that the walls are as thick as cigarette paper and so you hear distinctly all the fascinating conversations of your neighbors. I am not exaggerating, it’s like if they were in your room. And this is through the wall and not a communication door. The 2nd night, they came back at 4am and discussed during a good 20 min and then starting to snore deeply for the rest of the night. I had to use airplane earplugs to sleep. Not acceptable when you pay this price. Hotel_user did not report this in his review and I believe it is because he stayed in the winter and he said the hotel was deserted. 

Dining

We used our drink vouchers after arriving. The bar has a few outdoor seating. We managed to seat outside.

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The waiter was a young lady, not rude but not so pleasant and not smiling and not welcoming at all for guests. We had trouble communicating with her as she was only speaking Spanish. To our surprise, she didn’t take the vouchers and after a while she bring us the tickets to sign for a room charge. I though initially that we had to sign that due to internal bureaucracy (it has happened to me in other hotels), but I was not sure so I was challenging her showing her the vouchers. But it was impossible to communicate, so we went together at front desk to speak with the nice guy who was speaking French and so he explained her about the vouchers. It appeared that she was new and was not trained appropriately as she never heard about the vouchers. All that of course without a smile from her or even a simple « sorry ». This hotel is full of international guests including a lot of French, so I don’t think this is normal to have a bar waiter speaking only Spanish and not trained on the minimum about LCAH. 

You can order some (very good) snacks and tapas at the bar. 

When seated inside, they don’t come to your table to take your order. You need to go to the bar, order, pay/sign bill and take your order to your table. OK...

 

The 2nd evening, we had dinner at the very good restaurant. Service was very attentive. This is not a cheap restaurant as appetizers are in the €20 range, entrees in the €30-45 range and deserts at about €10. But as the whole thing is “fancy” with very good food and good service, this is OK. You can of course enjoy the view from the restaurant. 

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Breakfast is taken in a large room adjacent to the restaurant. Splendid view on the bay. Buffet is of good quality, but too expensive IMO (€22)

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Pool

The most pleasant surprise at this hotel, apart the view. I know the hotel had a pool but I was not expecting THAT ! It’s huge considering where it is located (on the top of a rock). A big asset to this hotel. It is accessible from the 4th floor and you have to pass this strange old tower and you arrive at the pool after having passed a smoking area and a place where they grow herbs and salads. The weather was so-so when I was there so, there was no one there. I wanted to use it as the weather conditions were “acceptable”. Water was cold (likely in the 19 degrees), but once in it was OK. You can then dry and relax enjoying the view !!! There is a bar at the pool.

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Overall

Check-out was without issue. Bill was correct. Points were posted super fast (2 hrs after we left) and the correct number of points. 

 

Overall, certainly not a bad stay but not up to my expectations. It is way too expensive for the rooms you get knowing that you have your neighbors staying with you in your room (and they hear you as well of course). Service was very good at front desk and at the restaurant but very average at the bar.

 

This hotel has everything to provide top notch experiences to guests with the view, the main lobby, its restaurant and its swimming pool, but:

  • needs to work on soundproofing. This should be priority #1
  • Needs to decrease the price of all rooms that do not have clearly an outstanding view (my room is a very good example, no need to pay a premium for the sea view I had). Paying a premium for the room my parents had is acceptable, providing the soundproofing issue is solved. 
  • Provide privilege room amenities like slippers and bathrobe to Platinum guests. Most Mercure I have stayed in do that (and at a cheaper price). 
  • Provide welcome gift to LCAH members. This is a benefit of the program
  • Train your new staff members about Accor loyalty program and tell them that it is expected to at least smile to the customers and not bear a face showing clearly that they’re not happy to be there and have to interact with people not speaking Spanish. 
  • I did not mention the WiFi in my review : there is WiFi of course, but it is super slow. Slow to a point that I stopped to use it and for my iPad, I shared the 4G connection of my phone. In 2019, in a big and wealthy city like San Sebastián, this is not acceptable IMO. 

 

So if you go to San Sebastián, you may consider this hotel only if you have a good price and bring ear plugs !!! Otherwise, stay elsewhere (I have seen some very nice non-Accor hotels in town) and just come to the Mercure at the bar and/or restaurant for a nice evening. 

Review Mercure San Sebastián Monte Igueldo

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Old Sep 9, 19, 11:33 pm
  #6  
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Thank you for the fantastic and detailed review, Goldorak! 👍👍👍
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Old Sep 13, 19, 10:54 pm
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I am so glad that we did not stay in the peak season !

The hotel is "all about the view", and it is trying to be something it is not. It is a 4 * Mercure, nothing more, and not a good one for the price. However the area is expensive and foodie.

We booked from a very good sale rate, and even in Jan it was expensive, but it fitted our travel plans and the area and view is exceptional.

Would we go back .... probably not.

As mentioned there are better and wider choices in town, but we were only there for a few hours on route to elsewhere, and it gave us the view. And that was 99% of the reason we stayed there, even if we had to lean over the balcony to see it or get locked out of the hotel at sun down as some naughty child.
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Old Sep 14, 19, 10:23 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Goldorak View Post
The 2nd evening, we had dinner at the very good restaurant. Service was very attentive. This is not a cheap restaurant as appetizers are in the €20 range, entrees in the €30-45 range
I beg your pardon? Main courses €30-45? Where do they think they are? Paris? Nice review though, thanks.
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Old Sep 14, 19, 11:06 am
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I'm still trying to get over the price which is more appropriate for a Sofitel 😱😱😱
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Old Oct 3, 19, 10:30 am
  #10  
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Dear Goldorak,

Thank you for your for this full and exhaustive review on Mercure San Sebastián Monte Igueldo and the photos you shared!
We are very glad that you appreciated your stay at our hotel. We shared your feedback & remarks with the hotel directly. Please, keep posting on your stays, it's much appreciated.

Best regards,
Amy
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