Arima Hotel, San Sebastián, Spain

This trailblazing contemporary design hotel blends into
the landscape in a leafy suburb of
San Sebastián
and is paving the way for a new generation of

green hotels
in Spain.

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think
of San Sebastián? A sandy beach, pintxos bars, or perhaps the film

How about cutting-edge architecture and impressive eco
credentials with a backdrop of luscious green forest?

Step forward Arima, a trailblazing contemporary
design hotel that blends into the landscape in a leafy suburb of
San Sebastián. The first of its kind in Spain, Arima is paving the
way for a new generation of eco-hotels, placing sustainability at
its heart of everything from its eye-catching aluminium shell to
the nifty recycling drawers in the bedrooms.

Nestled among trees in the Miramón Forest, this bucolic haven is
just a 15-minute drive from the hustle and bustle of the city. With
a focus on naturalness and wellbeing, guests can unwind in the
, stretch out at rooftop yoga,
work up a sweat in the snazzy gym or borrow some walking poles for
a ramble through the forest.

We felt “well” just by being in this tranquil locale and spent
most of the time lounging by the rooftop pool slurping botanical
cocktails. We like to think of it as conserving energy, much like
Arima, who has slashed its consumption to a fraction of its


Muted tones and pared-back decor give rooms at Arima a
minimalist Scandi feel
. Wood, stone, iron and natural fabrics
create a calming atmosphere, while hi-tech lighting systems are
reminiscent of Japan (just try to resist pressing every single
button on that keypad).

Clever insulation, triple-glazed windows and the outer aluminium
tiles keep rooms cool in summer and warm in winter, and it’s
collected rainwater that fills your loo. Beds are monstrously large
and equally comfortable – if you’re feeling flush, book a terrace
suite for a voyeuristic balcony with views of the surrounding
forest and rooftop pool.

What’s for breakfast?

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the hotel’s dedication to all
things green means you’re going to be presented with a miserly kale
juice come breakfast. Oh no. The most bountiful spread of organic
local produce and freshly baked breads and sweet treats awaits.
Tuck into Iberico pork, nutty cheeses, an overflowing fruit bowl,
yoghurts, jam, honey, grains and cereals – and then order your
favourite eggs or vegan hot plate a la carte.

How about lunch and dinner?

At lunchtime, soak up the sun on the expansive terrace but for
dinner you’ll want to reserve a table at industrial-chic Misura, a
destination in itself. Here, a glass wall allows diners to see
chefs at work in the kitchen, deftly whipping up local, organic and
seasonal produce into the prettiest of plates.

Proudly catering to “carnivores, vegetarians, vegans, omnivores,
gluten intolerants, ovo-lactos…” (we’re not sure on that one
either) this self-professed “healthy restaurant” could easily be
one of those trendy spots where style triumphs over substance. But
innovative tasting menus involving the likes of charcoal-grilled
octopus with smoked yolk, aubergine stewed in white miso and the
best gazpacho we’ve ever tasted show it’s anything but.

Is there a bar?

Yes, the rooftop one wins heads down (head up there for sunset)
though the terrace beside the restaurant also makes an excellent
place for a digestif – the attentive maître d’ has a particularly
good stock of whisky and will keep you well lubricated.


Rooftop pool, spa, gym, free WiFi and parking.

Within a short walk I can find

Plenty of forest trails – pack a picnic, ask reception for their
recommended route and spend an afternoon drinking in the fresh air
(washed down with a cold txacoli white).

The bus stop is also just a two-minute walk away, and will get
you into the town centre in 15 minutes.

Things I should know

If you’re looking to stay in the thick of it in San Sebastián
proper, this is not the place for you.