Drinking Guide

Legendary Hotels Undergo Renovations

Ana B. Remos

Some are known for hosting the likes of William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe or Charles Dickens.

The famous María Cristina hotel in San Sebastian, Spain, reopened its doors this summer to celebrate one hundred years of existence, after being closed nine months for renovations. The makeover cost €20 million, equivalent to 33 million dollars. To see what was done for such a considerable sum of money, you can visit their web site and take a virtual tour of the grand hotel, a favorite with movie stars, www.hotel-mariacristina.com

María Cristina Hotel in San Sebastián, Spain.

The construction of the hotel and the adjacent Victoria Eugenia Theatre was the wish of a group of visionaries who wanted to bring visibility to the Basque city.

In 1902 they founded the Sociedad de Fomento de San Sebastián and started working on the idea of the construction of a world-class hotel and theater for the city. The hotel opened its doors in 1912. After the Spanish Civil War, the International Film Festival of San Sebastian was created. That marked the beginning of the hotel´s notoriety, linked to the history of cinema, since the stars that participate in the festival stay at the Maria Cristina.

Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Harrison Ford, Woody Allen and Quentin Tarantino are some of the celebrities that have stayed here.

The hotel´s first renovation took place in the 1950s, changing its structure from the old “L” shape to a “U” shape. According to the initial agreement, in 1982 it became property of the Council of San Sebastian, which had ceded the land for its construction and use during the first seventy years. The next renovation took place between 1987 and 1988, upgrading its rating to five stars. During this period, the wing added in the 50s was turned into apartments.

Ritz Hotel at Place Vendôme in Paris, France.

Also in the news: The famous Ritz Hotel at Place Vendôme in Paris will close its doors for a two year renovation.

Until this summer, kings, princes, artists and movie stars stayed at the Ritz, owned by Egyptian millionaire Mohammed Al Fayed. The hotel will reopen in the summer of 2014. The renovation will cost €140 million and will integrate state-of-the-art technologies to fulfill the needs of its wealthy clients.

The Ritz is a legendary representation of good taste. Even the announcement of a temporary shutdown is spectacular: www.ritzparis.com

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