Symbiosis is served

The true beauty of the new Akelarre Hotel lies in the way it merges with its natural surroundings on Spain’s Basque coast. Land meets sea thanks to design duo Mecanismo, who – as ever – have put materials at the heart of the project

The Hotel Akelarre offers a truly exceptional experience to its guests, who can enjoy the silence as they gaze out at the horizon, savour the salty air and listen to the trees blowing in the wind. And they can do all that without ever being seen, camouflaged against the scenery like any of the local wildlife. In short, it is a chance to reconnect with the ancestral part of our souls. Set on the Basque coast in San Sebastián, it is the perfect place for anyone looking for an oasis of calm.

Hotel Akelarre, outdoor

The credit for this goes not only to the hotel’s location, but also to Madrid-based design duo Marta Urtasun and Pedro Rica, better known as Mecanismo, who have succeeded in blurring the lines between human intervention and nature. The Mecanismo approach, which revolves around two key factors: choosing the best materials and taking care of the details. In this way, the duo have been able to create a close bond with the surrounding area, keeping their work as non-invasive as possible while favouring integration and symbiosis.

Hotel Akelarre
Hotel Akelarre

The resultant structure is coherent, harmonious and practical, with the design studio overseeing every phase of the project – from development through to execution, system development, architectural works and design consultancy. The hotel – which looks out over the Cantabrian Sea, with stunning terraces from which to soak up the view and huge windows drawing your gaze to the horizon – uses wood, metal and linen as the cornerstones of its interior design approach. The hotel is composed of five perfectly camouflaged stone cubes which jut out from the cliffs, with a total of 22 rooms distributed over two levels. All have sea views and share largely the same features, regardless of their size or category.

Outside, situated in front of the hotel and surrounded by green spaces, six round lookout points are the perfect place to take refuge on comfortable outdoor seating by Kettal. There is a wooden section that runs along each floor, connecting all of the various communal areas, which include a spa, snack bar, wine cellar and lounge. Many of the spaces have been personalised with custom-made furniture and textures, while even the lighting has been studied in minute detail to guarantee the optimal rapport between space and light (taking the abundant natural light into account too). Finally, guests can have their taste buds tantalised by the hotel’s famous three Michelin Star restaurant, led by chef Pedro Subjana, one of the geniuses of new Basque cuisine.


Hotel Akelarre Pedro Subijana

San Sebastiàn, Spain

Hotel operator

Architectural and interior design
Mecanismo arquitectura

Artisan, De La Espada, Flexform, Gubi, Kettal, Mecanismo (own designs), Poltrona Frau

Daisalux, iGuzzini, Mecanismo (own designs), Viabizzuno

Catalano, Ceadesign

Photo credits
Kike Palacio