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San Sebastian Part 4: Spa-ing Like a Queen, On the Cheap


Entrance to La Perla at night

When I booked my vacation in San Sebastian, I mostly had food on my mind.  Between the pintxos and the Michelin stars, it was hard to think of much else.  So when I asked the front desk of my hotel for a spa recommendation to work out some job-induced stress in my neck and shoulders, I wasn’t expecting anything extraordinary.

Instead, I discovered a spa that eases your every muscle, makes you feel like you’ve just exercised and done really good things to your body despite exerting almost no energy, and costs a mere 25 euro for two hours of service.

La Perla, not to be confused with the sexy lingerie brand, is San Sebastian’s prominent salt-water spa.  Thalassotherapy is supposedly backed by science.  I just thought it felt great.

Do not be fooled by their atrocious website and locker room that feels a bit like the city YMCA.  Because once you get past the ugly swimcap (and Carolina blue to boot!) and walk through those doors, you discover a water house of wonder.

Two floors, three pools, thousands of water jets.  A steam room, a sauna, a cold plunge pool.  One area was a walkway designed through jetstreams of altering hot and cold water, never knowing what is coming next (I graciously let my friend go first).  Another room was designed for relaxing atop real water beds, the kind that I hadn’t seen since my high school boyfriend’s bedroom (who lets their teenage son have a water bed???).  Dim lights, mosaicked pillars, crushed ice pouring out of the wall…  The whole thing was completely surreal and completely awesome.

The highlight was the two pools on the ground floor, overlooking the Bay of La Concha.  One was like circuit training but not at all.  You moved from one spot in the pool to the next, with little signs above each spot showing you which body part the jets were aimed at.  The second pool had underwater seats and beds where your entire body was completely surrounded by jets.

The only downside to La Perla is its understandable attractiveness to couples.  And since this is Europe and PDA is quite the norm, there was no shyness when it came to couples getting all up on each other in full view of the other spa patrons.  So be warned (I mean, isn’t that how Quinn Fabray got pregnant afterall?).

The most shocking part of all though really was the pricetag.  We kept shaking our heads in amazement, knowing full well that if this place existed in the US it would be at least 5 times the price.

Looks like I can afford some more pintxos and wine now…

La Perla

Paseo de La Concha

20007 San Sebastián – Spain

Tel.: 943 – 45 88 56


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