Hotel Marqués de Riscal
The Hotel Marqués de Riscal is the design hotel to trump all others, designed as it is by the renowned Canadian architect Frank Gehry, who revitalised Bilbao with his Guggenheim Museum.
The hotel is located just outside the village of Elciego, in the heart of the Rioja wine region, and has already become a tourist attraction in its own right. The structure is clad is Gehry's signature sheets of twisting titanium, tinged pink and gold to signify the red and white wines of the Marqués de Riscal winery, which commissioned the building at a cost of some Â£50m.
The 43 suites come with marble bathrooms and facilities include an indoor swimming pool, hammam, and Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa, which offers a variety of massages and treatments based on grape extracts. The main restaurant serves gourmet cuisine, and there is (of course) a wine bar and a rooftop lounge with panoramic views across the vineyards to the rooftops of Elciego. Activities include tours of the winery, visits to other nearby estates on the local wine route and medieval villages such as Laguardia, and horse-riding, mountain-biking or walking in the surrounding countryside.
Why We Love It
A chateau for the 21st century, Gehry described his creation as 'the flowering thing'.
The hotel is located just a couple of hundred feet from two of the city's top attractions: the famous Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Built in 2002, the hotel has a relaxed, modern ambience and innovative interiors. The 50 rooms and suites feature contemporary décor with sleek modern furnishings and en-suite bathrooms in black marble. All are equipped with internet access, flatscreen TV's and CD & DVD players. Facilities include a gym with the latest technology in sports equipment and a spa with Jacuzzis, steam baths and massage service.
The Bar Miró is exclusive and free of charge for hotel guests, a perfect spot to have a coffee, work at the computer or get together before going out to dinner. There is no restaurant, but Bilbao is home to plenty of top quality options. All in all, the Miró makes an excellent choice for a short city break, or a good base from which to explore more of the Basque country.
Why We Love It
The Miró Hotel (named after the famous painter but designed by his namesake Antonio Miró, one of Spain's top designers) is a fashionable boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Bilbao.
Villa Soro is a charming 25-bedroom hotel housed in a renovated 19th century villa which has been declared a Historical Heritage Building of San Sebastian.
The hotel is located on an attractive tree-lined avenue and is within short walking distance of the Zurriola Beach. Fifteen rooms are in the main building, with the other ten located in the former carriage house. Each room is individually designed and furnished, and all are equipped with air conditioning, satellite TV and internet connection.
There is no restaurant, but a hearty breakfast is served, and a small menu is available as room service on request. San Sebastian is the gastronomic capital of Spain, and the hotel concierge can guide you through the various experiences on offer, from Michelin-starred restaurants to local tapas bars. The Old Quarter of town is within easy walking distance, and Bilbao's famous Guggenheim Museum is just an hour away by car.
Why We Love It
City surfing beaches are few and far between, but the break at Zurriola Beach is just 10 minutes walk away.