Where to Sleep : Marques de Riscal, La Rioja, Spain
In the rolling hills of the Rioja sits one of Basque Country's best hotels. The Marques de Riscal Hotel is a Starwood-Marriot property, yes, but it's also a local landmark, gracing the cover of many books and essays about the Rioja and the Basque Country. And it's not hard to see why—the modern steel and titanium exterior of the hotel is jaw dropping.
The thoroughly contemporary aesthetic and an artistic genius’s (namely, American architect Frank O Gehry) attention to details continue on the interior, with curved maple wood walls, leather furniture, and marble bathrooms. Every piece of furniture has a designer attached, and you’ll find yourself unable to stop snapping photos.
But this hotel isn't just a pretty face. The vast area surrounding the hotel contain a complex devoted to the production, study, and storage of wine. A guided tour of the bodega, built in 1858, is included in the price of a room.
The royal family of Spain's wine is stored in this impressive bodega.
Following in his majesty's footsteps, stroll through the Ciudad de Vino and end with a tasting of the bodega Marques de Riscal's wines. For those afternoons when you just need a detox : a spa by the luxe brand Caudalie, where you can choose between a Merlot and a Honey Wine wrap. Then take a glass of red to the hotel's library, stocked with books on wine, art and Spain.
As if that weren't enough, the hotel boasts two restaurants, one of which has a Michelin star. Chef Francis Paniego, of the famous Rioja restaurant Echaurren, consults on the menu of Restaurante Marques de Riscal, and the plates are fully modern, like the pigeon roasted à la minute or the foie gras with red wine caviar.
On Sunday and Mondays, when the starred spot is closed, you can dine at 1860 tradición, whose menu is distinctly more traditional, accompanied by a spectacular wine list, of course.
It’s hard to find a favorite corner in this hotel. Buried in the 480-thread count sheets and a backboard designed by Frank Gehry himself? Or perched on the wall-to-wall window seat overlooking the vineyards?
Double rooms from €363.