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.
The hotel stands modern and shiny amidst the medieval walls of the town of Elciego. An-hour-and-a-half drive from the Bilbao, it’s easy to reach by car. Some of the world’s biggest-name Rioja wine bodegas are at a 30-minute-or-less drive – but there is no need to leave the hotel and it’s impressive Ciudad de Vino.
The hotel is isolated, so the fact that its facilities are on overdrive is much appreciated. Traditional resort facilities get a wine-makeover: a spa by the luxe brand Caudalie, where you can choose between a Merlot and a Honey Wine wrap; a library stocked with books on wine, art and Spain; and of course the Ciudad de Vino. 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 a complimentary gift on arrival.
The hotel’s 43 rooms are for spending time in. It’s hard to find a favourite corner. 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. The choice here is between rooms in the main Gehry building or in the modern outcropping. While most choose the former, from the latter the view of the beautiful building is an impressive one.
Breakfast is plentiful, with especially exceptional ham and mushrooms, and in good weather can be taken outside on the terrace. The hotel has two restaurants, one of which boasts 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.