Spain’s best known wine Rioja, takes its name from a fascinating region of northern Spain, an unforgettable short break destination
Wine tourism is big business and few other regions of Spain can boast such a sophisticated and compelling offering as La Rioja. The famous wine region lies between the rivers Oja and Ebro, and is home to hundreds of wine makers, with wineries or ‘bodegas’ spilling over into the neighbouring areas of The Basque Country and Navarra.
It makes a perfect self-drive break; offering a journey of discovery, where the many thread of Rioja’s culture of great wines, superb food, striking architecture and innovative art are woven together….
Frank O. Gehry’s distinctive signature titanium, (BTW, he also designed the Guggenheim in Bilbao, just to the north ) has been coloured here to reflect a bottle of Marques de Riscal Rioja – red for the wine, gold for the wire on the outside of the bottle and silver for the collar. Supposedly, the structure as a whole, supported by pillars is also meant to mimic the vines growing along rustic trellis in the neighbouring fields.
The interiors, designed Javier Muñoz, are very clean, almost Scandinavian-like. The suites are fitted out with bespoke furniture made from blond Maple Wood and tan leather and this is echoed throughout the public spaces, which are really impressive thanks to their huge, cathedral style high ceilings.
Overall, as is common in Spain and other parts of Europe, the team at the hotel lack the service levels of other international Luxury Collection Hotels – it isn’t as natural, intuitive and polished as one might find in say Asia but hey, the Marques de Riscal City of Wine, its location on the edge of the sleepy village of Elciego, and the great food and wine is good enough reason to come!
How to get there:
Fly to Bilbao airport and rent a car
Where to stay:
There are plenty of superb quality local guest houses and hotels such as the charming 18th century lodge with designer bedrooms:
Solar de Febrer
There are also a choice of upscale resorts including the unique Frank O. Gehry designed hotel and Spa:
Marques de Riscal City of Wine
What to do:
Wine tasting is essential and for an extra special experience visit: