Sunday, 11 September 2016

Hotel Marqués de Riscal is a work of art in Basque Spain

There are literally thousands of hotels all over Spain, but only a few catch your eye in such a dramatic fashion as the Hotel Marqués de Riscal, brainchild of Frank O. Gehry. 

The hotel makes an incredible architectural statement as it looms in all its weirdness and wonderfulness over a traditional Basque town. As for the architect, Gehry was labeled by Vanity Fair as “the most important architect of our age,” and looking at his work it is easy to see why. The Canadian-American Pritzker Prize-winning architect, based in Los Angeles, has been responsible for some truly incredible work, like the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and other award-winning work worldwide. 

Right in the historic heart of the medieval town of Elciego in Spain’s Basque country and surrounded by older stone buildings and endless vineyards, the hotel looms with color, curves and artistic lines. However, it is not just the exterior that shows Gehry’s genius. On entering the hotel the tilted walls, cathedral-like high ceilings and zigzag-effect windows continue this trend, making the hotel into not only luxurious accommodations, but also a work of beautiful art.

The hotel has 43 rooms and suites and offers two restaurants, namely the Michelin-starred Marqués de Riscal Restaurant and the chic Bistró 1860 restaurant both of which offer a deluxe gourmet experience.

For a room with a real view, the guest lounge is on the top floor, offering comfortable leather sofas, a cozy fireplace for cold winter months and a variety of reading material. The adjoining terrace gives views across the surrounding wine-growing areas to the mountains, as well as the fascinating and medieval village of Elciego itself.

As an additional treat, Hotel Marqués de Riscal offers an exclusive spa experience at the Vinotherapie® Spa by Caudalie, an establishment offering relaxation and also health and beauty treatments relating rather appropriately to the grape. For instance, there is the hydrotherapeutic Barrel Bath, where guests can soak in an exfoliating grape marc, as well as the Winemaker’s Massage, to increase blood circulation and improve muscle tone, among many other relaxing offers. The spa has won three international awards for excellence over the years and is well worth a visit. There is also a well-equipped gym to help guests keep fit and in shape during their stay.

The surrounding area is fascinating too, with the rolling hills as a background and the expansive vineyard, which actually dates back to 1858, making Marqués de Riscal the oldest winery in the region. There is plenty to learn about the wine-making art on several tours available of the area, as well as enjoyable wine tasting events.

Guests can explore their surroundings using the complimentary bicycles offered by the hotel - visit the charming village of Elciego and its winding streets or take a picnic in the countryside close by including, naturally, a bottle of Marqués de Riscal wine.

For anyone wishing to have a rural experience in the vineyards of Spain, together with a stay in a luxurious and unique building, Hotel Marqués de Riscal in Elciego is a fascinating choice.