Hotel Marques de Riscal
Architectural statement, wine-lovers, rustic chic
Elciego Calle Torrea, 1 (34) 945-180-880 www.starwoodhotels.com
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At a Glance
Architect Frank Gehry’s bold hotel design for one of Spain’s great wine-producers put the Rioja region on the map as a travel destination, and the Basque Country is the best jumping off point for a visit.
- The racy contrast between Gehry’s avant-garde design and the surrounding vineyards
- Chef Francis Paniego’s superb cooking at the hotel’s eponymous restaurant
- The tranquil Caudalie Spa
- The views and terrific cocktails at the roof-top library lounge
Even if you don’t have GPS in your rental car or aren’t handy with a map, you won’t have trouble finding this hotel, since the tangle of silver, gold and pink titanium ribbons (the colors refer to the pink and silver caps on Marques de Riscal wine bottles, the gold to its decorative wire netting) that top the roof of the main limestone building make it visible from a distance. If this building startled the locals when it opened, it’s since become a local landmark and even a quiet source of pride.
Though there’s no doubt that this is the most comfortable and convenient place to stay while doing a tour of the bodegas, or wineries, in the Rioja, you’ll really only be happy if you book one of the fourteen rooms in the main hotel building, which have fine views of the village of Elciego, or one of the three rooms with views of the main hotel building in the otherwise rather anonymous annex. (Contact the Indagare Bookings Team for specific advice and assistance booking the best room.)
Otherwise, you won’t have the fun of experiencing the winning oddness of Gehry’s design. All of the recommended rooms are different, because of the building’s shape and roofline, but they feature calm, comfortable modern décors of light-colored wood paneling and parquet, Gehry-designed white canvas “Cloud” lamps on bedside tables, B & B Italia brown leather sofas and Artemide lamps. Bang & Olufsen televisions and Nespresso machines help with the cozy nest feeling. Bathrooms are huge, lined in lush brown Brazilian granite and have separate tubs and showers.
There’s also a Caudalie (French line of cosmetics made from grape-seed oil and extracts) spa with an indoor pool at the hotel, and local star chef Francis Paniego cooks up tasty Riojan cuisine in a dining room with beautiful views over Elciego, which is illuminated at night. Don’t miss the red shrimp carpaccio with tomato tartare and the pigeon with pears and lime.
Who Should Stay
Design lovers and wine buffs will love this hotel, which is best for couples or solo travelers.