Hotel Hopping in the Basque Region and Rioja
Traveling from Bilbao to San Sebastian and on to Rioja and then Barcelona, some of the best hotels. These are not about budget. These are about quality and style. If you'd like an itinerary for Rioja and a little info, download here.
Marques de Riscal: Maybe the most famous of the hotels we stayed in. It was worth it. The view from my room was directly looking at the ribbon metal sculptural structure. The rooms are all located in a building adjacent to the Gehry building. There aren't a lot of rooms - it's a relatively small hotel. The restaurant has a michelin-starred restaurant which is part of the group of restaurants owned by Chef Francis Paniego. The meal was delicious (photos below) and what we came to expect from michelin-starred restaurants in the north of Spain. The food was artful and delicious. We had excellent wine as well - I haven't been able to source the wine here in the US.
Hotel Maria Cristina, San Sebastian: This hotel is as traditional luxury as the Marques de Riscal is modern. I felt like a princess in this hotel which seems logical since it was a destination for royalty and aristocrats after its opening in 1912. It is luxurious and lovely, service is 5 star. The location is perfect for walking around San Sebastian. We had relatively easy access to everything even though we had a car.
Hotel Gran Silken Domine, Bilbao: There's not a lot to say about this hotel other than it is super convenient (across the street) from the Guggenheim and relatively close to other things to see/do in Bilbao if you're on foot. It was a nice hotel, but not remarkable in a special way. The convenience was worth it since we were there for only one night.