The 5-star Hotel Marqués de Riscal in Elciego, Spain, will fascinate your eyes and satisfy your taste buds.
This eye-capturing hotel in the middle of the Basque country is hard to miss as one makes their way through Spain’s revered wineries. The Hotel Marqués de Riscal, part of the Marqués de Riscal winery, boasts a Michelin star restaurant, rows and rows of vineyards, vintage wine tastings, grape-infused spa treatments, and endless architectural details impossible not to stop and stare at. Above all, the hotel’s related vineyard won 2nd best in all of Europe, and the connecting bodega was awarded the best bodega in all of Europe in World’s Best Vineyards 2021.
The luxury hotel’s famous architect and Pritzker Prize winner, Frank Gehry, completed the masterpiece in 2006. He is known for many other architectural wonders around the world, including: the Walt Disney Concert Hall in California, the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, the Olympic Fish Pavilion in Spain, and the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain, known for jumpstarting Bilbao’s economy to what it is today.
This 5-star hotel, however, is incredibly unique because, at first glance, the building’s ribbons of cascading colors constantly remind visitors of the famous Marqués de Riscal Gran Reserva wine bottle — a timeless drink from this region of Spain. A fuchsia-red blanket meant to represent the heavenly grape juice gracefully falls over silver and gold base layers beneath it that pay homage to the bottle’s label and iconic gold casing.
Gehry’s genius does not stop on the outside of the building. As soon as one steps indoors, the high ceilings, tilted and bold windows, bottle-themed restaurants, and overall neoclassical feel with an avant-garde twist fills every hallway, suite, and wall. The hotel is part of Marriot’s Luxury Collection, making it very sought after for couples, weddings, and events. Moreover, its combination of contemporary comfort and swanky exceptionalism fits perfectly with the city it rests in — the City of Wine.
Wine That Isn’t Just for Drinking: The Spa
The hotel’s team has developed Spa Vinotherapie® Caudalie Marqués De Riscal, which boasts of using wine as a tool for therapy, relaxation, and beauty. Additionally, the spa area has a 24-hour fitness wing and indoor heated pool, perfect for children and older guests alike. The pool and spa area are adjacent to a field of vines where guests can watch grapes grow firsthand. The hotel only has 43 rooms and suites, but each guest is made to feel accommodated in every way — from the wine tours down the road, to the spa, to the fantastic bites and drinks available to them.
A Michelin Star Restaurant with My Wine, Please?
A couple of steps from the lobby lies the Vinoteca & Bistro with handcrafted cocktails and small bites in case you had too many tapas for lunch in the medieval city of Elcielo. There is no better place to casually enjoy some of the wines from this large estate with some friends and family. Just upstairs is the a la carte menu option called 1860s Tradicion. Enjoy some delicious regional dishes and drinks from the vineyards you are watching from just above. The panoramic view and Gehry architecture make it a perfect place to have a meal after a long day of wine tours.
Last but not least is the Restaurante Marqués de Riscal, awarded a Michelin Star and two Repsol Sun awards for its exquisite regional dining and extraordinary wine pairings. The chef, Francis Paniego, is a well-known man in the Rioja culinary world as he has another restaurant nearby with two Michelin stars. He has created two set menus one can choose from in their dining experience: the 7 or 10 Ideas Earth Menu. Be sure to pay attention to the theme of culinary evolution he infuses into all his dishes at this high-end dining experience.
Whether it is tasting tempranillo wines among the grapevines, admiring the sunset with some friends in the spa, or staring in awe at the Michelin star food coming out of the kitchen, you will be sure to relish in the opulence and high quality of your stay. Just be sure not to drink so much wine you don’t make it to dinner!
Paloma stayed at the hotel in June 2022.