Best Luxury Hotels In The Basque Country

The beautiful Basque Country is an autonomous region of northern Spain, with its own distinct personality. Suitable for a beachside break, it’s also close to the Pyrenees for mountain exploring and to France, which has influenced the area’s traditions, culture and dining. Indeed, food is a big deal here, with locals having a gourmand reputation. Classic dishes revolve around homegrown/fished/reared produce such as grilled lamb, cured meat, salt cod, anchovies, sheep’s and goat’s cheese, piquillo peppers and artichokes. Top destinations in the Basque Country include San Sebastián, home to a glitzy film festival, and Bilbao, with its modernist architecture.

Hotel Marqués de Riscal, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Elciego

A futuristic masterpiece and a feat of building brilliance, this one-of-a-kind 61-bedroom property was designed by the lauded architect Frank Gehry. In the countryside just outside the beautiful medieval town of Elciego (The City of Wine), it’s a place of contrast, where the old meets the new. The avant-garde style continues inside, where bedrooms have cloud lamps and Porsche-designed electric kettles. Two restaurants – 1860 Tradición and Marqués de Riscal Restaurant – are under the direction of Michelin-starred Chef Francis Paniego. The Vinothérapie® SPA Caudalie Marqués de Riscal offers treatments using wine as a key ingredient, as well as hydrotherapy including a heated pool and barrel bath.

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Aurea Palacio de Correos

Dating back to the 1930s, this neo-baroque building used to be Logroño’s Post Office. It lives up to its name and history, with walls decorated by stamp collages, mail art, original post boxes flanking the entrance, the Matasellos “Postmark” restaurant, and a collection of vintage postcards, including some antiques from the eighteenth century. In 2021 the hotel received a full makeover, upgrading rooms, the spa and the indoor pool area. Aurea Palacio de Correos also has a terrace for drinks with a view and a delicious choice of meals made using Riojan produce.

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Akelarre San Sebastián

This sleek venue was born in the 1970s as a restaurant. Enjoying spectacular success, it held two Michelin stars for 25 years, before securing a third in 2007, which it retained. Of course, the food is a massive draw, but in 2017, the arrival of rooms and a spa, made it the complete boutique dine and stay experience. Circular wooden terraces take advantage of the panoramic seaside views, as do private indoor/outdoor heated plunge pools in exclusive suites. Cantabrian multi-sensory cuisine is served in the top-class restaurants, Akelarre and Espazio Oteiza, with chef Pedro Subijana at the helm.

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Palacio de Samaniego

A region popular for wine tourism, Rioja Alavesa (specifically the village of Samaniego) is home to this boutique two-storey establishment, part of the Edmond de Rothschild Heritage portfolio. The stunning front elevation features wrought iron balconies and with just 9 rooms, it feels more like you’re a mansion guest as you climb the 17th-century original stone staircase to bed. Suites are named after wines, designed using natural regional materials and filled with local crafts and artworks. Chef Bruno Coelho blends French and Basque flavours with farm-to-table dishes at Tierra y Vino Restaurant. Two terraces accommodate a charming spot for drinks and a stone-clad pool.

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