The titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum is an unforgettable landmark in this city, the gateway to the Basque country. Once primarily an industrial port, its draw as a tourist destination has grown over recent decades. Bilbao serves as an alternative Spanish getaway; with ground-breaking architecture, unique culture and cooler temperatures than those searing summers experienced in the south of the country. There are plenty of bars, some great nightlife, family activities and hiking opportunities in the nearby mountains. And should you wish to explore Bilbao and its surroundings from the classiest of bases, choose one of these superb hotels.
Hotel Marques De Riscal
A destination hotel for vino enthusiasts, this property sits a fair way outside of the city centre on a well-known wine estate. The striking building was designed by architect Frank O. Gehry, incorporating 43 bedrooms, a spa (offering quirky Barrel Bath treatments), an indoor pool and a hammam. There’s also a Michelin starred restaurant, Marques de Riscal (named after the on-site winery), an alfresco dining terrace, a Vinoteca and Bistro and a rooftop Lounge Library serving cocktails with a view. Bilbao is close enough for tours and days out, but with the La Rioja on the doorstep, a stay here can incorporate both town and country.
Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao
Found right across from the Guggenheim, this hotel occupies a prime position. Opened in 2002, it was considered the first to have been fully ‘made in Spain’. Designed by Javier Mariscal, it’s colourful and ultra-modern, presenting an impressive art collection. In addition to its overnight guests, it welcomes those wishing to frequent the Gran Hotel Domine’s impressive roof terrace. The 145 rooms here are both soundproofed and air-conditioned, spread across its seven floors. Plus there’s a sleek spa and health club, lobby bar, cafe and restaurant – all complimenting the cutting edge contemporary aesthetic that runs throughout the building.