While La Rioja is among Spain’s smallest regions, it’s famous for its wine – and unique places to stay. From boutique hotels on wine estates to those situated in the city plus elegant palaces and monasteries, the north-central part of Spain is ripe with bountiful accommodation options.
Hotel Real Casona de las Amas
Courtesy of Hotel Real Casona de las Amas / Hotels.com
Hotel Real Casona de las Amas sits in the small town of Azofra, just off the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. Set in a 17th-century palace, it’s both romantic and charming. The rooms feel fit for royalty with princessy beds, elegant soft furnishings, comfortable armchairs, grand wardrobes and marble bathrooms. There’s a cosy pub-like bar area in which to try the local wines and a sophisticated restaurant for an intimate meal. The hotel also has an outdoor saltwater pool.
A dedicated wine hotel, Finca de los Arandinos is a modern and contemporary place to stay, just south of Logroño. Minimalistic yet elegant, all its rooms afford spectacular views over the surrounding vineyards and olive groves. A working winery itself, the hotel also offers tours of its production rooms and cellars, as well as tastings. And with great wine comes great food – the on-site Tierra Restaurant prides itself on local quality produce and its zero-kilometre concept. As well as its wine activities and gourmet offerings, Finca de los Arandinos also has a spa for relaxation and indulgent treatments.
You’ll be staying inside a piece of history if you choose the Hostería San Millán, located within the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Monastery of San Millán de Yuso, which aided in the development of the Spanish language. Surrounded by ancient stone walls, the hotel features 25 cosy rooms decorated in warm terracotta tones, and through the arched windows are magnificent views over the whole monastery complex. Wine and gastronomy play big roles at the hotel, where you can sample traditional Riojan cuisine, along with excellent wines.
The Hotel Calle Mayor is situated in the capital of La Rioja, Logroño. It lies inside a 16th-century palace in the historic centre of the city. While the building has undergone a complete renovation, it retains historical features such as carved pillars, wood-beamed ceilings and stone-arched doorways. Rooms are contemporary and light, featuring minimalistic design and pastel colours. The hotel offers a breakfast buffet each morning, as well as a lounge area for relaxation. Although there’s no restaurant, it’s a short walk from the famous foodie street of Calle del Laurel.
Located in the town of Briñas, along the River Ebro, the four-star Hotel Palacio Tondón offers guests a combination of luxury, design and history. Set in a former 16th-century palace, it mixes original features such as exposed stone with glass and wood, resulting in a stylish design. Cosy yet luxurious, the rooms offer incredible views of either the river or the Tondón vineyards beyond. There’s also a wine bar and a restaurant, which serves modern gastronomy made with local and seasonal produce.
The Hotel Marqués de Riscal is undoubtedly one of the most amazing hotels in La Rioja. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, it somewhat resembles his design for Bilbao’s Guggenheim, with its sheets of curved titanium and twisted metal. It lies on the world-renowned Vinos de los Herederos del Marqués de Riscal wine estate, surrounded by vineyards and the historic 150-year-old bodega, where the wines are made. With just 43 rooms, it has an exclusive and intimate feel. For relaxation, guests can read in the library, which has an open fireplace, or visit the spa to enjoy wine therapy treatments. There is, of course, also a sophisticated wine bar, as well as two restaurants. The food at the Restaurante Marqués de Riscal is so good that it was awarded a Michelin star.
Situated in the town of Arnedillo, this four-star hotel is the perfect place to stay if you want to relax, unwind and reap the health benefits from the local thermal waters. The origins of this spa hotel go back to Roman times when they built a thermal bath here. Later, in the 19th century, it was a popular spot with the upper classes, who used to come here to ‘take the waters’. Today, it’s a luxury hotel with modern facilities such as a mud gallery, a Roman-style bath, a wave pool and an outdoor thermal park. The 133-bedroom property also features a restaurant and a kids’ play area.
Courtesy of Echaurren Hotel Gastronómico / Booking.com
In the village of Ezcaray sits one of the best gastronomic hotels in the region – the Echaurren Hotel Gastronómico. A Relais & Châteaux property, it combines sumptuous rooms with not one but four places to dine, including a traditional restaurant, a tapas bar and a bistro. The highlight, however, is the gourmet two-Michelin-star El Portal, run by chef Francis Paniego. The hotel lies just a short drive from the Vivanco Museum of Wine Culture and the town of Haro, which is home to many century-old wineries.
Courtesy of Hospedería Señorío de Briñas / Hotels.com
You’ll find the Hospedería Señorio de Briñas in the village of Briñas, on the banks of the River Ebro. Despite its name, it’s not anything like a hostel; instead, it’s a cosy and luxurious hotel – among the first rural hotels in La Rioja. It’s filled with original chunky wooden beams, old stonework and elegant antique furniture. Charming and rustic, some rooms also feature luxurious extras such as Jacuzzis, dressing tables and chandeliers. There’s also a relaxing spa and a stylish restaurant.
Located in Logroño and founded by Spanish hotelier Antonio Catalán, this four-star hotel is part of the Marriott line and provides a comfortable stay near vineyards and urban pintxos establishments. Situated next to the Basque Country, the city has excellent food stalls in the old part of town, with its quaint labyrinth of balconied buildings, and is also near many wineries. The hotel features a fitness centre with a Turkish bath and sauna, spacious rooms and a lounge that serves local dishes and tapas, in addition to an ample breakfast.
Courtesy of Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada / Hotels.com
Part of the prestigious Parador collection of hotels set in historic monuments, the Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada occupies a former 12th-century hospital. Located in the town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, the hospital was created by St Dominic to house pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago and tend to their injuries. Elegant Gothic arches and wooden coffered ceilings in the public areas combine with antique furniture and four-poster beds in the bedrooms. With its grand decor and refined dishes, the sumptuous hotel restaurant will make you feel as if you’re dining in a Medieval palace.