The Best Luxury Hotels in Bilbao

Combine a luxury stay in Bilbao with a visit to its iconic Guggenheim and a tour of pintxos bars in the Casco Viejo (Old Town)
Combine a luxury stay in Bilbao with a visit to its iconic Guggenheim and a tour of pintxos bars in the Casco Viejo (Old Town) | Courtesy of Gran Hotel Domine / Expedia
Photo of Esme Fox
14 April 2021

While the completion of the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum put Bilbao on the map, it’s since gone from strength to strength. Add one of the most exciting dining scenes in Spain, revolving around hole-in-the-wall pintxos bars, and local surf spots such as Mundaka, and it’s no wonder people are flocking to this former industrial port city. Enjoy the city in style and reserve a room at one of these top luxury hotels, bookable on Culture Trip.

Hotel Tayko Bilbao

4.7/5 (335 Reviews)
Courtesy of Hotel Tayko Bilbao / Expedia

While every bit of its ornate 1920s facade has been carefully retained, enter the Hotel Tayko Bilbao and it’s quite a different story. Interiors have been overhauled with sleek industrial styling involving lots of polished concrete and steel. The mood softens in the rooms with plush fabrics, big beds and – in some – giant freestanding soaking tubs. Many have views over the Nervión River. There are two outstanding dining options to choose from, too, one of which has garnered a Michelin gong.

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Vincci Consulado de Bilbao

4.6/5 (231 Reviews)
Courtesy of Vincci Consulado de Bilbao / Expedia

Designed like a sailboat floating down the neighbouring waterway, the Vincci Consulado de Bilbao has instantly become one of the city’s riverside landmarks. The swish nautical theme continues inside, with more than a touch of luxury cruise liner glitz. Rooms are bright and inviting, with most offering views over the river or the Guggenheim. You can also take in these fabulous vistas from the hotel’s Mirador Terrace, accompanied by an expertly mixed sundowner cocktail.

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Hotel Gran Bilbao

4.5/5 (690 Reviews)
Courtesy of Hotel Gran Bilbao / Expedia

Located by the river in Bilbao’s southerly Santutxu neighbourhood, the Hotel Gran Bilbao isn’t likely the first choice for those wanting to stay central. However, if you’re looking for a hotel brimming with colour and character, bingo. There’s barely a space that isn’t splashed with a striking mural, including each of its individually styled guest rooms – many with top river and city views. An emphasis on health and fitness, plus easy access to Bilbao’s surrounding countryside, also makes it a hit with sporty types.

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Occidental Bilbao

Hotel, Spa Hotel
4.2/5 (333 Reviews)
Courtesy of Occidental Bilbao / Expedia

If a big outdoor pool is something you look for in a hotel, then look no further than the Occidental Bilbao – it’s one of the city’s biggest. There are some fancy indoor water-based facilities, too, with an excellent wellness centre attached to the hotel. Guest rooms are smart and modern with the option of king-bed upgrades. Breakfast is focused on healthy and organic, while the surrounding Begoña neighbourhood offers a good selection of local eateries.

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Hotel Miró

Spa Hotel, Hotel
4.5/5 (797 Reviews)
Courtesy of Hotel Miró / Expedia

Located between the Guggenheim and the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, Hotel Miró is a boutique hotel for art lovers. Named after the Spanish artist Joan Miró, it offers smart, light-filled rooms with spectacular city views, dressed in neutral shades of blues and creams. Perks include a cosy library filled with books on art, a complimentary bar where you can enjoy a coffee and snack, and 40 modern photographic prints that decorate the public spaces. The hotel’s breakfast is also particularly good – offering a range of local artisan produce.

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Gran Hotel Domine

4.8/5 (798 Reviews)
Courtesy of Gran Hotel Domine / Expedia

The contemporary Gran Hotel Domine sits right next to Jeff Koons’ Puppy sculpture at the Guggenheim Museum. Not only is the hotel surrounded by art, but it is also a piece of art in itself, designed by the celebrated Spanish artist Javier Mariscal, who also created the mascot for the Barcelona 1992 Olympics. Its rooms are sleek and modern with splashes of colour, contrasting against its stone-coloured decor. It also features a stylish café, bar and spa and wellness area.

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Hotel Carlton

4.4/5 (984 Reviews)
Courtesy of Hotel Carlton / Expedia

The elegant five-star Hotel Carlton is located right in the heart of Bilbao, on the Plaza Federico Moyúa. Step inside and you’ll feel as though you’ve entered a palace with its old-world charm, chandeliers and marble columns. Rooms here are stylish and classic with a graceful air. The hotel also boasts a classy restaurant serving the best of Basque cuisine. During the summer, enjoy a glass of txakoli (dry, sparkling white wine) on the riverside open-air terrace.

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  • Hesperia Bilbao

    4.4/5 (979 Reviews)
    Courtesy of Hesperia Bilbao / Expedia

    Occupying an enviable position on the banks of River Nervión, across from the Guggenheim, the Hesperia Bilbao makes quite a statement with its colourful glass windows. Enjoy lovely views of the modern art museum from the sleek, cosy and contemporary rooms. The hotel’s La Ría Restaurant serves a variety of modern Basque dishes, and La Orilla bar allows you to enjoy spectacular river views with live music, sushi and cocktails.

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    Hotel Ercilla Lopez de Haro

    Hotel, Boutique Hotel
    4.1/5 (558 Reviews)
    Courtesy of Hotel Ercilla Lopez de Haro / Expedia

    Swish boutique accommodation, just minutes from the Guggenheim, the Hotel Ercilla Lopez de Haro was actually where the architect Frank Gehry stayed when he created his first designs for the museum. The stylish rooms offer bold-patterned wallpaper and bright, colourful furniture. Dine at its famous Club Náutico Restaurant in an elegant atmosphere, then head for drinks at its avant-garde Le Club bar – Moët & Chandon is the order of choice here.

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    Mercure Bilbao Jardines de Albia

    4.1/5 (982 Reviews)
    Courtesy of Mercure Bilbao Jardines de Albia / Expedia

    Situated in the heart of Bilbao’s business district, the Mercure Bilbao Jardines de Albia is a contemporary hotel across the river from the Casco Viejo (Old Town). Its plush rooms nod to Bilbao’s maritime heritage with its blue-and-white-themed decor and clean lines. You’ll also have access to an on-site gym, spa, wellness centre and snack bar. The hotel’s Zuria Restaurant offers a romantic space in which to indulge in specialised barbecued meats and seafood.

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    Barceló Bilbao Nervión

    4.3/5 (993 Reviews)
    Courtesy of Barceló Bilbao Nervión / Expedia

    Barceló group’s eco-urban hotel Bilbao Nervión can be found in the city centre, next to the Town Hall and the River Nervión. Design, modernity and sustainability come together in this polished luxury hotel. Large rooms are decked out in natural shades and offer prime city or river views. Work up in a sweat at the on-site gym before breakfast. Don’t miss out on a table at the hotel’s excellent Ibaizabal restaurant, with its creative menu, wide array of pintxos on offer, as well as its own wine cellar.

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    Leon Beckenham contributed additional reporting to this article.

    These recommendations were updated on April 14, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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