The Basque city of Bilbao is known for its cuisine and its modern art, and offers many luxury hotels from where visitors can enjoy both of these. Grand and elegant or trendy and boutique, Bilbao’s accommodation offerings have something for everyone.
Hotel, Spa Hotel
Hotel Miró, Bilbo | Courtesy of Spa at the Hotel Miró
Located between the Guggenheim Museum and the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, the Hotel Miró is a boutique hotel for art lovers. Named after the artist Joan Miró, it offers guests smart light-filled rooms, with spectacular city views, and dressed in neutral shades of blues and creams. What sets this hotel apart from the rest, however, are its added extras: its cosy library filled with books on art, its complimentary bar where you can enjoy a coffee and snack, and its 40 modern photographic prints that decorate the public spaces. The hotel’s breakfast is also particularly good – offering a range of local artisan produce.
The contemporary Gran Hotel Domine sits right next to Jeff Koons’ famous Puppy sculpture at the Guggenheim Museum. Not only is the hotel surrounded by art, it is also a piece of artwork itself, designed by the celebrated Spanish artist Javier Mariscal, who also created the mascot for the Barcelona 1992 Olympics and the illustrations for the animated film Chico & Rita. Its rooms are sleek and modern with splashes of colour contrasting against its stone-coloured décor. It also features a stylish café, bar, and spa and wellness area.
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.
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. Guests can 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 cuisine, and La Orilla bar allows guests to enjoy spectacular river views with live music, sushi and cocktails.
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 wall paper 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.
Situated in the heart of the business district of Bilbao, and across the river from the Casco Viejo (Old Town), the Mercure Biblao Jardines de Albia is a contemporary, luxury hotel, perfect for all types of travellers. Its plush rooms give a nod to Bilbao’s maritime heritage with its blue-and-white-themed décor and clean lines. Guests also have access to an onsite gym, spa and wellness centre, and snack bar. The hotel’s Zuria Restaurant offers a romantic space in which to indulge in specialised barbecued meats and seafood.
Barceló group’s eco-urban hotel Bilbao Nervión can be found in the heart of the city, next to the Town Hall and the River Nervión, and is a great base for both business and pleasure. Design, technology, art, nature, modernity and sustainability come together in this polished luxury hotel. Large rooms are decked out in natural shades and offer stunning city or river views. Guests can also enjoy the use of a gym and meeting rooms. Don’t miss out on a booking 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.