Where to Stay in La Rioja – Our Top Recommendations





La Rioja


My top hotel choice is the Viura Hotel in the small town of Villabuena de Alva. I chose this hotel over the more famous and more expensive Marques de Riscal in El Ciego and after seeing both was so pleased I did. The design of the hotel is really wonderful. The exterior resembles a pile of cubes, while the interior is very contemporary, sleek and a little edgy. For example, the hallways were painted black and the room numbers marked in chalk. So creative! So here you have a contemporary hotel sitting in the middle of a small Spanish Village with a 16th-century church next door. It has a library with many books on art and architecture, an attractive bar, breakfast restaurant and more formal restaurant. I thought the food was great as I ate there both nights of my stay. It also has a fitness center. My room was large and attractive. The night stands were lighted large cubes. I loved waking up to the sunlight on the old stone houses of the village across from the hotel. I also found it a great place from which to explore the region.

So as not to be out driving at night on dark, winding and curving roads, I ate my dinners at the hotel. The food was excellent. Make sure to try the zurracapote sorbet in the restaurant. Normally a drink that is served at festivals, this is a sorbet made of red wine, lime juice and orange juice!

My other choice would have been the Hotel Marques de Riscal in El Ciego. The hotel is architecturally stunning. It was designed by architect Frank Gehry and  is a striking building with his traditional ribbon-like design where some panels are colored  silver, yellow and pink/purple. Gehry also designed the furniture in the rooms. I found the hotel to be somewhat pricey, so I made a reservation for lunch which allowed me to see the building during the daytime. There are two restaurants, the Gastronomic Marques de Riscal and the Bistro 1860 to choose from. The views of El Ciego and the countryside are wonderful.