Hot Spots

The 2006 It List

by Charles Runnette

Rioja, Spain

The good news for design–happy fans of Frank Gehry's shiny, contorted buildings is they'll soon be able to sleep in one. This July, Gehry will pull his signature move: putting a heretofore–unfamiliar region onto the world's design map. In this case it's Spain's gorgeous but sleepy Rioja wine region, and the building happens to be his first–ever hotel. Located on the grounds of the 150–year–old Marqués de Riscal winery, the curvalicious titanium–and–stone building (pictured) will house 14 rooms, a spa with "vinotherapy" treatments, an on–site cooking school, and, naturally, an extensive wine cellar. It will be part of Starwood's Luxury Collection, and Francis Paniego, the first Michelin–starred chef in the region, will oversee one of its two restaurants. The hotel—along with the wine region's extended marketing push in the United States—will help draw visitors to some of Rioja's charming 14th– and 15th–century villages, such as the hilltop walled city of Laguardia; Logroño, whose streets are lined with narrow cafes and tapas bars; and Haro, which contains some 20 wineries. Gehry's ultramodern building may look out of place among all the Baroque churches and monasteries, but perhaps not for long. Spain is architecture–mad, as evidenced by the growing list of big–name architects with projects in the country: Koolhaas, Hadid, Nouvel, Rogers, Herzog and de Meuron. Everybody together, say, "Thank you, Mr. Gehry."

Marqués de Riscal Hotel
Tel: 349 44 280 000
Tel: 800 325 3589
Fax: 349 44 280 001

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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