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Hotel Carlton, Bilbao

Editor's Pick
Basque Country, Spain, Europe: The lobby at the Hotel Carlton
2 Plaza de Federico Moyúa
Tel: 34 94 416 2200's insider take:

Bilbao's Beaux Arts grande dame sits right on the grand Plaza Moyúa. Ever since 1936, when it was the provisional seat of the regional government (complete with basement bunker to protect Basque leaders in times of civil unrest), the building has epitomized Old World luxury. It has been carefully maintained and kept in beautiful shape; you'll find no fraying around the edges here. Even basic double rooms (there are 135, along with seven suites) are spacious and elegant, with sumptuous chairs and sofas upholstered in silky striped fabrics. The service is everything you'd expect at such a sophisticated property, and includes 24-hour room service and an on-call doctor. If money is no object, stay in the sixth-floor Imperial Suite, an enormous space that includes two bedrooms, one large salon, two bathrooms (one with a Jacuzzi), a wet bar, a workout room with a private sauna, and a spectacular wraparound balcony.

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