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Hesperia Bilbao, Bilbao 

28 Campo de Volantín
Tel: 34 94 405 1100
view web site ›'s insider take:

Of the two upscale modern hotels in Bilbao, the Gran Hotel Domine is certainly showier—and it does have amazing views of the Guggenheim. In just about every other regard, though, the Hesperia is the better bet. The exterior, with its candy-colored windows, resembles a game board by day (and a Lite-Brite box by night), but inside, the whimsy gives way to elegance. Each of the 158 rooms and suites is furnished with minimalist pieces in brushed metal, dark wood, and velvety neutral-toned fabrics; most have dramatically lit bathrooms with smoked-glass panes and double above-counter basins. (Room 616, a spacious corner junior suite, costs just a little more than a double room and has lovely views of the museum and the river from its balcony.) Getting to the Guggenheim means just a five-minute walk west by way of the Zubizuri, a curvy pedestrian bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava. It's especially romantic to stroll across at night, when the reflections of streetlamps sparkle in the water.

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