Bilbao + Basque Country hotels
The opening of the Guggenheim Museum in 1997 launched a new wave of modern architecture in Bilbao. Most of the hotels built in the city since then have an angular, minimalist aesthetic (although they don't skimp on luxury). There are some older, statelier hotels in the city, too, but even a few of these are redesigning so they're more "contemporary."
The neighboring seaside city of San Sebastián has surprisingly few great hotels for a tourist town. Apart from the handful of high-end lodgings (some of which have seen better days), there are mainly divey pensiones, which have their charms but not many creature comforts. Our recommendations, below, represent the best of the bunch.