After spending a leisurely morning horseback riding in the high tableau above La Rioja and her vineyards, the intrepid travelers were treated to a luxurious after noon at the Marques de Rical Spa.
Opened in 2006, this stunning art piece stands high on a hill, well hidden from the prying eyes of road warriors, in the town of Elciego, Spain. Master architect Frank Gehry, who is well known for his work on the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, designed the building in a similar style – with a waving metallic roofline, and soft, unctuous features.
Since the opening, the Marques de Riscal has become a famous retreat for the elite, as well as the masses, with a focus on design, art, gastronomy and of course – wine. For our group, we spent the afternoon relaxing in the spa, massaging away the horseback – behind, travelers aches, and other stresses. The Spa Vinothérapie Caudalie Marqués de Riscal is tucked away in the lower levels of the hotel, with a peaceful outdoor sitting area overlooking vineyards and the hillside. With an indoor pool and hottub, as well as a variety of luxury treatments, I could have stayed with my book all afternoon.
Special treatments at the spa were designed to highlight the benefits of essence of the grapes, from the surrounding wine culture, to sooth and invigorate the skin. I had a massage with grape oil, and there is an option for a barrel bath, soaking in the grape pomace. Ahhhh!
After our spa treatments, and exploring the hotel grounds, we headed to the restaurant for an epic feast. Awarded with a Michelin Star in 2012, the traditional Spainsih fare is turned on it’s head with a modern twist.
From wine “caviar” to beer “soup”, our evening progressed in to a classic, and long, Spanish dinner, full of wine and laughter. The dishes were magical a retelling of simple and classic traditional Spanish items, and we enjoyed them to the very last crumb of dessert.
Spa treatments start at 60 Euro for a 20 minute massage, with a Barrel Bath treatment at 110 Euro. The pool area is open to hotel and spa guests, and is a fantastic way to relax on your trip to Rioja. A full day of touring in the region and and access to the spa is a very affordable 80 Euro for you day trippers out there!
For those who are points collectors, the Marques de Riscal is a Starwood Preferred Guest program property, and I can envision myself saving up some points to stay here! I highly recommend a visit to the Hotel Marques de Riscal, in the “City of Wine”, in the heart of Rioja. You won’t be sorry!
This visit was provided by the good folks at: