There’s more to Bilbao than heroic feats of modern architecture: though it’s home to the Gehry-designed Guggenheim (and the ripple of modern building that has followed in its wake), it’s also home to some classics, like this 17th-century palace — dismantled stone by stone three decades ago and today rebuilt as a 43-room luxury hotel in the hills just outside the city.
Though it’s billed as “Hotel & Golf in Bilbao,” the 9-hole “Pitch & Putt” course is of secondary interest at best. Far more impressive is the meticulous reconstruction of the Palacio itself; it’s four kilometers of road and about a hundred years of design from Santiago Calatrava’s airport to the Palacio Urgoiti. Guest rooms are ornate, colorful, packed with antiques, naturally sunlit and outfitted with modern conveniences like flat-screen televisions and wireless internet access.
Palacio Urgoiti’s restaurant serves classic Basque cuisine with views of the golf course and the hills beyond. Four-star facilities include an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and an assortment of meeting rooms seating anywhere from five to 200. It’s not all business, though: the beaches at Plentzia and Bakio are just fifteen minutes away, as is the city center, with all of its sights, ancient and modern.
Laukariz S/N, Bilbao