Designed by architect Ricardo Legorreta and inspired by the work of Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida (1920–2002), this high-rise hotel was built over what was once the nerve center of Bilbao's shipbuilding industry, and it feels appropriately like a futuristic ocean liner. The Meliá is filled with contemporary art and a collection of Spanish ship models, including miniaturized versions of vessels constructed in the city's historic shipyards. Rooms are high, wide, and
handsome, with glass, steel, stone, and wood trimmings. Although massive in scope, the comforts and the views from upper floors are superb. Both the café and the restaurant, Aizian, are excellent.