Fodor's Expert Review Hotel & Spa Etxegana
Ipiñaburu 38, Zeanuri, Basque Country 48144, Spain See on Map
Hotel & Spa Etxegana is a relaxing romantic getaway outside of Bilbao and surrounded by some of the most gorgeous scenery on the continent. This luxurious mountain lodge is located in the Gorbeia Nature Park, the largest national park in the Basque Country, home to limestone canyons and cliffs often compared to Yosemite as well as the enchanting fairytale forest of Otzarreta. The hotel boasts spacious rooms, a serene spa, and an excellent restaurant with breathtaking views of the landscape.
The hotel is pet friendly.
Bespoke rooms here are enormous in their floor space and each one of the 18 accommodations are uniquely curated with no two quite the same. We were won over by the attention to detail in the interior design, from the wood beamed ceilings above the glossed wood floors to the tasteful floral arrangements to the imported Southeast Asian furnishings. Wi-Fi, AC, and flat screens come standard.
Some rooms come with gorgeous terraces and we highly recommend them.
Fusing classical and contemporary elements, the bathrooms here are wonderfully spacious and feature elements of sumptuous marble and stone, creative sink countertops, and inviting deep soak hydro-massage tubs.
Suites come with larger private Jacuzzis that have room for two.
The charming façade here, part traditional Basque rural house and part Swiss mountain lodge, dissolves into a warm lobby space full of exposed stone and woodwork and alcoves of leather lounge seating. Outside is a wide balcony terrace with stunning vistas of the granite mountaintops.
There is a cool gazebo lounge space on the edge of the property that looks out over the forests beyond that makes an inviting space to relax or read a book on a nice day.
Hidden within the confines of the lodge is an ornate hand-carved doorway that leads into a full service spa with a bathhouse and lounge full of natural light and accented with Balinese and Thai influences. Guests will find a wide selection of therapeutic treatments and massages available here as well as a splendid pool, and sauna.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Reservations need to be made in advance.
A very good restaurant can be found on the ground floor of the lodge, in one of the best rooms of the house, with tale windows running its length and the hillside dropping off dramatically below which creates exceptional views right from your dinner table. The food is traditional Basque cuisine with modern twists.
The hotel houses a long bar made of rich oak that evokes an aristocratic 19th century British tavern. Settle into a cocktail or a bottle of wine from their fine selection here and let the rest of the world melt away.
Located in the mountains halfway between Bilbao and Vitoria-Gasteiz, guests will definitely need a car to reach Etxegana. The hotel offers free parking and there are many great natural sightseeing spots in the vicinity that are within a short drive. Some good hiking can be done directly from the lodge. Bilbao and Vitoria-Gasteiz are both easy day trips, each about a 45-minute drive away.
There are no restaurants in the immediate vicinity of the secluded hotel. However, those willing to drive will find some of the Basque Country’s best restaurants within reach. On the road towards Bilbao is Andra Mari (35-minute drive), a Michelin-starred restaurant in a traditional Basque country house that cooks up phenomenal takes on traditional Basque cuisine. In the other direction, in Vitoria-Gasteiz, is Zaldiaran (50-minute drive), an award-winning establishment that focuses on creative and progressive gastronomy.
The bar in the hotel is your best bet for a good drink without having to get behind the wheel. If you’re making a day trip to Bilbao, however, we recommend checking out Café Bar Bilbao (50-minute drive), a century-old establishment right on the neoclassical Plaza Nueva in the Old Quarter. It’s the ideal place for an afternoon gin and tonic on a sunny day.
WHY WE LIKE IT
This natural retreat checks off all the boxes for relaxation, romance, and tranquility. Whether you’re looking for a place to write your novel or simply a spectacular home base to explore the splendor of the beautiful surroundings, Hotel & Spa Etxegana is a perfect choice.
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