Nestled against the fortifications of the walled medieval village of Laguardia, this fairytale neo-Gothic manor is an utterly romantic boutique lodging with stunning views of the picturesque Rioja Alavesa wine country. The intimate interior matches the regal atmosphere with uniquely designed rooms and an excellent restaurant. Not only is Laguardia an absolutely enchanting destination in itself but guests will also be surrounded by some of the best vineyards in the world just begging to be tasted.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Finding parking close to the hotel can be a challenge. Prepare to hike up with your luggage from the nearby parking garage.
There are only ten rooms in the castle and each is uniquely designed to evoke different classical themes, from the Nightingale to the Love & Madness. These portals into another time feature elements like four-post beds, bergère chairs, exposed timber roofs, and even sensual Jacuzzis in a few. Rooms come with free Wi-Fi, AC, and complimentary wine upon arrival.
Each room is up on their website and can be requested ahead of time if you see one that really steals your heart.
Supple marble and tile-work are abundant in the clean, airy bathrooms that pay careful attention to detail in their design. Some rooms have bathtubs while others have two-person Jacuzzis.
Guests pass through the castle doors into a refined old-world foyer with a reception desk built from an altarpiece from the 17th century. Guests can take the hypnotizing marble staircase up to the battlement of the keep for spectacular views of the picturesque wine country.
One of the better restaurants in Laguardia is here in the keep of the castle, where a formal dining room serves traditional Rioja cuisine in an intimate setting. The prices are not the best but that can be said about most options in the village. There is also a casual café with a food menu for those looking for a more laid-back option.
Tucked away on the ground floor of the manor is the tavern & café with a lovely 360-degree pintxo bar. And the front of the castle, looking out onto the gardens, is a sensational little lobby bar encased in floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows and exposed stone foundations. There is abundant seating outside where guests can enjoy drinks and snacks on nicer days.
Getting to Laguardia is easiest by car, though there are private bus and transportation services from Logroño, Haro, and other larger towns. Since there are no cars allowed within the fortifications of the village, parking in Laguardia can be a bit of a pain, but there is a large lot not too far from the hotel. Once here, the village is made for walking, and the many world-famous bodegas in the area are easily accessible by car or through private tours that run out of Laguardia.
Amelibia (8-minute walk) is just on the other side of the village from the castle and is considered the best restaurant in Laguardia. Visitors can expect creative modern cuisine and sweeping views of wine country. A short drive away is the Michelin-starred El Gastronómico (12-minute drive), housed in the breathtaking five-star Hotel Marqués de Riscal designed by Frank Gehry.
The endless wineries and bodegas of Rioja Alavesa are one of the main reasons so many people flock to this stunning landscape every year. We love the architectural marvel that is Bodegas Ysios (5-minute drive). And the wine is just as impressive as its avant-garde bodega design. A nice contrast to the modern is the classic Eguren Ugarte (7-minute drive), a historic vineyard regarded as one of the best in the region that holds an entire catacombs worth of caves that serve as cellars under its vineyards that guests can explore before a tasting. In Laguardia itself, Plaza Mayor (5-minute walk) is the place to be. The main square of town has a number of great wine and pintxo bars around its perimeter.
WHY WE LIKE IT
It doesn’t get much more romantic than sleeping in an immaculate castle within a dreamy walled village from the middle ages. The food is good, the bar is beautiful, and one of the most idyllic and delicious wine regions in the world is all around you for the taking.