La Rioja is a wonderful destination for travellers. As well as the wineries themselves, there are beautiful towns such as Haro, Laguardia and San Vicente, there are great food discoveries in places like Logroño and Ezcarray, there are even amazing discoveries to be had of Dinosaur tracks (real ones) in the south of the region.
One of the few things that La Rioja did not really offer, until now, were more boutique accommodation options. There are plenty of “casas rurales” for groups, or decent hotels and even a parador or two, but for some reason these were not all that exciting.
This started to change with the opening of the Hotel & Spa at Marques de Riscal a few years ago, but it only offered 30 rooms or so, and pretty pricey ones at that! If La Rioja was to attract more of the high end tourists heading to Bilbao, Santander and San Sebastian for their gastronomic wonders, then it has to do better.
And now they have.
In a short time, two boutique hotels have opened their doors. I have not been to either, but plan on doing so in the near future (purely for research, of course). Both are in the environs of Laguardia in Rioja Alavesa (technically Basque country and not La Rioja itself). If you have been to either, do let me know your thoughts, or if you have tried others like these.
Hospederia de los Parajes (Laguardia): http://www.hospederiadelosparajes.com/