Hotel Viura is the fifth hotel in the MHM portfolio, which specialises in the development, launch and management of independent hotels. The current portfolio comprises Villa Soro and Astoria7 in San Sebastian, Iturregi in Getaria (Guipúzcoa) and Palacio Guendulain in Pamplona. Ongoing projects include Cap Rocat in Mallorca (opening June 2010) and a project in Normandy scheduled for 2011.
Pablo Carrington, Managing Director of MHM said:
“Viura is Rioja’s first true luxury boutique hotel. It feels cutting edge, exciting and fun. But we also want to give anyone who stays here a true feel of La Rioja – after all, we are right in the middle of a typical, working wine village. So, although it is very contemporary, Viura really blends in with the village.”
Villabuena de Alava, home to Hotel Viura, is typical of the many small medieval villages dotted amongst the vineyards in the rolling wine country of La Rioja Alavesa, one of three regions – with Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja that make up La Rioja, Spain’s prime wine-producing area. Though part of the Denominación de Origen of La Rioja, the area actually lies within the province of Alava, southernmost of the Basque Country’s three provinces.
Cutting edge architecture and design
This ancient and illustrious wine country is the place where the old world charms of Spanish wineries now blend flawlessly with ultramodern architecture, and Viura is a perfect example of this. Although it is set in the middle of the traditional village, next to the 17th century church, Viura’s architecture, is a true departure from traditional form: a series of concrete cubes, one on top of the other, that seem to rise out of the ground. The architecture successfully links the interior to the exterior landscape; floor to ceiling windows throughout and private terraces ensure that there is always a view of the village, the Sierra de Cantabria or the church.
The sleek, uncluttered interiors have been designed by designhouses (www.designhouses.es) who are also the owners of the hotel. Clever use of partitions, glass and sophisticated lighting add to the ambiance and fun. Materials and techniques have been brilliantly used together to create avant-garde work of art, strikingly different to its environment but nonetheless blending in to its surroundings.
Local food and wine
Food and wine will play a major role in any visit to Hotel Viura. Sommelier José Gonzalez Godoy (formerly with La Bobadilla, Loja, and Paradores of Spain), will be on hand to advise guests and encourage them to make some unconventional and bolder choices. Guests are welcome to explore the large wine cellar with him, and the wine list has been formulated so that guests can choose either by region or by grape variety. The list features more than 200 local wines, with a constantly-updated section highlighting the latest news and creations from local wineries.
In the kitchen Emilio José Contreras will be working his magic with Chef Pedro Olmedo, MHM’s executive chef. Chef Contreras’ dishes and tasting menus are based in the Riojan and Basque food tradition with fresh and natural products, served in the atmospheric Viura Restaurant under a ceiling made of with old wine barrels. On the menu, look out for the chef´s version of the classic Patatas a la Riojana (potatoes with sliced chorizo, cooked and accompanied by meat broth and Riojan-style parma ham cut into julienne strips) or a rack of lamb with a herb tisane and aubergine compote.
The perfect base
Hotel Viura is the ideal base to discover and explore La Rioja. Only 20 minutes from Logroño, the unspoiled capital of La Rioja and a centre of the trade in Rioja wine; Haro – known for its exquisite architecture, fine red wine and the annual Haro Wine Festival where locals famously hold a wine battle. Viura is also just 10 minutes from iconic wineries such as Ysios, Marqués de Riscal, Cune and López Heredia, as well as the innovative Bodega Contador and Telmo Rodriguez – guests can borrow one of the hotel’s bicycles and stop for a wine tasting as they cycle through the vineyards.
Viura’s rooftop lounge bar is spectacular by day or night, with a 360 panoramic view. Get comfortable with a glass of something local, for a bird’s eye view of the village as the sun sets over the Church of San Andrés and the Sierra de Cantabria.
Hotel Viura opens in April 2010 and is a member of Epoque Hotels. The 4* hotel has a total of 26 guestrooms and 7 suites, with a restaurant and two bars.
La Rioja Alavesa - Protected by the craggy south face of the Sierra de Cantabría to the north and bounded by the River Ebro to the south, La Rioja Alavesa enjoys a privileged micro-climate for wine growing. The region is home to some of the most prestigious large wine producers, as well as many small boutique wineries. Almost 80 percent of the wine produced in Rioja Alavesa is from the Tempranillo grape variety, favoured for its ability to age well, its colour and moderate levels of acidity. Other varieties produced include viura (a white grape from the Mediterranean and after which the hotel is named), garnacha (originally from Aragon), mazuelo and graciano.