The Viura is a commonplace grape, the most widely used variety in Spain's Riojan wines. So it seems a workaday name for the extraordinary Hotel Viura. Located in the village of Villabuena de Alava, in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa wine region, the new hotel is an overlapping series of concrete boxes seemingly floating out of the village square. Imagine a giant cascading bunch of grapes reinterpreted by a gang of Cubist builders.
Rooms are of a spare beauty, mixing polished concrete and oak. Most striking of all is room 302, a jauntily angled cube on the hotel's roof, with vast proportions, its own terrace and two walls entirely of glass, offering mesmerizing vistas of the village, vineyards and mountains beyond.
The hotel is a great base for exploring the Rioja region's growing number of equally avant-garde bodegas including Baigorri and Ysios, both within cycling distance. But should you be dining in, chef Emilio José Contreras' cuisine is also forward-looking, mixing traditional Riojan and Basque inspiration with a modern, clean approach. Exemplary dishes include a sophisticated vegetable stew with truffle, a radically deconstructed take on patatas riojan and grilled Iberian pork loin. Fittingly, sommelier José González Godoy encourages guests to select from the 200-plus list of local wines and yes, there are plenty of distinctive Viura-based bottlings on the list.
Rates start from about $160. See hotelviura.com.