High in the Basque mountains, surrounded by green valleys and ancient towns filled with stone houses, a 17th-century palace awaits. From the outside, it seems to have barely changed in four centuries—its stone walls weathered, its arches and wrought-iron balconies regal, its manicured gardens and terraces as inviting as when nobility meandered through them. Inside, each room has been lovingly restored, from the hardwood floors running throughout to the dark ceiling beams and the ornately carved doors. But, despite the Renaissance-era artwork and antique furnishings, the palace has been brought into the 21st century. Its style blends modern with historic using high-quality fabrics, soothing neutral tones, and elegantly understated contemporary furniture, all of which feel like they ought to have been used in the house’s original incarnation.
While the bedrooms seem fit for the royalty who once lived here, the rest of the palace is equally decadent. Gipuzkoa is world-renowned for its cuisine, and the in-house Bailara restaurant more than lives up to expectations with its own take on molecular gastronomy. The wingback chair- and fireplace-outfitted lounge is as perfect a spot to sip the region’s signature cider as the breezy garden terrace that overlooks the dramatic valley below. If you were a 17th-century noble, you’d have built this palace, too.
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High in the rugged green mountains of Spain’s Basque Country, Iriarte Jauregia is nestled in the tiny town of Bidania, a picturesque collection of stone houses and churches, with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. There’s little to do in the immediate area except hike—but it’s some of the most scenic hiking in the world. The closest larger town is Tolosa, famous for its historic architecture, one of the best markets in the region, and a world-renowned puppet festival. San Sebastián is a 40- to 50-minute drive northeast, making it a perfect day trip for a Michelin-starred lunch and a few hours on La Concha Beach.
Need to Know
Rooms: 19 rooms, one suite. From $92. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: In addition to a fresh (and free) daily breakfast served in the garden, the hotel is home to the acclaimed Bailara restaurant and its inventive, molecular gastronomic cuisine. The menu draws on seasonal local ingredients and Basque dishes. For a more relaxed and equally delicious meal, pop into the snack bar or the living room–like lounge for lunch, dinner, or drinks from the Quick & Easy menu, which is, naturally, also designed by Bailara’s chef. Spa and gym details: The hotel has neither a gym nor a spa, but beauty and wellness treatments can be arranged in Superior rooms and the suite.
Who's it best for: Couples seeking romance, history, and natural beauty, with a side of contemporary design. Our favorite rooms: Each room has been uniquely decorated in an elegant, understatedly modern style that blends with original architectural details like carved fireplaces, rough-hewn stone walls, and wooden floors for a timeless aesthetic. Top-floor rooms are especially atmospheric, with vaulted ceilings traversed by original beams. Those on the second floor (or first, to Europeans) have the largest windows and best capture the romance of the historic palace. Get outside: Iriarte Jauregia may not have a gym, but its location provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor activity; the palace is set amid the lush mountains of Gipuzkoa, which provide the perfect setting for afternoon hikes between picturesque villages.