2015 has and it's continuing to bring out the best in me. My mindset is being one of 'sacrifice till it's amazing'. A typical year involves at least 4 holidays, however this wasn't the case for 2015. It's being a year of tapping into my creativity, challenges, personal development, opportunities to mention but a few.
My husband and I decided (with little persuasion) to go on a 'Foodie' and 'Winey' holiday in Northern Spain. I left the holiday planning to my husband (shh he's good at planning the perfect holiday).
An early morning flight from Heathrow (British Airways) was smooth sailing, apart from the odd moment, a grumpy flight attendant told me not to use the front toilet facilities again; pointing to the facilities at the back (which was much further from my seat, comments withheld).
Anyway, I was rather excited about this trip (as it was my first holiday of 2015 and the only time I could go "away amongst my busy schedule).
We arrived safely at Bilbao Airport, quickly picked our hired car and headed to our hotel 'Viura' ( with the help of our Sat Nav, a necessity, for driving holidays).
The 'topsy, turvy' lopsided rectangular and boxy shape of the exterior fills one with intrigue and great anticipation.
I was awed by this magnificent structure (creativity at it's best). The contemporary looking and mind boggling hotel, was different but complimented it's old surroundings.
The architect who designed this magnificent hotel is Beatrix Perez and she works with 'Design House Architecture' , who owns the hotel.
We checked into an equally inspiring reception area , greeted by the warm smiles of the receptionist and into our amazing room.
Sari (the male receptionist, who welcomed us on our first day) was helpful with further information about the village and hotel. (Thank you Sari) (If you do visit the hotel as a result of reading this piece, say hi to Sari).
I've been surviving on a 3-4hr daily sleep for a while now, however I was overcome with exhaustion and fell into a 5hr deep sleep. I woke up to the sound of the church bell ringing, feeling rested and refreshed after enjoying a rainfall shower .
We headed to the restaurant for our 11 course dinner , which was reasonably priced a little shy off 100 Euros, including wine , per person. The flavours of the dishes, the presentation , the quality of ingredients, the amazing Rioja wines that accompanied each dish was an inspiring experience.
The ambience of the restaurant is one of nostalgic romance mixed with modernity. The clever use of concrete and natural colours, with the brushed soft linen curtains lends itself to 'experimenting outside the norm'.
Generally, the dishes served here are creative and experimental; by using quality ingredients and enhancing the natural flavours of each ingredient.
We were served by an impressive waiter by name Carlos, who paid attention to our needs (enhancing our experience).
I loved the dishes and asked to meet the chef. Caroline, is from Equador and moved to Spain a few years ago. She was very friendly and we had a conversation about ingredients (Cassava, Plantain ) and passion for food.
The black metal banisters sat perfectly to industrial wired mesh ( one might frown on this, but it works) with soft downward lights , to give it a subtle and warm look.
The colourful paintings of various famous celebrities, gave the room the pop of colour it needed, coupled with the inspiring ambience of both the old and young.
My favourite part of the hotel was the restaurant (I guess, I knew I was guaranteed great food and wine) the essence of taking this trip.
The red wine cellar (cave) 'with its perfect humid temperature' was located at the end of the restaurant . The tunnel connected to a bar and further to the church. The tunnel was where the church received wine as taxes from the wine makers, in past times.
Breakfast was sympathetic to everyone's need, with a great selection of Manchego cheeses, cakes, smoked Salmon, cuts of cured meat, fruits, breads etc with an added benefit of a cooked breakfast.
The roof terrace gave a 360* panoramic view of the village with about 300-320 inhabitants (depending on the year) and nestled next to the church.
The old , sandy coloured buildings, sat next to each other, with narrow amalgamating, steep streets, with the frequent passage of tractors filled with Grapes descending skilfully, all nestled beautifully amongst the mountain.
'Villabuena de Alava', is a beautiful village, including the surrounding villages. It's best to hire a car to allow you to explore the mountainous area, without restriction.
Thank you Viura Hotel for the great experience. See you next time.
All photos are by the owner of this blog.