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Hotel Silken Gran Domine Hotel 5 star
Easyexperts
Alameda De Mazariedo, 61 Bilbao, Spain -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

The Gran Hotel Domine seems to be trying to capitalise on Bilbao's relatively recent reputation as a hub of art and design, with its mix of gigantic sculptures, furniture resembling biting lips and original works by Javier Mariscal - a Spanish artist whose film 'Chico and Rita' was nominated for an Oscar in 2010. However, this hotel will not be welcoming budding artists on a student or backpackers' budget anytime soon. Rather, 70 percent of its clients are travelling on business. Whilst the hotel boasts a prime location just opposite the Guggenheim museum, it doesn't have much to offer tourists searching for a taste of the 'old Bilbao'. Couples wanting a relaxing city break would appreciate the large bath tub with views of the museum and the hills surrounding the city, as well as the Michelin star restaurant on the top floor, but families are likely to feel out of place here. The establishment occasionally receives celebrities during the summer months for large events such as the BBK festival, which has previously featured the likes of The Cure, Radiohead, Rammstein and Fatboy Slim.

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    • Hotel Silken Gran Domine

      Silken Gran Hotel Domine   -   © Julien Ferret / EASYVOYAGE

    • Hotel Silken Gran Domine

      Silken Gran Hotel Domine   -   © Julien Ferret / EASYVOYAGE

       
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    Location 7.47 /10

    Hotel Domine boasts a prime location, with fantastic views of the quirky exterior of the Guggenheim Museum - the international star of the city. However, the area surrounding the hotel is rather calm during low season (December - February) as it is primarily a business district. As such, tourists may find themselves at a bit of a loss for things to do in winter, yet the old town is only a fifteen-minute walk away and can be accessed by a stroll along the river. This is where you will find the city's most popular restaurants and bars. The airport is only seven miles away and can be reached either by taxi directly from the hotel or by bus, the stop for which is a 10 minute walk away.

    Accommodation 8.45 /10

    The hotel has a total of 145 rooms, ranging from Domine Basic to The Suite. There are also Domine Comfort, Guggenheim Basic, Guggenheim Club, Guggenheim Studio and Junior Suite rooms available. Of these, 58 rooms have views over the Guggenheim, 72 look onto the street behind the hotel and 15 have interior views over the lobby and the 'Fossil Cyprus' (Mariscal's giant tower of rocks). All rooms are fitted with standard amenities such as a well-stocked minibar and a television with Spanish and International channels, whilst the bathrooms are well equipped with a modern hairdryer and a range of Silken branded bathroom products. The suites have the added bonus of a sound system with six of the hotels own CDs, additional seating space with armchairs again designed by Mariscal and Bvlgari products in the bathroom. The hotel's bathtubs were designed by Philippe Starck, the reputed French designer, and they make for a very relaxing evening indeed! For those wanting to splash out a little, opt for either one of the suites or the Guggenheim studio, which all have private outdoor terraces overlooking the museum. This view can also be enjoyed from the bathtub as the bathrooms and bedrooms are separated not by a wall but a transparent window. The clean, airy and fresh rooms, neutral and warm deco, the smell of clean laundry, the original work of art by Javier Mariscal feaured in each room and the large and comfortable beds all justify - at least for the luxury lovers - the higher prices compared to other hotels you can find in Bilbao.

    Overview 8.45 /10

    The Gran Hotel Domine was built in 2002 and was designed by Javier Mariscal in collaboration with Fernando Salas with the aim of telling the story of the design themes of the 20th century. The result is a decorative theme that some guests may find OTT but that certainly makes a statement. This can mainly be seen in the lobby and the Splash and Crash bar - where Mariscal chose to install pillars resembling women legs and lights that change colours roughly every 30 seconds. Fortunately, the designers opted for a more neutral design in the bedrooms, substituting pristine whites, reds and blacks for the warmer choice of blues, creams and browns. The minimalist design in the lobby lead to a slightly cold feeling on arrival, but this is counteracted by the warm smiles of the hotel staff, who are on hand with maps, Wi-Fi passwords and luggage trolleys to help you settle in. The hotel regularly hosts special guests from outside the city such as two members of the adventurous Red Bull team, who climbed Mariscal's 'Fossil Cyprus' - the gigantic 26 metre and 90 ton tower of rocks in the centre of the hotel. The seven floors of this unique building hold a gym, a sauna, a massage room, two restaurants, a bar and 145 bedrooms.

    Food and drink 8.20 /10

    The hotel café, also known as 'Metropol', was designed to pay homage to Bauhaus and other important designers of the 20th century. If you are not an art expert however, all you will notice is a shiny black, grey and white floor and black tables and chairs with stainless steel trimmings. Here guests can have one of Bilbao's famous pinxto snacks, or enjoy a glass of red whilst watching the pedestrian traffic go by. Just across the lobby is the 'Splash and Crash' bar, with its many different colour schemes and design patterns - it certainly makes for a little eye entertainment whist you enjoy a cocktail. On the last floor of the hotel is to be found the restaurant 'Doma', run by Martin Berasategui - the only chef in the Basque Country to have acquired seven Michelin stars for his cooking. Here the culinary daredevils can sample experimental (and delicious) dishes such as roasted pigeon with wild wheat, idiazabal cheese and cherry coulis with a selection of Basque, Spanish and International wines to complement each course perfectly. Hardly the ideal option for those wanting to pig out on a budget, but a great choice for a night of culinary (and financial) indulgence.

    To know

    Part of the Silken chain which owns 33 hotels in total - four of these in the Basque country, the Gran Hotel Domine in no way feels like one of many. In fact, the only indicating factors revealing its origins are the Silken branded products in the bathroom and the kubi wifi network (the same network used in all Silken hotels). Every area of the hotel is well staffed, ensuring guests are never kept waiting and that they are made to feel like a valued customer.

    Equipment

    • Shuttle bus
    • Car park
    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      massage, beauty salon, sauna, hammam, keep fit, spa, Turkish bath, wellness

    • Sports equipment

      gym, golf, fitness, sports

    • Animals allowed
    • Whirlpool bath
    • Safe
    • Non-smoking rooms
    • Solarium
    • Meeting room

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10
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