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Featured Journeys: European Vineyard Experience

August 23, 2019| By:Rachael Weir, Five Star Alliance

Love wine? In this edition of Featured Journeys we're going on a multi-destination trip to some of Europe's finest vineyards. We begin in Porto, Portugal home of the country's famous port wines, then we venture to Spain's Basque Country for Spanish wines and a Frank Gehry designed luxury hotel in the heart of the vineyards, and finally we end our journey in Bordeaux, one of the wine capitals of the world and home to the Cite du Vin, a museum experience dedicated to wine. 

1. Porto, Portugal

Portugal's second city, Porto is a working city offering timeless charm. It's the major commercial center and hub of the industrious northern region. On one side of the river, oak barrels hold slowly maturing port wine in the wine lodges of Vila Nova de Gaia. While on the other side of the river in the riverside Ribeira district, windows overlook narrow streets where residents hang wash out to dry, and restaurants serve heaping plates of beans and tripe. 

Recently the city has expanded its airport with direct flights from North America, and Porto has become a center for arts, fashion, and nightlife. The modern architectural landmark, Serralves Art Center is the permanent home of a collection of art by Spanish surrealist Joan Miro. While foodies will want to visit the newly-opened gourmet market in the 100-year-old São Bento railway station, and the first Western European Branch of the super-chic Vogue Cafe.

The Yeatman

Suite at The Yeatman Hotel

Perched above the city overlooking the Duoro River, The Yeatman is a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux collection of hotels. Each of the individually furnished rooms and suites is discreetly infused with wine-themed artifacts and photos by well-known Portuguese wine producers, including details about their vineyards and wines. The hotel's restaurant is the only restaurant in the city awarded with two Michelin Stars, there's an outdoor pool with city views, and the Caudalie's Vinotherapie Spa blends the hotel's focus on wine with signature treatments drawing from the vineyard environment. 

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: Guests booking the "5 Star Signature Package" rate will receive a $100 USD equivalent spa credit per room/per stay and a welcome amenity.

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2. Bilbao, Spain

Spain's biggest port and the country's sixth-largest city, Bilbao serves as the rail hub for travelers seeking to explore Basque Country. Resembling an enormous sculpture, the $100-million Guggenheim Museum, designed by American architect Frank Gehry is a major tourist attraction, and serves as a symbol of the city's economic revival. There's also a new airport terminal and a new Metro system, making it the transit hub for exploring the region. 

One of the Basque Country's destinations is the town of Elciego. Dating back to 1067, this village in La Rioja is set in the foothills of the Pyrenees close to the border of France. The region has been producing millions of gallons of wine since the regime of the ancient Romans, and today it is home to a variety of vineyards and Spanish Bodegas. 

Hotel Marques De Riscal

Dining at Marques De Riscal

Designed by famed architect Frank O. Gehry, Hotel Marques De Riscal is located in the heart of Spain's Rioja wine region. The rooms and suites overlook the surrounding vineyards and the town of Elciego, "The City of Wine". The property's two restaurants, 1860 Tradición and Marqués de Riscal Restaurant offer local cuisine and fine wines overseen by Michelin-starred Chef Francis Paniego. While the Vinothérapie® SPA Caudalie Marqués de Riscal provides treatments highlighting the beauty benefits of the grape. 

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK:  Guests booking the "5 Star Signature Package" rate or "Best Available Rate" will also receive full breakfast for each guest daily in The Restaurant Tradition 1860, a $100 USD spa treatment credit once per stay (cannot be used on products), complimentary WiFi, complimentary parking, a welcome bottle of wine, and a visit to the Herederos del Marqués de Riscal Centenary Winery.

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3. Bordeaux, France

One of France's most vibrant cities, Bordeaux has a historic city center with 18th century architecture and a streetcar system. As travelers venture from the city center, elegant streets transform into narrow cobbled streets and ancient churches. As one of the wine capitals of the world, Bordeaux is an ideal base for exploring thousands of wine estates. One of the top attractions is the Cite du Vin. Opened in 2016, this wine museum blends a cultural space with a gallery, theme park, and exhibits showcasing wine. There are regular tastings, cafes, a restaurant, and a panoramic bar to provide guests with a full experience, along with a wine shop with wines from over 80 countries. 

Chateau des Vigiers

Chateau des Vigiers

Situated in the Dordogne Périgord region of South West France, Chateau des Vigiers is a 16th century villa amidst picturesque vineyards. Internationally renowned as a luxury hotel, the "Petit Versailles" offers golf, the intimate spa by Sothys, and a seasonal outdoor pool. Popular with lovers of gastronomy and fine wines, Les Fresques offers Michelin Star dining within the hotel, and Le Chai Brasserie is located within the old wine making building with some of the best views in the Dordogne. 

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK:  Guests that book through Five Star Alliance receive a bottle of Bergerac Red wine made on the property. Additionally, subject to availability at the time of check-in/departure, a room upgrade, early check-in, and late check-out.

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Posted in: Bordeaux, Porto, Bilbao

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