Attributes of the Rioja region include: unspoiled natural beauty, historical towns and sites, cultural attractions, a colorful coastline, an incredible food culture and world-renowned quality wines. Have we given you enough reasons to join?
Led by award-winning Chef Kevin Fonzo, discover the Rioja region during harvest season, together with San Sebastian and the Basque country of Spain. Combining flavorful cuisine with world renowned wines, centuries old architecture and traditions, northern Spain has much to offer those seeking multi sensory experiences.
This journey boasts incredible culinary experiences, to include a cooking class, Michelin star restaurants and unique wine tastings. In addition to emblematic wineries, you will find fabulous wine museums, breathtaking lansdscapes and ancient monuments worth visiting, combined with a more recent uprise of modern architecture. In San Sebastian, we march in the cobblestone old town (Parte Vieja), upscale shops neighborhood and of course, visit the vibrant pintxo bars, pairing local wines with bite-size regional specialties.
With incredible wine, Pinchos and 1, 2 & 3-star Michelin restaurants in such a tiny region, how can you not feel you have landed in paradise? Our executive Chef Kevin will make you discover Rioja and its hidden gems with a completely new perspective.
The Rioja region is the most famous wine-making area of Spain, but in more recent years has also become synonymous with some of the most exciting developments in modern architecture, as vineyard owners compete with one another to commission striking new bodegas from some of the world’s leading architects, including Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and Santiago Calatrava.
Often a disputed territory throughout history, the Rioja region has been home to many different cultures (starting with the Romans and the Muslims) which can be reflected through its buildings and traditions, both to be discovered along your journey.
By taking on San Sebastian and its coastal towns, we introduce you to the true (and proud) Basque culture and history. From its hilltop villages to its fisherman villages, the Basque region is inviting and rich in flavors and colors. It is one, if not, the oldest culture in Europe, and is said to have existed long before the Romans arrived in 216 B.C.
Today, you are privately transferred to the property from Bilbao airport (or your hotel in San Sebastian/Bilbao for those arriving early). After an afternoon discovering the grounds and relaxing, we hold our welcome dinner at the property, paired with incredible regional wines.
This morning, we head out to Briones. Here you'll find the fantastic Vivanco. Over several floors and numerous rooms, you will learn all about the history and culture of wine and the various processes that go into its production.
For lunch, we take you to Vieja Bodega, one of the best restaurants in Northern Spain. The building housing it used to be an old winery, hence its name in Spanish. Our day continues with the visit of quaint and charming Spanish villages, starting with captivating village of San Vicente de la Sonsierra, where we make, of course, a wine tasting stop. Tonight dinner is at leisure, with our recommendations.
Our chef departs for two local markets in local towns. Guests interested in joining may do so. We have planned for you an afternoon of wine tasting in the darling little wine hamlet of Samaniego. Discover its noble mansions, country church and stunning setting. We then depart for Bodegas Baigorri where we have lunch (own account) followed by a visit of the vineyard and wine tasting. Dinner is at leisure, with our recommendations.
Today is a special day. We treat you to two lovely wine tours and tastings at two of the best producers in the region. Then, we head to the mythical gourmet restaurant Etxebarri where we enjoy a tasting menu "out of this world". Chef Bitor Arguinzoniz is known as Spain's best Grill Master Extraordinaire, and indeed, all of the dishes there are cooked to perfection over the open fire. Your afternoon and evening are at leisure, possibly spent recovering from this excellent lunch experience.
This morning, after breakfast, we depart for San Sebastian. Our short journey will take us past some of the iconic vineyards and towns visited the previous days. After checking in, our local foodie experts await to take us on a private Pintxo lunch crawl. You will be discovering 5 to 6 excellent pintxo bars, all with a unique style and approach to their cuisine. Tonight, dinner is at leisure with our recommendations.
This morning is at leisure, or for those of you eager to learn more how to be a better Chef, join our very own Kevin Fonzo as he strolls two of San Sebastian’s famous markets. He will be shopping for his cooking class, to be held later today.
Although the secret to San Sebastián’s typical mouth-watering cuisine is the loving care and know-how that goes into it, the biggest secret lies in the quality of the raw materials used and in seasonal produce. The emphasis is placed on the excellent quality of the raw materials used. Your cooking class with Chef Fonzo starts around 4pm and ends with an excellent 3-course dinner paired with local wines.
This morning, we visit the coast and local villages of the Basque region. We start with the blissful beachfront views of Zarauz. We then reach Getaria to explore the impressive monuments of the medieval fishing village, which was home to famous figures such as Juan Sebastian Elcano (the first man to travel the world by sea) and designer Cristobal Balendiaga. Our lunch (included) takes place at the famous Kaia Kaipe.
We continue on, following the winding coastal road and arrive at the picturesque Sanctuary of Loyola, a provincial gem home to the Saint Ignatius of Loyola, where a visit to the Basilica is a must. Tonight, we hold our farewell dinner at the impressive Michelin starred Rekondo
Today, private transfers to the airport are being organized for our guests. Interested in extending in Spain, or beyond? Let us know and our expert will provide the best recommendation for a memorable experience.
Even in modern cities like Prague, Harford and Paris, Frank Gehry’s designs manage to stand out. But put one in the foothills overlooking a medieval village of 1000 people, and it’s downright otherworldly.
The titanium exterior is the hotel’s most eye catching feature but inside, god is in the details. Every element of the rooms and suites is designer made, and the curved wood walls, bright red leather furniture and marble bathrooms would make it look right at home in the pages of a designer magazine. Other perks include the hotel’s award-winning Spa Vinothérapie Caudalie Marqués de Riscal, which draws from the therapeutic properties of the grapes and vines from the surrounding vineyards and just like the hotel which houses it, it’s an experience you’ll find nowhere else.
For the gourmet’s the hotel’s Marques de Riscal restaurant, is a one Michelin Star eat that combines innovative cuisine with a vast – and excellent – selection of wine from the hotel’s cellars. Considering the fact that la Rioja is one of Spain’s best wine producers, you’re in for a treat.
Room Mate Gorka is a boutique, classically designed hotel in the heart of downtown San Sebastian. In its large, bright rooms you will be able to recharge your batteries so that you have all the energy needed to enjoy a perfect day in San Sebastian: walk along La Concha beach, have pintxos in the historical center, photograph the cliffs with the Comb of the Wind sculptures in the background.
And best of all, all of this is just a stone's throw from the hotel thanks to its privileged location in Plaza Guipúzcoa!
Rates displayed are per person, based on double occupancy. .
All listed retreats (hotels, villas and barges) are, at times, subject to changes. If replaced, similar or higher standards will be upheld.
A refundable deposit of $1500 per person is due at the time of your reservation. In case of a cancelation at more than 90 days prior to departure, your deposit will be returned minus a $250 per person administrative fee.
Your final balance is due 90 days prior to departure, at which point your journey becomes non-refundable.
NEW! Find a replacement at least 30 days prior to departure and your journey will be fully refunded, minus a $250 per person administrative fee.