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Brad Pitt is practically BFF with Frank Gehry so it's no surprise to us that Pitt and his lady, Angelina Jolie shacked up at the Gehry-designed Marques de Riscal while visiting Spain. We even bet that Brangelina got comped for their stay. And some good news for the hotel babysitters---Brad and Angie left the kids behind in Prague.
· Brad and Angelina jet off for a weekend away [Pitt Watch]
Architects with really "out there" ideas must be hated by engineers and drafters, but we love 'em. Frank Gehry, the man behind Spain's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, has done it again by designing a spooky wave of a structure that's also a luxury hotel, described well in a recent LA Times review as looking "more like a preliminary, freehand sketch than a finished building".
This highly non-standard building is in fact the Hotel Marques De Riscal, located 75 miles south of Bilbao in vineyard country. It's one of those hotels where you almost wouldn't mind if the bed was uncomfortable or the food cold, because just living inside such a building is the key part of the experience, as in the reviewer's own guest room:
When the curtains part at the push of a button, you see a picture window with angular contours, erratically tilted panes and a zigzagging window seat. The undercarriage of the roof, wrapped in pink, gold and silver titanium ribbons, is visible in the foreground.
According to her, the food isn't cold and the service is actually great, although not everybody who's stayed there so far agrees. After admiring the titanium ribbon of a roof (sourced, incidentally, in Russia and Australia!), you can enjoy excellent local wines in the bar, spoil yourself at the Caudalie Vinothérapie spa (all treatments based on grapes--really!), or indulge on tasty Rioja-style food--the hotel restaurant gets advice from Michelin-star chef Francis Paniego, although their website tries to make it sound like the restaurant itself owns the star.
And while the Marques De Riscal is kind of in the middle of nowhere, this particular nowhere probably has enough pretty landscapes plus good wineries with plenty to eat and drink to keep you occupied for a couple of days.
It may be one of the oldest tricks in the book: using wine to seduce someone your way. Apparently it worked with architect Frank Gehry.
At 82 years of age, Gehry is no new kid but he's still one of the world's best architects, holding Bilbao's Guggenheim to his name among many others to boast. Now he can add the Marques de Riscal to that list, an old winery in Spain's Rioja region. Not wanting to take on the project initially, the winery owners did what they do best, lured him in with their passionate red elixir:
At first, the Canadian-born architect did not want to tackle the small winery project because it would have required many flights from his base in Los Angeles. Then the winery owners took Gehry to the oldest cellar, called "the cathedral," where bottles dating from 1862 are stored. After a 1929 vintage -- Gehry's birth year -- he warmed to the project.
"It was very good, and after a few glasses I accepted," the 82-year-old Gehry told Spain's El Mundo newspaper.
Thanks to the wine, a hotel was born. The winery's original architecture (essentially a 19th shanty) is now met with Gehry's "pink, gold and silver titanium ribbons" that shade a sandstone hotel building and pull and reflect the sun. Along with 43 hi-tech amenity-loaded suites overlooking the vineyards, more additions came with a spa, restaurant, exhibition room and tasting area.
One thing is sure: we know we'll be hitting up the tasting room first to find out what this old wine may inspire us to do.
· Spain inaugurates new Gehry-designed hotel at celebrated old winery [Seattle Times]
· Marques de Riscal Reviews [TripAdvisor]