It’s always great to discover hotels that have their own distinct character – and this is one of them. A collection of pods and bubbles thrown down in the barren landscape of Navarra, there is really nothing else like it anywhere. A luxury boutique hotel in Spain, with a cool, futuristic, one-of-a-kind appeal.
Aire de Bardenas Tudela, Spain
This luxury boutique hotel in Spain is the brainchild of two sisters, Natalia Pérez, an economist, and Diana, a decorator. Built in 2007, it has no foundations and is both recyclable and sustainable. But more than that, it’s really cool to look at.
The Pérez sisters enlisted the help of two architects, Emiliano López (from Argentina) and Mónica Rivera (from Puerto Rico), and the result is 22 futuristic cubes and nine inflatable bubbles, seemingly thrown down onto the landscape – linked by pathways and separated by wooden partitions. The feel is prefab, but the design details elevate it so much higher than that.
Each cube has its own little garden, the hotel is surrounded in a sea of pebbles, and it looks out over the sweeping landscape of the beautiful but stark Bardenas Reales Nature Reserve. The compound has a large pool and its own restaurant.
Features we love include the square picture windows looking out over the pebbles, the outdoor bathtubs in some of the terraces, and of course the inflatable Bubble rooms. These spherical spaces offer a sky full of stars and views of the sun rising. And if you think you’ll be sleeping in a tent, think again. They may take a little time to get used to, but the minibars, bathrobes, slippers and shower should make it easy.
The hotel has won more than 20 awards for architecture and interior design, has been written about in many design publications and appeared in fashion shoots and music videos. It’s also had some pretty cool guests, from Ridley Scott to Penélope Cruz – and the cast of Game of Thrones.
The restaurant offers beautiful dishes, inspired by the region, using vegetables grown organically in the hotel’s garden or sourced within 25km. Various dining packages are available.
Each room has wifi, bath soaps, shampoo, hair conditioner, air conditioning, and a safety deposit box.
The hotel is located in the heart of Navarra, in the Bardenas Reales Nature Reserve, Europe’s largest desert. The nearest town is Tudela (3km), a city of Arab origins with Jewish, Christian and Arab districts. It offers tapas, bars and good restaurants, as well as the Senda Viva Park for kids. The hotel can arrange transportation.
Guided tours of the desert by 4×4, bicycle or horse can also be arranged. Alternatively, why not canoe on the Ebro River, go hiking or fishing?
Tudela, Spain. Nearest airports: Zaragoza (45 mins), Pamplona (55 mins), Madrid (2 hours), Barcelona (3 hours).
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Spring to autumn.
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Aire de Bardenasfrom €205/ nt
|$260 x 4||$1,040|
|Refundable Damage Deposit||$500|
|TOTAL (with Deposit)||$1,780|
100% refund for cancellations request by at (property’s local time). No refund if less than 14 days priors to arrival day.