By Dian Hasan | July 25, 2009
It must be something in the Spanish water! As there’s a mushrooming of design hotels across Spain, with such progressive design language, it defies explanation or categorization. Something of a mystery really, and we don’t have the space to investigate the reasons (and don’t even get us started on the food), so we’ll have to be content merely to report on another worthy development: the Aire de Bardenas, set at the edge of a desert in the northern province of Navarre.
You certainly couldn’t accuse this place of going the easy route. These prefab pods, hunkered down against the relentless Bardenas wind, don’t exactly scream out “rustic” or “charming” or any related hotel-industry descriptors. But if you’ve got a sense of adventure, building-wise, they are promising. And inside, they deliver: again, nothing “cozy” or “elegant,” just cleverly designed, functional, modern spaces, with simple contemporary furnishings. They’re designed around the windows, which provide otherworldly views of the wheat fields and the wind-scoured rocks, and which are possibly the most comfortable spaces in the rooms, complete with mini-mattresses and lounge pillows.
This last bit makes Aire de Bardenas possibly the best hotel in the world for getting a bit of reading done. And of course there’s a little more than that: a restaurant serves typically inventive cuisine, heavy on local vegetables, and the surroundings are stunning, if unconventionally so, from the carved formations of the Bardenas Reales National Park to the dark subterranean charms of the region’s many wineries.