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The Big Six: Avant-garde hotels in Spain

Hotel Viura, Rioja

This new hotel in the heart of Rioja Alavesa wine country was designed to resemble a bunch of grapes, but could be mistaken too for a jumble of colourful boxes. The hotel overlooks San Andrés Church – which dates back to 1538 – and this bold contrast adds to its appeal. Stepping inside, the warm interior evokes the vinous theme with purple and burgundy velvets contrasted with pale stone and wine barrels suspended from the restaurant ceiling. The restaurant's menu is based on Riojan and Basque cuisine.

Hotel Viura, Calle Mayor, Villabuena de Alava, Rioja (00 34 945 60 90 00; hotelviura.com). Doubles start at €125, room only.

W Barcelona

Conceptualised by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill, and jutting out like an oversize sail from Barcelona's coastline, the W rises 26 floors above the Mediterranean and is crowned with a sleek bar that has unparalleled views of city and sea. The rooms are no less dramatic, boasting all the accoutrements of the ever-expanding W chain (shiny modern design, playful facilities, Bliss bathroom products). Back at sea level, an infinity pool overlooks Sant Sebastia beach and is surrounded by white cabanas and sun-loungers.

W, Placa de la Rosa del Vents, Final Passeig de Joan de Borbo, Barcelona (00 34 93 295 2800; starwoodhotels.com/whotels). Doubles start at €270, room only.

Hotel Puerta America, Madrid

This enormous hotel immediately sets the scene with an exterior that resembles a lavish paint colour chart. It then rises through 12 storeys, each one the creation of a celebrated architect. Zaha Hadid's floor has contoured rooms in glossy white, black or orange, each appearing to have no singular piece of furniture but instead with everything rising ergonomically from the floor and walls. No less arresting are rooms created by Norman Foster, Jean Nouvel and Ron Arad.

Hotel Silken Puerta América, Avenida de América, Madrid (00 34 917 445 400; hoteles-silken.com). Doubles start at €127, room only.

Aire de Bardenas, Navarra

This hotel looks like scattered sugar cubes among wheat fields, scrub and desert. Suites are housed in the powder-coated steel units that surround a larger hub of rooms and a restaurant. Recycled farm produce boxes protect the resort from the fierce Bardenas wind.

Hotel Aire de Bardenas, Carretera Ejea, Tudela, Navarra (00 34 948 11 66 66; airedebardenas.com).

Eme Catedral Hotel, Seville

Despite being based in a collection of traditional Sevillian houses, Eme manages to pull off an entirely contemporary look with dark Moorish-style latticework, mood-lit walls and glass floors revealing Roman ruins and a tapas bar.

Eme Catedral Hotel, Alemanes Street, Seville (00 34 954 56 00 00; emecatedralhotel.com). Double rooms start at €180, room only.

Marques de Riscal, Elciego

One of Rioja's oldest wineries is also one of the most modern. At Marques de Riscal, Frank Gehry's unorthodox wine lodge rises from the vines like a flutter of ribbons in the wind. To complete the experience, there's an extensive Caudalie spa specialising in "wine therapy" treatments.

Hotel Marqués de Riscal, Calle Torrea, Elciego, Rioja (00 34 945 18 08 80; hotel-marquesderiscal.com) Double rooms start at €315, with breakfast.