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Hotels We Like

The Horizontal Hotel

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In the southernmost reaches of Navarre, lying between stark desert and lush green wheat fields, you’ll find Aire de Bardenas. This award-winning Spanish concept hotel is a collection of scattered cubes thrown down onto the landscape, camouflaged by the natural world around it. It’s nicknamed the ‘horizontal’ hotel.

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Granted, most hotels (outside of Dubai) are horizontal. But when Emiliano Lopez Monica Rivera Arquitectes conceived the hotel design, their vision was of a single-story building that lay low and blended with the rocks and fields.

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Aire de Bardenas (named after the ‘air’, or wind, that frequently buffets the region) is a lightweight construction with a temporary camp-like quality to it. A series of cubes scattered across the land, its main building houses a reception, bar and restaurant, as well as 10 rooms with private patios. A further 12 cubes are arranged in the wheat fields, and provide havens for guests to watch the world.

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Deep-set windows are decorative frames, capturing moments in the life of the countryside surrounding the hotel – sweeping rocky vistas, crops growing, sheep grazing. Guests are encouraged to climb into them to read, watch TV, or simply contemplate the exterior. They’re even deep enough to sleep in.

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Private patios feature lacquered metal bathtubs and white-flowered cherry trees.

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And large recycled wood containers, once used for local fruit and vegetable collection, are scattered around the grounds, serving as windbreakers.

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As if the design itself weren’t reason enough to stay at the Aire de Bardenas, the hotel is also located close to the cathedral city of Tudela and the starkly beautiful Bardenas Reales National Park and Biosphere Reserve. RM

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