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All reviews el portal traditional restaurant la rioja beautiful church michelin star double shower croquettes private car park tasting menu rioja region boutique hotel complimentary bottle wonderful hotel relais and chateaux food and wine three nights small town
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Reviewed 23 August 2018

This was a nice hotel but it was a bit of a drive for touring in Rioja. The room was small and designed for a couple, but the lighting wasn't great. The desk area was dark. We had a very nice dinner in the Traditional Restaurant, but it wasn't "out of the park". We also had laundry done there and my 2 whites shirts had obviously been washed with the darks, they came back grey. They washed them again, they were a little less grey. The staff was very nice but still rates an average.

  • Stayed: July 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank LynnMSP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2018

Echaurren has been owned and operated by the Echaurren family for five generations and judging by the extremely long shifts worked by the front of house staff, most of the people working there are family as well. Everyone is helpful and imbued with a strong sense of purpose. At the heart of that purpose is a love of food and Echaurren has two restaurants representing generational change. El Portal is a 2-Michelin starred molecular gastronomy restaurant run by Francis Paniego and Echaurren Tradicion prepares top quality traditional cuisine based on his mother's famed classic recipes.

We tried both restaurants. Echuarren Tradicion was very good utilizing very high quality ingredients. But at a price 50% to 70% more than for similar dishes at other high quality traditional Spanish restaurants I am not sure it represents good value. El Portal serves a 26 course tasting menu with all the modern bells and whistles, i.e.some courses served in the reception area, some served in the kitchen/lab and the rest at the table. Like all molecular dining experiences, some of the dishes work and some don't. Such is the price of innovation. Overall El Portal fairly ranks with the big name 2-3 Michelin starred restaurants of San Sebastian in terms of food quality and creativity. However, I would argue the overall dining experience is better at El Portal. In San Sebastian everyone seems a bit rushed and jaded given they are primarily serving hordes of (mostly American) tourists who have fought for months to get a table. At El Portal there is none of that. As a non-Spanish speaking tourist, you get the same warmth and family sense of purpose as in the hotel. An additional bonus is that the tasting menu at El Portal is about €80 less than at the famous San Sebastian restaurants making El Portal a real bargain.

In respect of the rooms, people should be aware of the difference between the Vanguard Rooms and the Traditional Rooms. The Vanguard rooms are part of the new contemporary building and more luxurious while the Traditional rooms are in the attached old building and more basic. We stayed in one of the Traditional family rooms which turned out to be a decent sized 2 bedroom apartment with a full living room and kitchenette. No fancy furnishings but very comfortable and very reasonably priced at €145. Only complaint would be that the bathroom was quite cramped.

Ezcaray, we discovered is a picturesque ski town, that is busier in the winter than in summer. We had assumed that being well located in the Rioja region the town was focused on food and wine--not that those are in short supply. The old town behind the hotel is charming and worth a few hours of exploration. The one place you should make sure to visit is Mantas Ezcaray, a world famous maker of hand-dyed and hand-woven, top quality wool blankets and scarves. They are best know for their fluffy mohair textiles. Finding it can be a little confusing as it is not a store. You just walk into their shipping warehouse and you can pick what you want from various display areas hidden among the shelves.

  • Stayed: July 2018, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Richard L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2018 via mobile

Great cozy room, super friendly staffs. Amazing foods. One of the best in Basque Country. El Portal is the must experience you beed to get yourself in. Room is very comfortable and for the price. It is really amazing

Stayed: June 2018, travelled with friends
Thank ThiTid T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2018

Family owned and operated. Eco friendly. Michelin stared restaurant. What more could you want?!?! Beautiful and classy. Take a bike and explore the town! Be sure to bring a blanket, bottle of vino & cheese for the perfect picnic.

Room Tip: A gastronomic boutique hotel!
  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Helen C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 April 2018 via mobile

We stumbled on this hotel almost by accident, having found ourselves in the area but unable to get into our first choice. The ultra modern room was fine but was more about appearances than practicality - uncomfortable seats in the living area, a complimentary bottle of wine but no corkscrew and no turndown service. But don’t let that put you off! The bed was comfortable and the room was quiet.
The real treat, though, was the fantastic quality of both the food and service in the restaurant that specialised in local cuisine. We were able to take half portions of almost everything on the menu, which gave us the opportunity to taste a great selection of the areas best produce, superbly prepared. The service was charming and our waiter went out of his way to ensure that we had a truly memorable evening. Breakfast was somewhat eccentric, perhaps trying to hard to be different without quite pulling it off. The price of dinner was a tremendous bargain, breakfast was quite expensive for what it was.

Stayed: April 2018, travelled as a couple
Thank jonathanwT3430GB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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