Silken Gran Domine Bilbao Hotel Review

Looking for a hotel in Bilbao, Spain? Check our our business travel review of the Silken Gran Domine Hotel.

Imagine waking up to a direct view of the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, and then enjoying breakfast on a rooftop patio at the restaurant of a renowned chef with six Michelin stars. That’s just the beginning of what you can expect when staying at the Silken Gran Domine Hotel (built in 2002/2003).

Experience the Silken Gran Domine Bilbao Hotel:

  • Departure Breakfast at Silken Gran Breakfast, Bilbao Departure Breakfast at Silken Gran Breakfast, Bilbao © 2013 Rob Hard
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Exterior Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Exterior © 2013 Rob Hard
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Business Lounge Bilbao Silken Gran Business Lounge © 2013 Rob Hard
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Guggenheim View Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Guggenheim View Imagine waking up to this view each day during your stay! © 2013 Rob Hard
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Meeting Room Bilbao Silken Gran Meeting Room © 2013 Rob Hard
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Private Event Space Bilbao Silken Gran Private Event Space © 2013 Rob Hard
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Premium Club Room Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Premium Club Room
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Mariscal Painting Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Mariscal Painting © 2013 Rob Hard
  • Restaurante Doma Terrace at Bilbao Gran Domine Hotel Restaurante Doma Terrace at Bilbao Gran Domine Hotel Courtesy image
  • View of the Guggenheim from Restaurante Doma at Silken Gran Domine Hotel in Bilbao View of the Guggenheim from Restaurante Doma at Silken Gran Domine Hotel in Bilbao Yes, this is your morning view at breakfast. Courtesy image
  • Atrium View at SIlken Gran Domine Hotel in Bilbao Atrium View at SIlken Gran Domine Hotel in Bilbao Fossil Cypress is an impressive Mariscal sculpture that stands seven floors tall through the hotel atrium. Courtesy image
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Chef Martin Erasategui for Doma Restaurant Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Chef Martin Erasategui for Doma Restaurant Chef Martin Erasategui -- one of a few Spanish chefs with three Michelin stars -- is the culinary Martín Berasategui, the renowned Spanish chef with six Michelin stars, puts his personal stamp on this restaurant, where diners can enjoy what is essential for Berasategui - the quality of the ingredients in the market. Courtesy image
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Meeting Room Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Meeting Room Courtesy image
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Presidential Suite Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Presidential Suite Courtesy image
  • Stairway at Silken Gran Domine Hotel in Bilbao Stairway at Silken Gran Domine Hotel in Bilbao Courtesy image
  • Bilbao SIlken Gran Domine Exterior Bilbao SIlken Gran Domine Exterior Courtesy image
  • Silken Gran Domine Hotel Reception Area Silken Gran Domine Hotel Reception Area Courtesy image
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Massage Treatments Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Massage Treatments Courtesy image
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Presidential Suite Living Room Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Presidential Suite Living Room Courtesy image
  • The Guggenheim’s Puppy Watches Over the Gran Hotel Domine in Bilbao The Guggenheim’s Puppy Watches Over the Gran Hotel Domine in Bilbao Courtesy image
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Premium Deluxe Room Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Premium Deluxe Room Courtesy image
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Breakfast Buffet on the Terrace Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Breakfast Buffet on the Terrace Courtesy image
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Rooftop Solarium Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Rooftop Solarium Courtesy image
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Meeting Space Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Meeting Space Courtesy image
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Splash & Crash Lobby Restaurant Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Splash & Crash Lobby Restaurant Courtesy image
  • Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Premium Deluxe Phillippe Stark Tub Bilbao Silken Gran Domine Premium Deluxe Phillippe Stark Tub Courtesy image

This five star hotel showcases 20th century contemporary design and modern architecture to complement its unique address. Designed by Spanish architect Javier Mariscal (even down to the carpets) and designer Fernando Salas, the Grand Hotel Domine is one of two flagship Silken hotels (the other being in Madrid). The hotel 210 Mariscal’s original pieces of art (and expanding).

The Fossil Cyprus is a 26 meter, tree-like sculpture that Mariscal designed. It’s a striking feature that begins in The Atrium lobby and runs up the entire seven floors of the building. It can be seen from every floor of the hotel.

The hotel is popular with international visitors (70% of its clients), groups account for 30% of its business and corporate travel accounts for 10%. The Gran Domine is popular for meetings and local special events (including weddings). From here, you can enjoy food and wine of the Basque Country or any range of business activities in this economic hub in northern Spain.

The Gran Domine Hotel Guest Rooms

Many rooms offer direct views of the Guggenheim, so you may want to make that request. And each floor — and room — has its own unique color and original artwork by Mariscal. The Gran Hotel Domine has 145 rooms in six different classifications (including 85 deluxe, 48 premium deluxe/executive, and 4 junior suites). I stayed in two of the Domine Premium Club rooms on the fifth floor.

These rooms are a comfortable size at 32 square meters (about 350 square feet). And aside from the view, the standout here is the bathroom. It includes a bathtub designed by Philippe Starck which is visible from inside the room. And, of course, the hotel rooms have all of the other traditional amenities you’d expect from a hotel in this class — 23″ LCD TV, satellite stations, radio and CD selection, minibar, safe deposit box, bath robe and slippers (plus turndown service).

Restaurants at Gran Domine Hotel

Martin Berasategui is a highly renowned chef with six Michelin stars, and DOMA is his restaurant at Gran Hotel Domine. Breakfast is served here, and his menu changes daily for lunch and dinner to reflect the daily market. What is special for groups who enjoy culinary experiences, you will want to speak with the hotel’s sales team which I am told is working with Berasategui to create gastronomic tour programs into the Basque Country.

Le Cafe Metropol is located on the ground floor just off the lobby, and open from 8 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. It’s interior is black and white and stainless steel, which is a tribute to the Bauhaus and the designers that stood out in the 1920s. Here, you can enjoy a coffee, sandwich, cocktail or other meals.

At the end of the night, you can relax in the hotel’s lobby bar, where I sat back and enjoyed patxaran, a digestif that is served chilled — and a new discovery of mine during the visit.

Events and Meetings at Gran Domine

The Gran Domine has several options for meetings and unique events, and has space that can handle groups from 20-500 (it seems  ideal for smaller groups and larger local celebrations). There are six rooms, nd the carpet — also designed by Mariscal — has a range of reds to give the space color. The Gran Domine is also very popular with the locals for weddings and other special events.

The Verdict?

Bilbao is truly a wonderful city where you can easily walk and explore the city that has reinvented and modernized itself in the last 15 years. The Silken Gran Domine Bilbao Hotel is a great place to stay where you can enjoy yourself in a hotel that is a tribute to the best of 20th century art and architecture and art. The staff is friendly and willing to help guests — even during the busy times when guests may be gathering for a special event.

The Silken Gran Domine Bilbao Hotel is certainly worthy of consideration for a future meeting or event, or to serve as your base to explore the Bilbao and the Basque Country.

Rob is editor of Business Travel Destinations. He reviews international destinations for meetings and events -- where business travelers go, the hotels where they stay and their lifestyle preferences on the road. Rob was previously the event planning guide for About.com (owned by The New York Times Company) from 2007 - 2011. His articles also appear in business travel publications and travel sites internationally.