The Ribera del Duero, one of Spain’s great wine regions, lies about 120 miles northwest of Madrid. Just down the road from the famous Vega Sicilia vineyard, the magnificent 1,730-acre Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine estate has become the talk of Spain since it opened after a multimillion-dollar renovation in 2012. The 30-room hotel, created from a former 12th-century Cistercian monastery, is wholly exceptional.
The austerity of the original building was respected rather than overwhelmed during the renovation, and its style remains authentic and low-key. The architects had the sense to embrace the essential rusticity of the property, with its beamed ceilings and limestone floors. The public spaces, including the renovated chapel, are spare, while the character of the rooms derives from the exquisitely simple teak furniture, the wide-planked oak floors and the beautifully made oak shutters in tall windows that overlook the surrounding vineyards. Well-equipped baths come with oversized soaking tubs and separate showers.
But as handsomely decorated and supremely comfortable as it may be, what makes Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine such a charming place is that the luxury here never overwhelms the refreshing simplicity of its country setting and the instinctively warm Spanish hospitality of the friendly young staff.
The hotel also features two excellent restaurants: the Vinoteca, a casual wine-oriented bistro, and the Michelin-starred Refectorio, where chef Marc Segarra, who trained at the renowned Mugaritz restaurant in San Sebastián, produces intriguing if sometimes over-elaborate tasting menus.
There’s both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, and lounging on a chaise longue with a book after a light lunch — maybe some asparagus and charcuterie with a glass of one of the estate’s superb wines — is a blissfully peaceful experience. A variety of activities are offered, including vinotherapy treatments in the 10,000-square-foot spa, but the one not to miss is a guided visit of the surrounding vineyards and winery. Otherwise, this was built to be a place of contemplation centuries ago, and it remains one to this day.