Bilbao’s Hotel Ercilla emerges from design-led makeover

by | 07 Mar 2021 | Projects, Refurbishments

The new-look Hotel Ercilla showcases the work of Red Deer (Imagery: © Iban Montero)

Architecture and interiors studio Red Deer has helped give Bilbao’s iconic Hotel Ercilla a new lease of life by completing a major overhaul of the property.

When it first opened in the 1970s, Bilbao’s Hotel Ercilla – the city’s first purpose-built hotel – entertained a dazzling array of VIPs and celebrities visiting the Basque Country.

Returning to its former glory

Now, following a few minor updates in the 1990s, the family-owned property has emerged from an extensive overhaul, which firmly transports it into the 21st century. Part of Autograph Collection, Marriott International‘s prestigious independent brand, the 13-storey hotel’s new look is the work of Red Deer, an international architecture and interiors practice that sought to carefully incorporate the scheme’s history into its design.

The result delivers ‘Vintage Glamour the Bilbao Way’ – a clever concept created alongside London-based agency 0120, which developed the hotel’s refreshed visual branding for the hotel.

Interestingly, the hotel’s original key count, 325, has been reduced to just 285 and organised into a series of updated room categories, while there is also more of a focus on the social hubs. These include a buzzing rooftop lounge – with city views – as well as conference and function rooms, a breakfast room and a gym.

Red Deer emphasises sustainability

With sustainability at the forefront of the design, Red Deer has maintained and restored as many of the original furnishings as possible, which now sit among other details like frosted geometric globe lights and a 1970s colour and texture palette of ochre, cream, pink, burgundy and dark blue with vibrant splashes of tweed, houndstooth and dogstooth. Materials, meanwhile, include glamorous faux furs alongside locally sourced oak panelling, travertine and an abundance of chrome.

The highlight of the hotel is its 13th-floor bar and lounge, which is set to become a hotspot for concerts, screenings and live music. Additionally, the property is located within walking distance of the Guggenheim, as well as Casco Viejo, the city’s medieval quarter.

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