Petit Palace Arana
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Historical Traveler Reviews Petit Palace Arana Bilbao
Good in parts
The hotel was clean, very well situated for access to all the attractions of Bilbao. The downside was that the double beds were tiny and wardrobe space was minimal. For a double room, you had to take turns in using the wardrobe. There was too much space allocated to the bathroom and it was a bit disconcerting having a glass door to the bathroom/lavatory. Our room was quiet (3rd floor rear) and the place was charming. Staff did not have very good English but were helpful. Buffet breakfasts were excellent although the room was a bit eccentric.
High tech - Good value - Well placed
We spent 5 nights in a family room between 14 April and 19 April 2004. The hotel is beautifully situated on the corner of the Plaza Arriaga, and if you are lucky enough, you will get a room with a view of the square with the River Nervion behind it in one direction, the Theatre opposite, and the attractive San Nicolas de Bari church across the way. I would recommend you ask for room 505 if it's available. This was our room and it had the best available view.
For travel links, the hotel is excellently placed. Only a couple of hundred yards away is the Casco Viejo Metro station which gives you easy access across the city and into the outlying suburbs and small towns. I would certainly recommend you visit Getxo and Plentzia. The main and smaller regional railway stations are also just over the bridge which you can see from the hotel, and even closer is a tram stop which takes you across the city to the cathedral of football that is the Estadio San Mames, home of Athletic Bilbao. The San Mames is also very close to the city's main bus and coach terminus.
Inside, the hotel is very clean and modern. The booking in service was friendly and efficient, and there is free internet access at reception. The room is well equipped and everything feels very new. A couple of downsides to report though. If you're a bit shy, the fact that the bathroom door is made of glass might make you feel a little bit uncomfortable. Also, if you have children, beware that the top bunk does not have a bolster to prevent them from falling out in the middle of the night if they're restless sleepers. The very reasonable room rate we paid didn't include breakfast, which was avaiable as an extra at about 11 euros per head. However, as recommended by an earlier reviewer, we also discovered the Cafe Boulevard, just a stone's throw away, where we were able to get a good cup of coffee and a very nice bacon and cheese bocadillo for not much more than that for the four of us.
Close to the hotel is the City's old quarter, the Casco Viejo. It's well worth just wandering aimlessly around this area. You'll probably get lost, but you'll get your bearings back just as easily. We used the Bilbao Footprint Guide by Andy Symington ISBN no 1 903471 45 1 to help us get around. It's a comprehensive pocket sized guide which also gives information on the neighbouring cities of San Sebastian and Vitoria, as well as many other smaller towns and villages. In the Casco Viejo I would especially recommend that on at least one evening you sit in the Plaza Nueva and enjoy a couple of glasses of the local wine along with a selection of pintxos from one of the many bars that a placed around the sides of the square. The atmosphere is warm and convivial. There are lots of youngsters there who bring their own alcohol, but don't let this put you off because they are not there to spoil your evening. I wish it was like this back home in England! The Cafe Bar Bilbao has an especially friendly service and the bar staff made us feel very welcome indeed, playing football on the square with my kids and I, and talking about Athletic Bilbao. The bar directly opposite on the other side of the square (sorry, I've forgotten the name) also had some wonderful pintxos - especially the garlic mushrooms.
Obviously people come to Bilbao to see the Guggenheim Museum. You will not be disappointed. It is an incredible building, and only by seeing it for yourself will you get to appreciate it in its full glory. It is about 15-20 minutes walk from the hotel (Bilbao is a great city for walking around - especially along the banks of the Nervion). Of course you will want to go into the museum to see the exhibits, but I think the museum itself, both inside and out is the greatest piece of art there, so take time to explore it from the outside. Walk around it from one side to the other and keep looking upwards at the amazing curves and lines of the building. Also, make sure you take some time to walk along the Calle de Iparraguirre in the direction of the museum and take some photos. The view of the older buildings and the busy street, with the backdrop of "Puppy" and the Guggenheim just behind is in my opinion the most striking view you'll get. You must also see it as the sun sets, because the titanium scales of the museum change in appearance with the light.
The other major attraction for football lovers such as myself is the San Mames. Even if you don't love football, it's worth going to a game just to sample the atmosphere of a top class Spainsh game. The Basques are very proud of their team and the fact that only local people play for them. In a time where top teams employ players from all over the World, it is an incredible fact that this team are one of the most successful in Spain, and have spent their entire history in the top division. Getting tickets for most matches is pretty easy, but trickier if you want to see them play Real Madrid, Barcelona or near neighbours Real Sociedad. I purchased ours from the special ATM machines at the BBK bank, branches of which are everywhere. It couldn't have been easier. The instructions could be read in English, and I was able to select my desired location, and watch the tickets be printed out in front of my very eyes from a cash machine! And it doesn't cost too much either. We paid 25 euros each (10 euros for under 14s) to sit behind the goal in the Preferencia Norte. It costs a little bit more to sit on the sides.
You will need at least a few words of Spanish if you come to the Basque Country. If your previous experiences of Spain is places like the Costa del Sol, it may come as a bit of a surprise that there are not so many Englidh speakers here. You will also notice much evidence of Euskara, the Basque language. However, everyone does speak Spanish, so don't panic. We managed, with just the absolute basics.
Bilbao has many things to offer. The heart of a major city, with the peace and charm of beach resorts just a few minutes on the Metro away. We went because we were able to get ridiculously cheap flights from Bristol with Easyjet, and the visit was certainly worthwhile. One last thing, pack the suntan lotion, but don't expect to need it every day. It may be Spain, but it's green Spain and it does rain here. But don't let that put you off!
Good place to stay
Stayed between 27th and 31st May
Found the hotel very pleasant. Our room was on the third floor. I did my research, looked at other peoples comments so when faced with a glass see through door to the bathroom was prepared! When booking did specify two beds but got one king size bed. The location is excellent, right in the heart of the old city which has lots of shops and places to eat. Room was clean and spacious, just right for four nights. Even was given the use of an iron and iron board throughout the stay. Internet is free
Stayed 2 nights at the Petit Palace Arana and it is indeed in a great location. We were very disappointed with our room however, we had specifically requested a high room and were given a room on the 1st floor next to the stairs and the lift, this meant that people were constantly coming and going and it kept us awake most of the night, we could even here people's conversations when they were standing in the reception area, we asked to change the room as soon as we arrived and the reception were very unhelpful saying that they were full even though the group of 20 guys we met on the plane had just arrived and were checking in to higher rooms despite having booked last minute.
This coupled with the fact that the safe deposit box immediately broke and we couldn't get our valuables out until the following day and the fact that the so called hydro massage shower would only give out cold water meant that our stay was ruined. Would not stay here again.
Excellent location & clean
Found the Petit Palace to be clean with very friendly & helpful staff. One of the few hotels with a free safe facility in the room. The rooms are very modern, comfortable & clean - 3 minor points - 1. Lack of storage drawers; 2.The door to the bathroom is glass and see-through so the bathroom isn't very private!! and 3. the breakfast israther expensive at 11E per person (we strolled out to the Cafe Bopulevard about 50 metres from the hotel and had excellent morning tapas with tea/coffee for about 8-9E for the both of us and had the buzz of a local cafe-bar!!). The location is excellent, right by the river on the very edge of the "Old Town", next to the theatre and just a walk across the river to the new town and Gran Via. A pleasant stroll along the river bank gets you to the Guggenheim in about 15-20 minutes. Just to add - the stay in Bilbao was most unexpected as I'd heard and read of this industrial river town being polluted and grimy but was hugely surprised - apparently over the last few years massive amounts of money hve been spent cleaning it all up, and it shows. The old town is still very much like a local town where very little English is spoken and the locals go about their daily lives - full of character and loads of tiny bars serving great tapas. the new town is clean and has lots of bars and shopping. The metro is fantastic - not huge but is new and very clean & efficient and cheap!!!
Single Room at Back........Again!
Stayed one night in single room in February. You cannot have the window open, it looked onto a small well and there were about the noisiest air conditioning vents I have ever heard outside. It was even loud background noise with my walkman on (and a lot noisier than a plane, by way of example). The airconditioning sort of worked, after a fashion, but I would not stay here in summer because it didn't seem a strong enough system to cope. The view was standard industrial, as though staying in a factory - looking out onto a huge metal wall that nearly met the sky.On checking in I asked if they had a single room with a view, and was told no, all the single rooms were at the back. This annoys me so much: I paid ?75 uk pounds (including taxes and breakfast and a small booking fee since they dont seem to have their own bookable site) - that is - at todays rates - 138 us dollars or 109 Euros. Double rooms don't cost much more than that, yet have fantastic views. This is pure discrimination against the single traveller.The fittings are frankly silly. There is an all-over shower that - in my case - didn't actually work, except on one occasion when it seemed to be working to pour water all over the bathroom! The ordinary shower worked, but the water was not hot, same with the sink. What is the point of investing in stylish fittings if you don't get the basic right and have hot water? The sink was 'designer', ie too small. Just pointless 'style over substance' stuff.Staff friendly enough, but of the two I dealt with only one really spoke English.I had worries about fire safety. Fire doors where open at night, and my own room was a long long way (and a quite torturous path) from a dedicated fire exit - admittedly mine was the furthest from the fire exit of any room on the floor. I somehow doubt such design would be acceptable in the UK, but it seems it is in Spain.On the plus side: breakfast was good, fresh, plentiful, and good value. The room and bathroom were spotless, I would not fault them at all on that. The television worked and had good reception for a range of channels. The overall design of the hotel is lovely, and despite being in a dark 'well' the room did not feel too depressing. The internet terminal, free to use, in the reception area, was obvoiusly broadband - very fast, and I noticed the keyboard and mouse were spotless.In summary? Terrible if you want a view, a bit of natural light or a view. Don't stay if you are claustrophobic. But very clean. My own feeling is that I was ripped off - way way too expensive for a tiny 'back' room in a second-tier European city in February!
We stayed here september 2003. The location is perfect, on the edge of the old town, next to the river and on walking distance of the gugenheim. The rooms are very modern, with high speed internet (free) on a flat screen in the room. And a good breakfast buffet. Try the internet site for great last minute rates. We paid 80 euro, including breakfast. Just go there
Super nice and modern hotel placed very well
very nice, modern and polite hotel, very well placed from every main enterteiment of Bilbao
TripAdvisor Reviews Petit Palace Arana Bilbao
Travel Blogs from Bilbao
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