Spain Guide


Bilbao Accommodation

When it comes to places to bed down for the night, Bilbao offers everything from old style elegance and grandeur to small family run pensions.

As the financial and commercial centre of the Basque region, the city provides a good variety of accommodation geared to the needs of business people. And the opening of the Guggenheim Museum has spawned a new generation of hotels to accommodate to the thousands who come here to goggle at Gehry's masterpiece.

The most luxurious hotel in town is without doubt the five star Lopez de Haro which opened in 1990, just 100 metres from the Guggenheim and 500 metres from the Music Congress Palace. This converted 19th century building exudes luxury and style and its much acclaimed Club Nautico Restaurant offers some of the finest Basque cuisine in Spain.

The hotel is run by the Ercilla chain which started with the opening of the four star Ercilla Hotel in 1972. This hotel is also renowned for the excellence of its Basque cuisine, served in the Bermeo Restaurant, and is a popular choice with visiting bullfighters and other celebrities.

The Ercilla is also frequented by visiting business people as it's centrally located at the heart of the city's commercial centre and provides meeting and conference rooms with the latest audio visual equipment.

Other Accommodation and Hotels

Many other three and four star hotels are dotted around the commercial centre and in the wider area known as "Gran Bilbao" made up of towns which have developed along the banks of the Nervion River.

New hotels are springing up all the time and many of the older ones have recently been renovated to provide the sort of modern facilities that many travelers now regard as essential Internet connections, health suites, satellite TV etc.

The city's most historic hotel is the sumptuous Carlton (Book Now), at the heart of the Ensanche District. The hotel was built in 1919 and has numbered Einstein and King Alfonso XIII among its many venerable guests.

The building, which has been declared a national monument of architectural, historic and cultural importance, was completely refurbished in 1994. Don't be fooled by the old world elegance of the exterior and the huge chandelier in the entrance hall facilities here these days include rooms with all mod cons, an American style bar and well equipped meeting, conference and banquet rooms.

Those whose budgets won't quite stretch to the extravagance of the Carlton or the Lopez de Haro should head for the Casco Viejo old quarter. Here you'll find a good selection of cheap and cheerful hostals and pensions.

Many hostals these days have good facilities equal to if not surpassing some one and two star hotels. The new Hostal Central, for example, opened in 2001 and provides rooms with modem connection, private bathroom, air conditioning and central heating.

Pensions are more basic and you may well find yourself sharing a bathroom. You're likely to be greeted by an old Basque mama at the door and treated as if you were a guest of the family.

You won't find buffet breakfasts and hydrotherapy pools in a pension but you'll get clean and comfortable accommodation at an incredibly cheap price.

For students and backpackers there's a council run youth hostel Residencia Juvenil Bilbao Aterpetxea on Carretera Basurto Kastrexna.