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“An oxymoron -a disappointing delight”

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Castillo de Arteaga
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 15, 2014

We planned out visit to the Basque area to include a two night stay at the Castillo. As a member of the Relais et Chateaux we anticipated a pampered stay that failed to occur.

The hotel is located in a small town outside of Gernika. The castle is in excellent condition: modern and beautifully decorated. There is a lovely courtyard that's spotted with small tables and chairs. The hotel has a small elevator (having stayed in other hotel/castle we've learned that this isn't always the case), although you need to use the stairs for the last flight to the roof top. The roof top offers a beautiful view, and like the courtyard is set-up with tables and chairs.

We had a standard room, which was large and comfortable. it was nicely decorated and bed linens were of fine quality. The A/C worked well (we visited in June, so we weren't tested by mid-summer heat). The bathroom was furnished with a nice tub/shower and other modern fixtures including a hair dryer. Comfy robes and slippers were available, and appreciated.

Our disappointment was due to a reduced level of service from what you would expect from a Relais et Chateaux hotel. The staff was friendly and helpful, but simply there wasn't enough staff to provide acceptable attention. For example, the courtyard was set up for visitors but it wasn't staffed. We had to go inside the restaurant and search for someone to get us a drink. The drinks were poured and handed to us to carry out to the courtyard. (Perhaps we're just being %^&* but having stayed many, many times at a Relais we didn't expect that we would wait our own table!) Sadly we learned this wasn't an exception - no one came out to see if we needed anything and we had to return to the restaurant with glass in hand for another drink. At this point the drink was poured into our used glasses and again we carried out our drinks. Later a wait staff came out to the courtyard with cushions for our metal chairs. Evidently another couple sitting in the courtyard had to ask if there were any, as they found the bare metal chair uncomfortable. Why they weren't in place to begin with is unknown.
One more example there wasn't an evening turn-down service. Our bathroom lacked towel racks or hooks to place damp towels (there was just a shelf for the clean, unused towels). So after dinner we returned to our room with damp/wet towel to use again in the morning.

We enjoyed our dinner but did not find it to be extraordinary. As a Relais restaurant we anticipated a sommelier to assist with wine selection, but there was none.

The next day we did enjoy a large, and fresh breakfast.

Ok - so at this point your thinking we're unreasonable...but I think people usually choose to pay for a Relaiswith the expectation of first class service. I want to stress that the staff was friendly and helpful. I believe that with additional training and a staffing level adjustment the Castillo would be able to offer the first class service that is the hallmark of a Relais et Chateaux hotel.

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank betsyg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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28 - 34 of 167 reviews

Reviewed March 28, 2014

Had three wonderful nights at the castle to celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary. The castle is just superb and the room we had in the tower was stately. The staff were very hospitable and the service top class. We were treated like a king and queen. The food was better than winning professional Masterchef food we have eaten in the UK. Our only disappointment was having to leave the castle! Would definitely recommend for a romantic getaway! Just superb.

Room Tip: We stayed in the tower, with fantastic views and beautiful decor.
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Bosail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2014

It should almost be enough to say that this 8th Century castle complete with a moat and ramparts is a delightful step back into time. But it is more than that.. It is a modernized version of paradise set in a wooded area where quiet and personalized service is taken to the nth degree to make you feel like a king and queen. My wife and I stayed here over the Christmas holidays and we we whisked away into a fantasyland of stone walls, a huge room with antiques, a tower that is reached by climbing circular staircase, and views of the countryside that are riveting. This is Relais Chateau with an unbelievably luxurious breakfast and a staff that are there to make very one of your wishes a reality. The location is a bit removed from any major town so yopu have to make your own adventures at night. But this isa place to escape the usual bustle and freneticism that mark many vacations. i would go back here over and over--just grant me that wish. It is a relays to remember forever.

Room Tip: any room here would be great, but ask for one in a tower
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank edward k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2013

We stayed one night at Castillo de Arteaga on our way between Bilbao and San Sebastian. Our room was the top floor of one of the towers with a sun deck overlooking the nature reserve next door. The staff were friendly, the restaurant was good but far from the best in the area.

Room Tip: From the top floor of the tower we could hear everything happening on the bottom floor room. Everyth...
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank ToTheLastGrain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2013

There is no hotel like this anywhere. This isn’t like most castles/chateaus, where once you are inside, it’s just another nice space. You are in a castle, even when you are in your room, you know it. Stay in one of the turrets with private roof decks, it’s only a small splurge.

Friendly staff. Comfortable beds/linens, good showers. Breakfast was included and was very nice (they charge for hot items, which most people don’t need). Restaurant was very good, we ate there every night, there is a very reasonable prix fixe (40 euros p.p.). Portion size was large, we ate too much (but that’s our fault, not theirs).

All for around 200 euros a night.

Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank ensco3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2013

We just returned from a 2 week driving vacation through Northern Spain and a bit of southern France. Our 3 night stay at Castillo de Arteaga was a highlight on a trip filled with wonderful experiences.
The property consists of several rooms in the main keep (which also houses the restaurants, reception and library) and additional rooms in each of the 4 circular guard towers. The entire property is enclosed by a 20 foot wall, creating an idyllic inner courtyard. The staff is small so you get to know them all. They could not be more helpful and accommodating.
There is not much to do in the town, but the reception staff gave us wonderful ideas for sightseeing and there is much more in the area than you would expect. The rugged coastline of the Bay of Biscay is dotted with charming towns. Bilbao is 35-45 minutes away and well worth a visit even if you are not a fan of modern art. Also nearby are a prehistoric cave, the painted forest of Oma, Gernika and several wide sandy beaches (but those were VERY crowded).
The best part of the hotel is the roof deck. Our room was on the top floor of the keep and the roof deck was right upstairs. We were usually the only people there. The vistas are breathtaking and we spent many hours relaxing up there.
We travelled with our 2 children (ages 11 and 14) and both loved this hotel experience as much as the adults.

Room Tip: We had the only designated "family room," a duplex with a king bed downstairs and 2 twin...
  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank SusanNYC63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 6, 2013

It isn't easy to find, but when you drive up to the Castle, you won't believe you get to stay there. Our room was in one of the corner towers and included a spiral staircase to a private roof-deck. Spend some time walking around the area. There is a bird blind down a path past a pasture of sheep that is a quick walk. A visit here is elegant, comfortable and delicious - and a step out of time.

Room Tip: Loved the tower rooms, but curved stone walls are a bit chilly. This experience teaches demonstrate...
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Lisa F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Castillo de Arteaga

Address: Kalea Gaztelubide 7, 48314 Gautegiz Arteaga, Spain
Location: Spain > Basque Country > Province of Vizcaya > Gautegiz Arteaga
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gautegiz Arteaga
Price Range: $195 - $237 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Castillo de Arteaga 4*
Number of rooms: 13
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Also Known As:
Castillo De Arteaga Spain/Gautegiz Arteaga

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