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.
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- Also Known As:
- Castillo De Arteaga Spain/Gautegiz Arteaga