Advantages Well located, lovely breakfast, super fast wifi, balconies!
Disadvantages Standard rooms on the small side of ok
Our second Bilbao hotel was the Petit Palace Arana, located in the old town. We arrived about 1pm as we were already in town and were fully expecting to simply drop off our bags and come back later, so it was a pleasant surprise to find our room ready and waiting for us. After a slight hiccup checking in (they said we were room only...I had a receipt that proved otherwise) we were given instructions on how to get to our room. Housed in a beautiful converted old building, you have to make allowances for things like lifts that don't serve all floors. In this case, there is one to take you from ground to first, and another, a little way along the corridor, which will take you up to all other floors. Similarly there are two staircases, one through the centre of the building which only goes down as far as the first floor landing, and another that will take you from there down to reception.Our room was on the 3rd floor. It seemed a little smaller than the one we'd just left but good use was made of the space and nothing seemed missing. The twin beds were pushed together which helped save on floor space, and each had a bedside table and a lamp though one of these didn't work. For a 'High Tech Hotel' (it's part of the chain of the same name) it looked like it might be stumbling at the first hurdle. Luckily, this was the only issue we had and everything else functioned beautifully. We didn't really need the lights, anyway, because in place of windows our room had balconies - yes, balconies, plural. We had two off the bedroom, and another off the bathroom (for a little al fresco air drying, perhaps?) This was a real treat as the hotel has an excellent location in the old town and from our various balcónes we could gaze down into the bustling narrow streets, or look left onto the river curving through the city towards the Guggenheim. Not really balcony weather in March? Not a problem, as one of the balconies was glassed in and got nicely warm like a greenhouse in the sun.
Back in the room, and we also had a flat screen TV which was out of necessity as much as design: a deeper one wouldn't really have fitted unless they'd carved a hole in the wall to embed it in. The channel selection was a little better than at our previous hotel, a sort of Cable Plus if you will. We still didn't have pay per view movies or porn, but there were a few more international channels for those wanting to practice their French or Russian.We had a desk/table with two chairs - one more than in the previous hotel. Sitting both the room occupants at once was another design win, as there wasn't much room to manoeuvre around this table when the seats were occupied, unless you wanted to roll across the beds ninja style. We had a faux-wardrobe and shelving to one side which included a fully mirrored door (another space saving technique that helped make the room look bigger too). The wardrobe included a safe that you open and shut with a credit card rather than a silly code, and was big enough for a laptop.
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Set in an impressive 19th-century building, this modern hotel is situated 200 metres from the Santiago Cathedral in Bilbao. It offers free Wi-Fi...
Shipping: refer to website
Availability: Price is per double room per night and may vary depending on date booked