Wednesday, 6 August 2014


Suite Andres Isasi
Andrés Isasi

Arriaga Suites, Bilbao
Arriaga Suites, hall

Guggenheim behind us, we were soon to pass yet another icionic monster. This time, we could see La Catedral - the new Athlétic de Bilbao Football Club's new stadium - invaded by cranes, bulldozers, cement mixers, and other construction equipment as it undergoes its last phase to be ready in time for the coming season.

The bus station was just around the corner.

Oh-oh. They said it was easy. I wasn't so sure, by the looks of it. I got the impression that finding the tram would be more of a problem than finding the bus at the airport. So, I decided to ask the bus driver. He seemed a bit hesitant to explain how to get there! Anyway, he tried. The tram stop's on the other side of the building that's at the back of the station. 

Basically, as the bus comes in, you'll have to get off the bus and turn left. Go down the steps or escalators, follow the signs to EuskoTren, which will lead you up another escalator. Go up here. You'll see the stop. If you don't see it, you've gone the wrong way.

On retrospect, when I came back to the station, it didn't seem that difficult! Just go down a ramp, and the tram stop's there, depending on which direction you're headed. Look at the tram route map in Links. The driver might have sent me on a roundabout way.

The idea, initially, was to get a Barik card, but it wasn't available. Apparently, they're only available in the metro stations. so we bought tickets. €1.50 to Arriaga. You'd want to catch the tram going in the direction of Atxuri. The Suites were really close to the stop. Get out of the tram, turn left and then right and they're there, on your left. 

There are six rooms (5 "suites" and a double room), all of them on the 1st floor. The accomodation take its name from Juan Crisóstomo Jacobo Antonio de Arriaga y Balzola, a child prodigy and an accomplished composer, dubbed "the Spanish Mozart", and each of the rooms is assigned a Spanish musician's name.

As soon as you walked in through the door, you'll get good vibes. I did. As you walk up the stairs and enter the hallway, this feeling intensifies. Design is fresh and vibrant, without being sickly. Simple and elegant.

We were allocated Andrés Isasi. The French windows lead to a pedestrianised street, although vehicles, especially road cleaners, do pass by. It can get a little noisy, from people and from vehicles; it's not that far from Erribera Street either. However, close the windows and the sound is practically sealed off.

So, good points are:

  • fab location, minutes from Casco Viejo and about 20 minutes from Guggenheim, depending on your pace. You can walk to all the main points of interest from here. Tram and metro stops are just around the corner.
  • value for money, even in summer.
  • clean. Daily cleaning service is provided, although we didn't get it on one day, but it could be because we didn't leave the room until the afternoon.
  • smart, cheerful, arty design.
  • abundant power sockets.
  • necessities (shampoo, shower gel, toilet paper, hand soap) are provided.
The not so good:
  • small. With the sofa bed opened up, little room is available, especially if the table is pulled out. It's fixed to the wall, which is rather unfortunate. Between the table and the pulled-out sofa bed, a slim person can walk through. Sideways. In any case, it's almost impossible to get space at burget prices if you're 3 or more guests.
  • Wifi is not very fast.
  • Although a fridge and a microwave is available, a kettle would be handy. It's not expensive to include one in the room.
  • No reception. If you need attention, you'll have to ring them. The staff live nearby apparently.
  • Mattress too soft. (A permanent complaint of mine everywhere I stay, so take no notice of it" ;) )
Will I return?

  •  A resounding YES! Thanks to Claire for telling me about them.
Extra useful information:

  • If you need to go out for breakfast, Bizvete Café in Plaza Santiago is a minute's walk away. They serve tea/coffee with your choice of milk - skimmed, soya, lactose-free... Decent prices too. Walk out of the suites, turn left, a minute later, you'll see the café on your right. There are a few others here, too. Better than walking out to the main road (Erribera Street).
  • If you're going to the bus station, take the tram heading towards La Casilla. Walk out of the suites, turn right. Hitting Erribera Street, turn left. Cross the road. You'll want the tram heading right as you face the river, ie, towards Guggenheim.

Any questions, just post them in the forum!