Rating: 4 out of 5.

The service staff at breakfast rubbed me the wrong way this morning. They assumed I needed coffee when I wanted something else, crashed plates onto our table as if we were in a diner, and after coming to our table with drink orders tersely asked who ordered what, all of which made for a none too positive start to the day. For a five-star property, it showed a lack of understanding that given the hotel’s price point is an unexpected, unwelcome surprise, and both yesterday’s foul weather continuing to linger today and the busy breakfast morning rush didn’t help the situation at all.


Afterwards we headed to Guernica after a rare, very late start – given our 2 a.m. return this morning from a very long night out in Getxo, recovery was slow and measured. With thanks to Anthony’s two friends, Ruel and Arnie, who are now Bilbao locals, we were able to go by car to see a town with a very sad recent history, made famous by artist Picasso. As I learned albeit late, the town of Guernica was bombed by German pilots on orders from Franco during the Spanish civil war, which the town still remembers by way of the melancholy Peace Museum. Worth a visit as well were Picasso’s Guernica mural done in tiles, the Basque Assembly Hall, and the town’s main square.


At some point it was already late afternoon which meant Spanish time for lunch, and upon suggestion from an employee at the Assembly Hall, we ended up at Julen Jatetxea that turned out to be a revelation. We each had a selection of three courses, wines, and bread, all for the incredible, princely, unheard of sum of €10 each. Amazing.


And the day wasn’t over yet.


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