Dare I say it: I loved Bilbao, probably more than San Sebastian. Sure, even in the summertime the weather can be quite unpredictable (I had my umbrella with me at all times) and chilly, but I'm fairly used to these things after living in Galicia (and Chicago!).
My stay at Hotel Carlton made my visit to Bilbao all the more enjoyable. The hotel is situated directly in the center of town and is a comfortable walk from the Guggenheim Museum, as well as the "old" part of the city. Upon checking into the hotel (and without even asking!), the concierge gave me a thorough description of the area, described highlights and key attractions in Bilbao, and advised me to take my camera on a clear day and head to the Mirador de Artxanda. I heeded his advice and after a sharp, uphill climb, was presented with one of the most beautiful views of the center of Bilbao and its prominent architecture, the surrounding mountains, and the river. Throughout my entire stay, the service was polite and friendly - I was always presented with a "Buenos Dias" when leaving for coffee in the morning and a "Buenas Noches" when finally arriving back to the hotel after an evening of pintxos bar crawling.
The room itself was comfortable and clean with in-room wi-fi. I also made use of the small fitness center in the building, which surprisingly enough, had ample cardio and weight equipment. It was definitely one of the nicer hotel gyms that I've made use of in Europe.
Most of the guests of the hotel appeared to be on business, judging by how many of them were in suits, speaking English, and having the front desk call for taxis to take them here-there-everywhere, but given the affordable pricing of the hotel (under 70 euro a night) and the key location, Hotel Carlton is a wonderful place for tourists and vacationers to stay as well.
This user has arrived from Qype, a European company acquired by Yelp in 2012. We have integrated the two sites to bring you one great local experience.