Hotel Melia Bilbao
What We Love
- Panoramic city views from premium terrace rooms
- Indoor-outdoor pool offers the best of both worlds
- Live music and tapas in the trendy Q Bar
- The Aizian restaurant serves Basque cuisine with a modern twist
What To Know
- This is primarily a hotel for business travelers, not a resort property. That said, it is adequate for short leisure breaks or overnight stays for families
- Family Rooms may feel a bit snug for four at 301 square feet
- The pool is not big enough for serious swimmers
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
If you like modern architecture, you’ll appreciate Melia Bilbao’s sleek good looks. For those who don’t, the hotel’s sense of style may convert you. Designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, the blocky building echoes the industrial heritage of the former docklands district it sits in. Inside, the public areas mirror the ochre of the exterior, with clean, sharp lines and jumbo windows.
Bed and Bath
In the guestrooms, red cedar veneer and earthy tones set off dazzling white bed linens atop ultra-comfortable DreaMax beds. At 301 square feet, Family Rooms, configured for sleeping two adults and two children, may feel a little snug; Premium Rooms are a bit smaller but have terraces with panoramic views. Bathrooms have showers and full-size tubs and are decorated in pale, woody colors; amenities include fluffy Napoles robes and Melia toiletries (or, in the Suites, the upscale Tous brand). All rooms have WiFi and a minibar (charges apply for the latter). In the Suites you’ll find Nespresso machines and hydromassage bathtubs, and the Grand Suites have a separate lounge area with a second bath.
The Aizian restaurant, where chef Jose Miguel Olazabalaga serves fine Basque cuisine with a modern twist, is reason enough to stay here. The tasting menu is a perfect introduction to the region’s unique dishes, but for those with less time to spare there is a good-value à la carte menu. Q4, the hotel’s bright and airy atrium eatery, has a menu full of savory pintxos (the Basque take on tapas) as well as set menus for adults and children. The purple-lit Q Lounge also serves pintxos — Basques rarely drink without snacking — and is a favorite spot for smart young locals to enjoy live music and after-work cocktails. A semi-covered heated pool shares the sixth floor with a naturally lit gym (with a treadmill, a cross-trainer, an exercise bike, multifunctional resistance machines and free weights) and the Barea spa, which offers treatments and massages including a signature massage combining Thai, traditional and shiatsu techniques.
In the Area
The Guggenheim Museum, which transformed the city into a world-class hub for art and architecture, is less than a 10-minute walk from the hotel, and the atmospheric Casco Viejo (old quarter) is a five-minute stroll away. Bilbao’s other big attraction is Basque cuisine, which you can savor at Daniel Garcia’s much admired Zortziko. At Gatz and Victor Montes, taste pintxos such as chili bacalao balls washed down with a glass of txakoli, a fizzy dry white wine from the Basque region. Looking for a breath of sea air? Head for the beaches of Arrietara-Atxabibil, Barinatxe or Menakoz.
How to Get There
Stayed for 2 nights, bed was comfortable and everything in the room worked ok and there was a good view, although decor tired. Restaurant was very minimalist and unwelcoming. Bar was passable. Swimming pool was out of order when we were there. Staff handled check in and check out reasonably well but no friendly vibes.
Let me tell you the good bits first! The Hotel is an imposing building with a vast atrium and an excellent location. It's reasonably priced and easily accessible, with a tram stop just a couple of hundred metres from the front door. It's next door to a beautiful park and has lovely views from the room.
However; There are stairs to the front door, but no bagman to help with the luggage, although I did subsequently find a recessed wheelchair elevator. The room was reasonably sized, if a little faded. I decided to take a shower - picture the scene, I'm in my naughty naked nude, about to shower and there is no shower cap. I'll take a bath instead, but there's no bath soap. I'll need to get out of the bath and reach two metres to the soap dispenser on the wall. There's a notice stuck to the wall which says, to the effect, "we care about your needs - contact us". I would need to dress again to get service, but the single Bath Robe is in use by my wife! ...and there's no slippers. In the process, I've broken a nail, but there's no nail file. There's no face cloths, no trouser press, no tea/coffee maker, no complimentary water. In fact there isn't ever still water in the fridge for purchase!
The breakfast buffet offered good choice, but was badly serviced. On the Saturday morning it looked like a scene from the Texas Chain-Saw Massacre!
Guys.... a five star hotel this is not!!
.............and by the way, don't bother bringing swimming togs; the pool is closed for repair until further notice!!
We stayed at the Amelia for three nights. The staff was very pleasant and helpful. Their breakfast was expansive although could be a little rushed in the morning. Our room was quiet large with a wonderful view and had blackout shades that fullly covered the windows which is always a nice touch.
The hotel is a little removed from the center of the city. We do like walking so this was not an issue. You will have to take a cab to the old part of town if you are in a rush or issues with walking.
Otherwise, the hotel sits between the water and a beautiful park which I used for part of my run.
The only issue we had was on Sunday night of our stay. He weather was terrible so we decided to stay in and eat dinner along with a lot of other people. The kitchen and service were completely overwhelmed and it took over an hour to get a hamburger and a poke bowl. I assume the service would not be bad when the weather is nice.
My wife and I stayed at the Melia Bilbao for two nights on a couple's vacation. We had reserved a junior suite, but were upgraded to an executive suite for our stay. Our room was a was a corner unit with a king bed bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms, and a living room having a couch, arm chair, desk with a chair, and table with four chairs. It overlooked the Doña Casilda Iturrizar Park, providing a wonderful view, although the benefit of the view was marred a bit by the sound of dogs barking until late at night.
The hotel is well situated, being just a ten to 15 minute walk from the Guggenheim Museum. It’s also right on the tram line, which can take you within a five-minute walk to any of the city’s prime destinations.
The breakfast buffet was among the best if not the best we’ve experienced. It included a wide assortment of meats, fish, eggs, breads, cereals, dairy, juices, and fruits.
Took the airport bus into the city centre (EUR3), got off on the main street from where the hotel was just a short walk away in a good location on the riverfront. Nice reception area with open lobby and glass elevators. Rooms were spacious, clean and very comfortable. Large bathroom with shower and bath tub. Nice toiletries but they are attached to the wall at the sink and in the shower so it was difficult to use these in the bath We only discovered after checking in that the hotel pool is closed for refurb - this is on the website but you have to go looking for the notice - it could be more noticeable. Rooms had a mini bar but no tea/coffee facilities? We didn't use the bar or restaurant as we were only there for one night and wanted to get out and see Bilbao. Locally we did note that a lot of places aren't open on Sunday and others close in the afternoon for siesta. Also it was difficult to find places that have menu's in English, but this helped us attempt to use the bit of Spanish we have. Overall we had a good stay.