Bayonne hotel help? Hotel Loustau?

Aug 23rd, 2006, 12:11 PM
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Bayonne hotel help? Hotel Loustau?

We will be flying from JFK into Bayonne/Biarritz in early October and would like to spend one night in Bayonne; or, rather, my friend would like to spend the night here while I would prefer Biarritz. Nevertheless, Bayonne it is, for one night. The hotel situation does not seem encouraging in this city, as per the TripAdvisor reviews. The Hotel Loustau seems to get less poor write-ups than other places. We would like to be centrally located; chocolate is our primary reason for visiting Bayonne. I would love to hear of personal experiences with the Loustau and any other hotels here. Many thanks!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2006, 04:35 PM
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Hi ekscrunchy,
Hope you get some personal feedback on either.
I can only offer you this:

We spent the day in Bayonne recently, pounding the museum and food trails (made lots of notes for you that I'm putting in my newly revised Pays Basque file-hope to put it on line in a few days).
While there I thought of your upcoming hotel choice, so I looked in at the Best Western Le Grand. Didn't see a room, but downstairs is fine, pleasant enough, and it has a dead central location, with everything so walk-able, and just a hop away from the chocolate store heaven of Rue de Port Neuf. In Grand Bayonne, this would be the ONLY place where I would stay-hotel options aren't charming here. it's where the matadors stay during the Fêtes.
My Le Pudlo guide says of it:
""les chambres de cet établissement du centre-ville sont toutes de bon confort"
It gets a thumbs up in my brand new Petit Futé guide too, but I haven't checked the tripadvisor reviews.

The Loustau looked fine but wouldn't be central for you unless you want to spend most of your time in the St. Esprit quarter. It's quite a loooongish walk down to and over the long bridge from Grand Bayonne, and St. Espirit doesn't have that much to offer except for the train station and the Izarra liqueur distillery (and remnants of the ancient Jewish quarter-synagogue/cemetery)
Of the Loustau Le Pudlo says: "cet établissement moderne sou sa façade XVIIIe propose des chambres fonctionnelles et une cuisine basque e bonne allure".

Hope someone can give you recent, first hand experience.
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Aug 23rd, 2006, 04:43 PM
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make that "cuisine basque de bonne allure"

But my favorite places to dine in Bayonne are the Auberge du Cheval Blanc (high end-one Michelin macaron- in Petit Bayonne), Le Bayonnais (moderate on quai in Petit Bayonne), Itsaski (casual on quai down from Les Halles in Grand Bayonne).
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Aug 24th, 2006, 09:27 AM
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Maribel thank you so much. It is a bit puzzling about the hotel situation; the BW LeGrand gets absolutely gruesome reviews on Tripadvisor. But based on what you wrote about the location, I will book a room here; it is only one night and location is most important to me for that short a length of stay. I will report back after I have booked.........this will be the last hotel I need to book for the trip; now I can turn my thoughts to eating!!!!

Here is a rough idea of the trip:

JFK-Paris-Biarritz...overnight Bayonne 1 night
Bayonne-SanSebastian..3 nights Hotel Niza
San Sebastian by train to Domme..7 nights rental house
Domme to Brive and train to Paris..6 nights on Ile St. Louis

I will post food questions on separate threads in a few days. Thanks ever so much, once again!

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Aug 24th, 2006, 12:29 PM
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Hi eks,
If it's just for one night.....
I would make sure to book their very BEST room, the Chambre Prestige, at the Le Grand, since it's reasonable during Oct.
www.bw-legrand.com
And if you don't like the first room they give you ,before settling in, ask for another. You'll be there after the festival so there should be plenty of empty rooms.

And as it absolutely goes without saying, don't take the hotel brk.!
Just walk over to #27 on your hotel street to Peltanche, or down the quai to the market, Halles Centrales, and have a great pastry at the Pâtisserie Mauriac stand there, or their shop at 23 rue Port- Nuef.

Bayonne may lack for hotels of charm (none), but it doesn't lack for fantastic pastries, hams, confitures, and above all else, chocolates!

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Aug 24th, 2006, 05:06 PM
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Thanks, Maribel. After I get the ok from my friend I will book the place with much trepidation. Did you read those Tripadvisor reviews? For one night it can't be all that horrible.....right?
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Aug 24th, 2006, 06:22 PM
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Yuck! I just now read the reviews-couldn't get much worse. I don't usually put that much faith into the Trip Advisor reviews because they can be so uneven, but the Le Grand does not get one single ringing endorsement.

Since you can't convince your friend to staying in gorgeous Biarritz.....
OK, I do not want you to have even one wretched night, despite the central location, I'm convinced.
Book the Loustau. I just asked my husband to estimate the walk. He says about 20-25 min. But... .He looked at our photos and has a picture of a little electric city bus (free-holds about 20 people), the navette, that takes you from the STAB bus station in St. Esprit to the center of Grand Bayonne.

Bless him for taking pictures of busses.
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Aug 24th, 2006, 06:46 PM
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Well, eks, that second Trip Advisor review of the Loustau doesn't give that much promise either. But it's a part of the Quality Hotel chain and the Lonely Planet and Rough Guide both recommend it.
Not many folks stay in rather sleepy, working class Bayonne because glamorous Biarritz is next door. But the city does have its own charm. My friends loved its genuine-ness. It doesn't get "prettied up" for the tourists. The 18th century whalers' mansions facing the river may have a weathered look, may need a fresh coat of paint, but from afar they make a very pretty picture. It is what it is, and it grows on you. It's far more Bordeaux than Biarritz.

I've been through all my guides, including the French ones. The only Bayonne hotel listed in the '06 red Michelin is the very modest Adour, a one gable, on the quai in the St. Espriti quarter (but noise is a problem ).
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Aug 25th, 2006, 09:18 AM
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Whew, Maribel..what to do? I don't like the idea of the 25 minute walk, even with the possibility of the bus. A quandary! Let me try to unearth some info on the Adour..... I see that this is near the train station on Pl. St Ursule....is that the general area of the Loustau as well?
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Aug 25th, 2006, 09:24 AM
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Answered my own questions..it appears that the Loustau and the Adour are close to the train station and not far from each other...the Adour appears to have 2 stars and looks, ...charismatic, we might say....
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Aug 25th, 2006, 09:30 AM
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Piggy backing here: which of the two towns is the airport in?
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Aug 25th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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Hi eks,
Charismatic perhaps, but basic (and my Michelin says noisy).
Yes, the Loustau and Ardour are in the same location, near the gare in St. Esprit but the Loustau is a step above.

This you'll find amusing:
The green Michelin lists the Loustau as the moderate choice and call Le Grand, "luxury".

Maybe your friend should make the choice here.
I personally would stay in beautiful Biarritz and take the STAB bus (takes btw. 15-20 min.) over to Bayonne (or split the cost of a taxi-about 15 euros). But it's not my trip, and I realize your friend wants to be in Bayonne!

The lousy reviews of Le Grand are over a yr. old. I'd go with my gut after looking at both hotel web sites.

For more Bayonne into:
www.bayonne-tourisme.com
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Aug 25th, 2006, 09:46 AM
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Thanks, Maribel! Just to complicate things a bit, here is another one that Cadogan likes although it looks a little bare bones for our first night in France after the plane rides...what do you think? Location is good. I have just realized that I need to be careful with choosing a place with an elevator since I will not be allowed to carry heavy things for a few months due to this recent surgery...

http://www.hotel-arceaux.com/photos.html#

I am going to make a strong case for Biarritz with my friend. I believe that chocolate has a very long history there as well as in Bayonne..that is her main reason for wanting to visit. Either Biarritz or take our chances with the Grand....
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Aug 25th, 2006, 12:04 PM
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eks,
Please make a very strong case to your friend about Biarritz. Chocolate abounds in Biarritz too! There are
Henriet
Saint Charles
Daranatz (on Marechal Foch, left side on way to Place Clemenceau)
Paries (kanougas)

plus the chocolate museum, plus the Henriet chocolate factory in Bassilour.....

The des Arceaux is only a 2 star, will probably be "quaint-charm". In Bayonne, that extra star makes a difference.
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Aug 26th, 2006, 08:15 PM
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hopingtotravel
The airport is in Biarritz....
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Aug 27th, 2006, 02:57 PM
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Airport info at
www.biarritz.aeroport.fr
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Aug 31st, 2006, 09:03 AM
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Dear Maribel,

Just wanted to follow up and let you know that I have booked two singles at the Grand in Bayonne...one point in the hotel's favor ws that they responded immediately to my availability request. I also asked them to book a table for dinner that evening (Oct 10)at Le Cheval Blanc. Good idea?
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Aug 31st, 2006, 09:35 AM
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Hi eks,
Great idea! The dinner reservation, that is! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you about Le Grand. It honestly did not look bad downstairs, but never, ever judge that book by its cover. But your consolation prize is that great dinner at Le Cheval Blanc, and chocolates, chocolates, chocolates.
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Aug 31st, 2006, 10:26 AM
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OOOOh, Maribel I am so excited! We will have one night in Bayonne, then take the train to Sanse and stay at the Niza for three nights....
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Sep 2nd, 2006, 11:45 AM
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ekscrunchy,
Speaking of chocolate....
If I recall correctly, you're ending your trip in Paris, no? If you'll be there from Oct. 28-Nov. 1 there's the chocolate show, an entire exhibit hall filled with chocolate in all shapes, sizes, flavors. Before the one in NYC starting on Nov. 10.
www.salonduchocolat.fr

Don't know if the 28€ menu at Le Cheval Blanc is available at dinner or just at lunch, but if it is, it's a great deal. And of course, it's a Michelin star, so it has a great wine list.
I know you're headed to Bordeaux.

When traveling around southern France we always order the wines of the region, vins du terroir, so in this neck of the woods it's AOC Irouléguy. We like the Domaine de Mignaberry red, the Argi d'ansa rosé and the Domaine Etienne Brana blanc. Brana also makes an unbelievably yummy eau-de-vie au cacao, that's an irresistible digestif.

In SanSe we drink the DO Getariako Txakolina , or the txakolí from the towns of Getaria, Zarautz and Aia.
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