Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Has anyone stayed at the casas rurales of nekatur.net, (in the Basque country), listed on maribelsguides

Has anyone stayed at the casas rurales of nekatur.net, (in the Basque country), listed on maribelsguides

May 6th, 2005, 04:25 PM
  #1  
rex
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
Has anyone stayed at the casas rurales of nekatur.net, (in the Basque country), listed on maribelsguides

They look so much like self-catering places where you would expect to rent the whole house - - and yet, the majority of them say "Rent the whole house? No"

So, they are presumably not run like hotels (a "front desk" for example), but is there a proprietor visiting daily? living there? are the kitchen and other public areas properly maintained? what about other guests that monopolize or make a mess? do guest typically interact? I am guessing that most would be from Spain, France, UK or Germany (just because those are the biggest, closest countries).

Any other opinions?

I'll actually be surprised if there are many replies to this one, at least any based on actual experience...

But thanks in advance for any inout of any kind - - even if you have, perhaps, just "considered" them (or stayed in similar accommodations from toprural.com)

Best wishes,

Rex
rex is offline  
May 7th, 2005, 05:59 AM
  #2  
rex
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
topping...
rex is offline  
May 7th, 2005, 06:56 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,229
Well, I just booked one in the Girona area and from the web-site and talking to the propriator I think it is what we would refer to as a b & B situation in other countries. They have 4 rooms only and offer breakfast. I am trying to recall, but I think when I was looking at the site I had a difficult time figuring out what the little different symbols of houses meant.
julies is offline  
May 7th, 2005, 06:57 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,229
Sorry just looked at your question about nekatur.net. I'd actually looked at those too when we were considering the Basque country (now saving it for another trip). I booked through top rural which I am quite sure is similar.
julies is offline  
May 8th, 2005, 12:02 PM
  #5  
rex
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
ttt...
rex is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 04:23 PM
  #6  
rex
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
Not sure if I should start a new thread (hoping to attract Maribel's attention) - - I generally prefer... strongly... the public nature of questions and answers here - - and so, I will ask this here before I send a private e-mail.

On another thread, I mentioned choosing the casa rural Garro - - and the location was (somewhat disparaged). I had chosen it strictly for its "appearance" (online).

But I like the looks of Txopebenta just about as much (in fact maybe better because of the close proximity to the seaside) - - and I guess its location would be better for our already-too-much-driving itinerary.

Anyone?
rex is offline  
May 10th, 2005, 05:44 AM
  #7  
rex
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
Shamelessly topping (again)... on another thread, Cova mentions Aristieta as a good alternative, and I do like how it looks. Anyone been there?

http://www.nekatur.net/catalogo.asp?idal=173#ficha
rex is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 02:27 PM
  #8  
rex
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
topping... still seeking anyone's actual prior experience...

Have others written directly to Maribel? I hate having to resort to that - - in fact, it seems that if she knew more about any other individual properties listed on nekatur - - she would have put it in the guide already anyhow!
rex is offline  
May 14th, 2005, 06:13 AM
  #9  
rex
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
One more attempt... even though I realize it is unlikely... anyone with any opinion, based on personal experience - - or even correspondence with Garro vs. Txopebenta vs. Aristieta?
rex is offline  
May 14th, 2005, 11:09 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
The three CR's mentioned offer rooms to rent. They are a B&B style lodging, not whole house rentals. No front desks, etc. The owners live in the houses and are there for the guest usually 24 hours a day. All offer a simple homemade breakfast for the guest.

Txopebenta (Gautegiz-Arteaga) is actually the original CR in the Basque Country and is very comfortable and the family is very nice. It is also the first one we stayed at in 2001.

Aristieta (Ajangiz) is also located in the Urdaibai reserve. It's rooms are a little larger and it is located closer to Gernika.

Garro (Munitibar) is inland, east of Gernika and more of a true country setting, a country farmhouse.

It may be a little difficult booking any of these places this late in the season, but Garro may be your best bet.
Robert2533 is offline  
May 14th, 2005, 01:47 PM
  #11  
rex
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
Thank you so very, very much Robert. So, they are what we are anticipating, and very much what we want. We are already rserved at Garro, but the wrteup of Txopebenta is so glowing - - and Cova recommended we consider Aristieta as analternative, that I was crossing my fingers that someone knew something beyond what is on the nekatur.net website.

I think we will stay wil Garro. I telephoned to make the reservation, and although I was prepared to do it in Spanish, his English was better than my Spanish. I thnk we ike the looks of the place, and I'm not feeling compelled to go trying for space at either of the others and cancel on the nice guy at Garro.

Nice to have your input.
rex is offline  
May 16th, 2005, 07:12 PM
  #12  
rex
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
For those of you who might have the same hesitation to write to [[email protected]]maribelsguides.com - - this follow-up: I did e-mail a copy of this thread, and got a nice, informative reply... (though not necessarily more detailed than Robert's, so I needn't really repeat aoy of it here)...

... and a request to provide some follow-up info on our stay at Garro.

Which I will gladly do, in the form of a trip report, when we get back.

And I am keeping in mind the comments (from someone) that others might like to hear thoughts about the trip from my wife, for comparison and contrast to my own observations.
rex is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 09:38 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 19
We are about to book a house (yes a whole house) for the summer in Comillas for our family through www.homelidays.com. It's also a CR, and this site shows many whole houses available.

Anyone know anything about homelidays? Advice on Comillas?
sdbeach is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 10:07 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,760
I hate this ttt or toping malarkey it sounds so disrespectful to other posters... sorry rex…

Anyway to answer your question Casa Rurals in Spain are usually broken into tow categories. Either the whole house or what you would know a B&B i.e. room only.
I usually book my accommodation though Toprural as their reviews are usually honest, but like any reviews you have to look below what is happening. I personally do not believe good reviews for houses that occur almost every week.
ribeirasacra is offline  
May 8th, 2009, 09:32 AM
  #15  
rex
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
I guess I don't mind apologizing for my "malarkey" - - but can I point out that it has lain dormant for the past four years, since the days when I initially posted it?

Was "sdbeach" wrong for adding a new question on to this thread rather than starting a new one?

If nothing else, it signals that there are not many people who can comment on the string of Casa Rurales, from personal experience.

Our ultimate selection - - http://www.nekatur.net/Alojamientos....ng=en-US&Id=46 (Garro) - - was mentioned in this section of a trip report that I posted here (also four years ago)... and cut and pasted here:

<< The casa rural which we had chosen from www.nekatur.net - - Garro - - was not that far away. We tried driving a little bit of the coast. The sun came out and rewarded us richly on the corniche from Zarautz to Getaria - - we actually drove it there and back and there again, trying to settle on a restaurant (less than 10 km each way), and finally found a little (unnamed?) place at the fishing harbor of Getaria. A first experience with grilled sardines (about four times the size of anything I have ever seen canned in America). More at www.geocities.com/rexbickers/MJ05trip-part5b.htm

So, then onward to casa Garro in the little upland town of Munitibar. Oh... and these are serious uplands. Very reminiscent of driving in the Sierra foothills from Sacramento towards Placerville, or from Auburn towards Reno (if you know that part of California).

Choosing a B&B like this inevitably means a test of asking, and getting directions, with no expectation of English spoken or understood. More than most, Garro required this of us, and yet, the town is small enough, that fortunately, I guess everyone knows the place, and we were directed successfully back the little unmarked road to their house.

The pictures on www.nekatur.net were accurate, and I really love this place. An excellent combination of stone and hundred(s)-years old exposed beams - - with just the right modernization (i.e., plumbing, electricity, good hot water!) - - and yet amazingly, right in the center of the bathroom is a great structural support beam of at least 10 x 10 inches!

Of course, a place like this is all about the personality of the homeowner(s). Evidently Sra Etxebarria Bilbao lives there with her husband and son (we learned a little more at breakfast the next day, from a Spanish guest who spoke excellent English) - - in any event, Sra seemed to run the “guest operations” entirely.

She wanted to know when we wanted breakfast when we arrived - - and I have to laugh now, thinking back at how this was not really a question. I asked, tentatively - - “temprano?” (early?) 8:30? - - and what I got was that two other guests wanted their breakfast at nine-thirty... “Nine?” I asked - - and her facial expression said it all. “Nueve y media”, I agreed - - and it was clearly what she wanted to hear.

Dinner meant going back into "town" and we weren't all that confident that we had seen anything even vaguely ressembliong a restaurant on our way "in" (towards casa Garro). But Sra told us how to get to Herriko Taberna and it was easy to find - - seemingly just a bar with futbol on the TV. I only tried a limited question - - Cena? (dinner?) - - dos personas? and the barkeep sorta shrugged his shoulders with a look on his face like "Now? at this hour?" (it was between 7:30 and 8 pm)...

But he disappeared into a doorway behind the bar and came back saying "Cinco minutos" or something like that and pointed to a (closed) door at the end of the bar. Sure enough, within a few minutes, we heard chairs moving and some other noises from behind the door. Next thing we knew, he motioned us to go in, where there were a half dozen tables and the lady of the house directed us to set at two place settings she had laid out, near the kitchen. She stood with hands folded, and I don't really how communicated as much as we did by way of my pidgin Spanish. I suspect that there is never a printed menu here; as best as I could gather, she was prepared to offer us three choices: merluza (a fish, I recognized that) - - frito, or en salsa, bacallao (salt cod) and "txixarrones" (sp?) in "tinto". I took a stab that this might be squid in its own ink, and asked "Como pequenos polpos?" (a word I was pretty sure I knew - - octopus), and she nodded in agreement. I had never tried anything like this before - - but what the heck...

To make this (already too) long story short(er), it tasted great; it was indeed as black as shoe polish, and the "sauce" was buttery rich. It was accompanied by a half-full bottle of Rioja red, which was her answer to my request for "by the glass".

At the end of dinner, mostly because I thought it might be a typical custom, I asked for sherry (Jerez?) - - and once again - - got a bit of a stare. They eventually brought out an unopened dusty bottle of Tio Pepe, trying to determine if this was what I wanted. But rather than open it, our hostess insisted on bringing out a bottle of "home-made" (casera) which she called "Pacharron". She could tell that I was curious as to what we were sampling - - raisiny sweet and a very deep amber color - - and so she brought out a bottle with a label on it, indicating that this could be bought in stores, but it was not good like hers. Pouring me a little taste, it was indeed about half the color and half the intensity. Its label showed some blue-purple berries (which may be part of the taste of this spirit) - - I have so far found only one reference on google which indicates that these may be sloe berries. In any case, I made her smile by indicating that the store-bought brand tasted "como con agua".

With nothing to do after dinner in this town, and still a full hour of daylight left (at 9:15 pm), we decided to make the 18 km drive to Lekeito, on the coast. In general, the geography, was more of the same, except downhill, toward the sea. Yet the notable sights were the little, but very perceptible signs of Basque pride/separatism.

Our breakfast at Garro was a lively affair. Sra had knocked herself out with fresh fruit, fresh baking, juice and coffee. It was a family style ordeal - - her other two guests, from Belgium, and a "semi-permanent" guest who was staying there as a hired hand while working on a documentary (film) of fading Basque traditions. We traded e-mail addresses; who knows, perhaps we will see his film someday (he said he had a real contract with BBC films America, so I hope he is successful).

Our drive onward to Bilbao took us over/upon the "Balcon de Bizkaia" with spectacular scenic vistas, but all in all the trip was well under an hour. >>
rex is offline  
May 8th, 2009, 10:00 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,453
Hi rex,
I really enjoyed your description of this casa rural when you posted your trip report back then, and I've enjoyed it now once again.

If you do get back some time to this beautiful area, the Urdaibai, east of Bilbao, there are a couple of new houses I can personally recommend very highly-the Onxene, where we happily stayed last summer (just extremely comfortable with tremendous views) and the newer Lur-Deia where we'll be this year. Both are in Busturia, north of Gernika and where you stayed.

sdbeach,
I left a note for you on the "Back from Madrid, Segovia and Toledo" thread. If you don't mind starting a new thread with the heading Comillas, I'll be glad to offer my advice about a rental there. But I don't want to post it here since it doesn't pertain to the nekatur properties of the Basque Country.
Maribel is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:32 AM.