The absolute best thing about looking upon Villa Arguibel is the juxtaposition between the classic Basque farmhouse on the outside and the neon eclectic decor on the inside. But I like it! There are 5 decadent rooms, a colorful open living space for all and the rolling sheep pastures in the back.
As long as it's done artfully and with respect, it can be quite nice to mix it up in a land rich with tradition. And somehow the bright colors meld so nicely with the green pasture and the nearby ocean blue. Guethary is primarily a surf town with a little touch of chic to throw off the barefoot vibe. It's not quite the glitz of Biarritz nor as quaint as St. Jean de Luz... it's somewhere in-between. Villa Arguibel is off the beaten path just enough that it feels that you're in the Basque countryside even though you're so close to the village, the delicious food and the laid back sensibility. The "guethappy" signs that hang around town say it all.
I appreciated the endless travel and design magazine collection, Luke loved the huge tv in the living room that was consistently airing the local bullfights and the Frenchman loved the hearty breakfast served on the patio....pain au chocolate, croissants, yogurt, fruit, fresh bread, jambon & fromage and importantly smooth french pressed coffee and hot chocolate for the kids.
If we stayed there again, we'd opt for a suite with a little more room but for this trip we were cozy in the "black room" with the Rolling Stones "Paint it Black" 45 tagged to the vintage radio. When I saw that, I knew it was meant to be our room. The entire villa made us comfortable. It's a fresh take on Basque living that was much appreciated by all of us.
food & libations: Arrantzaleak (basque seafood out of this world), gateau basque wherever you can get it
cool for kids: giant artisan chess board, the sound (bells) and sight of the sheep headed our way to graze, croissants for the taking
must visit: St. Jean Pied de Port... and all the other surrounding Basque villages