Hotel Of The Week: Hospes Palau de la Mar, Valencia

Cool, sleek, inviting and oh so laid back. That's the Hospes Palau de la Mar in Valencia. It's a former aristocratic townhouse restored in keeping with the Spanish city's regeneration

I was proof that ladies more than perspire. In the 35C heat I was desperate to find somewhere with air conditioning. But all the savvy Valencianos had gone home for a siesta. I stepped into the Palau de la Mar where everything was cool, from the dazzling white walls that curve into the yawning arches of the ceiling, to the smart staff that appeared from nowhere to assist with carrying bags.

Occupying a pair of 19th-century listed buildings, the hotel encapsulates Valencia's recent regeneration. Inside, the Palau retains the ambience of the graceful townhouse in which it stands, the decor taking inspiration both from its history as a former aristocratic home and from its surroundings.

First, the light: drenched by the sun for most of the year, Valencia is also illuminated by festivals such as the explosive Fiesta de San Juan summer solstice celebrations, reflected in the hotel's gaping windows and bright white interior.

Second, the sea: the hotel's name translates as Palace of the Sea and the city will also host the America's Cup this summer, so a scaled-down replica yacht of the Alinghi team takes centre stage in the lobby.

Last, the dark wood used throughout and the lush courtyard garden are nods to the region's fecundity: Valencia still enjoys its legacy as the garden of Spain. Original features such as the grand lobby, colossal wooden front doors and carved staircase preserve the history.

The location

In the gentrified Eixample Noble district, a short walk from the trendy bars and restaurants in the labyrinthine old town. The impressive Modernista train station is about 10 minutes' walk and the main shops of Calle de Colon are even closer. The lush gardens that have reclaimed the drained riverbed of the Turia are at the end of the road.

The comfort factor

Besides the cloud-like beds, draped with Egyptian cotton and bolstered by an array of soft and squishy pillows (there's a menu if they aren't to your liking), there's also a moody black-slate spa to unwind in with a small hydrotherapy lap pool, sauna and steam room. Four treatment rooms based on each of the elements surround the central courtyard. The 66 rooms also feature plasma-screen TVs with satellite channels and cordless phones and there is complimentary internet in the library.

The bathroom

Take an empty washbag. The bathroom is stocked with a generous supply of Korres Natural Products, from vials of shampoos and shower gels, to a lip balm, deodorant and a chic wooden comb. The goodies only temporarily divert attention from the smart white marble bathrooms, offset by dark wood and shallow tray sinks - accessed from the bedroom via a Japanese-style sliding wooden door.

The food and drink

At the restaurant, Senzone, breakfast is an art. Delicate slithers of pata negra ham, tiny pastries, mosaics of fruit and jugs of sweet Valencian orange juice adorn the buffet table, and scrambled eggs come zig-zagged with basil oil. During the evening it serves modern Spanish fare, using local produce including herbs from the courtyard garden to create dishes such as cherry gazpacho.

The people

Despite the design, the hotel is laid back and attracts wealthy weekenders (this is the boutique hotel in Valencia), families, business travellers and the odd celebrity. (David Beckham is rumoured to stay when in town.) The honchos of the America's Cup will also take over the hotel.

The area

Less kooky than Barcelona but just as vibrant, there's plenty to keep visitors occupied, from the charismatic Barrio del Carmen in the old town to the futuristic architecture of the City of Arts and Science. It's also the home of paella: work your way around the specialist restaurants sampling the variations from the traditional (snail and rabbit) to the modern (seafood), then wash it down with a glass of horchata (a dubiously refreshing drink made from tigernuts) in the Modernista food market.

The access

The nature of the building means that access for guests with disabilities is difficult and there are no specially designed rooms, although there is lift access to all floors.

The damage

Doubles start at €193 (£138), room only. Breakfast costs €16 (£11.50).

The address

Hospes Palau de la Mar, Navarro Reverter 14, Valencia, Spain (00 34 963 162 884; hospes.es).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: MI Developer

    £35 - 45k: Guru Careers: An MI Developer is needed to join the leading provide...

    Recruitment Genius: Fitness Manager

    £20000 - £22500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leisure organisation manag...

    Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Manager

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Delivering an inspiring, engagi...

    Recruitment Genius: Learning Team Administrator

    £17500 - £20500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for a great te...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions