Room Service: Palau de la Mar Valencia, Spain

Any suspicions that Spain's third city needs to do a bit of catching up to compete in the style stakes with Barcelona and Madrid are dispelled the moment you step on to the nose-to-tail cow-skin rugs of the Palau de la Mar's lobby. The city's newest boutique hotel, and the only one to boast five stars, the Palau de la Mar opened last year in what was once a pair of grand 19th-century palaces. It has lost nothing of the sedate grandeur - though now it is a very modern affair, painted all in white and decorated with abstract artwork and the odd standard lamp.

A fairy-tale double staircase curves up from the lobby to the main rooms in the original building. In what would have been the back courtyard, an extension has been built from slatted wood. Slightly Japanese in style, it houses more functional but still sensual rooms. All the guests share the calm outdoor space as well as two salons and a bibliotèque, which has a computer and coffee-table books.

A spa in the basement, with a sauna, steam room, plunge pool and gym, completes the hotel that aspires to be a place for the great, the good and the very rich, who will be flocking to the port city for the America's Cup in 2007.

LOCATION

Hospes Palau de la Mar, Navarro Reverter 14, 46004 Valencia (00 34 9631 62884; www.hospes. es). Just off Valencia's main shopping street, Calle Colon, it is also yards from the converted main market where you can drink coffee - or horchata, a milky drink made from tiger nuts - and people-watch from one of the many relaxed bars. Dotted around, too, are up-market shops and numerous restaurants and cafés.

Calle Colon is on the eastern edge of the compact town centre. It lies between the historic area with its cathedral, church tower, food market and impressive 15th-century silk-exchange building, and the Turia dry river bed where you can find the new City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia's new attraction designed by the city's favourite son, Santiago Calatrava.

Time from international airport: a taxi from the airport shouldn't take more than 20 minutes and will cost around €30 (£21).

COMFORTABLE?

The 66 rooms, with their dark wooden floors and white walls, are delightfully simple and spacious - though unpacking a few Louis Vuitton cases would stretch the storage space to its limits. There's no such stinting on the bathrooms. Hidden behind floor-to-ceiling sliding doors, they have double basins, a capacious bath and marble clean enough to eat your frittatas off.

Attention to detail with a determined lack of flourish extends to many aspects of the hotel. While the mini-bar is complimentary, in a city where €10 will buy you a good lunch, a desultory ham and cheese toastie sitting alone and naked on a room-service tray for the same price looks rather paltry and certainly doesn't reflect the culture of this distinctly foodie city.

Freebies: plentiful Korres products, specially packaged for Hospes hotels.

Keeping in touch: cordless phone and flat-screen television, but no radio or DVD player. Internet connection is free but, curiously for such a new hotel, not wireless.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Doubles start from €160 (£114) in low season and €210 (£150) in high; breakfast is €14 (£10).

I'm not paying that: the well-located two-star Hotel Venecia (00 34 963 524 267; www.hotelvenecia.com) has doubles from €64 (£45), excluding breakfast.

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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

    £25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager

    £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager required for ...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator

    £25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator A...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
    Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

    That's a bit rich

    The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
    Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference