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
  • 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

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss