Glamour Without The Price-Tag
Hospes Palau de la Mar (Valencia, Spain)
Member Name: nilo0901
Hospes Palau de la Mar (Valencia, Spain)
Advantages: Great value, clean, tastefully decorated, excellent location, friendly staff
Disadvantages: No tea and coffee making facilities, reception area small and limited seating, no pool
This hotel is situated smack bang in the centre of Valencia, Spain. It is about 10 minutes walk from the Valencia North railway station, 5 minutes from main shopping area including El Corte Ingles and a further 10 minutes walk from key attractions and the old town. We had read in many guide books that this was one of Valencia's best hotels and on the evidence of our one night stay it would be hard to question that.
The hotel itself is in a converted 19th century former palace building. The exterior is fairly simple but elegant and the inside boasts a glorious ornate doorway and staircase flanking either side of the lobby. The interior has been tastefully modernised and has a minimal but stylish feel. The reception itself is fairly small and the first thing we noticed was it was quite congested (we arrived at 3pm when check-in begins so there were quite a few people waiting also). There is a lack of seating and space generally so we found there could have been more thought and effort put into a waiting area, etc... but this was a minor flaw, and given the lack of space probably impossible anyway.
Alongside the lobby is a small bar with a handful of tables and chairs and a fully operational and manned bar serving an array of spirits, wines and draft beer. Beside that, and with it's own independent street entrance, the hotel restaurant. Behind the reception is an outdoor patio seating area that is something of a sun trap and entrance to the underground spa. All of which continue the theme of sparse but stylish, modern design and everything was immaculately clean.
We booked our room only the night before after an impromptu decision to visit the city. It was the beginning of July and we were very surprised to be able to get a great deal on a room for the time of year, albeit a Monday night. We booked a standard double for 105 euros for the night. I think the average is 135 Euros but this may increase to around 160 Euro for peak season. In all, we thought this was exceptionally good value for a 5 star hotel.
When we arrived we found that our booking was not on the system, probably because we had only booked late the night before. As a result, we were able to get an upgraded room as these were the only ones available. The room itself was very large and continued the simple but elegant theme of the hotel. The floors and wooden fixtures were all black and the walls white. The room had a desk and chair plus mini bar, flat screen tv and wardrobe space, although the latter could have done with being more spacious. The only thing really lacking were tea and coffee making facilities but this seems to be the case in many European hotels. The bed was kingsized and extremely comfortable with Egyptian cotton sheets and a choice of pillow if you wished.
The bathroom was exceptional and had a free standing, and incredibly deep, bath, 2 sinks and a separate toilet and shower room. The shower room itself was probably larger than most bathrooms in other hotels! The hotel uses Korres toiletaries which was also a lovely added bonus. As we're the soft bathrobes and slippers also provided.
Both room and bathroom were spotless and fresh.
We found staff to be very helpful and accommodating. As previously mentioned, our room was upgraded but they were also very useful when asked for dining suggestions and directions. Our baggage was take to our room by a very friendly and chatty gentleman who made us feel very welcome. They also provide a turndown service in the evening leaving a chocolate on your pillow when you return from dinner which we thought was a very nice touch.
We didn't eat in the actual restaurant as we were only there one night and wanted to explore the city but we did have a quick bite for lunch. The day menu was fairly limited and the same as the room service menu but what we ate was very good. We had beef burgers and although at 18 euros each they were quite expensive, they were enormous and the meat was of excellent quality, as we're the accompanying patatas fritas.
The hotel also offers spa facilities and treatments. Massage appointments were full for the day but we weren't keen to have one in any event. If you book through the hotels website directly then use of spa and gym facilities are complimentary. We looked at the spa but as it was a scorching hot day didn't fancy using it. Unfortunately it's situated in the basement of the building with no natural light. On a cold winters day this would be great but just didn't feel right while the sun blazes. It did look very pleasant though with a small gym, sauna and Turkish bath with waterfall and jets. The whole thing was done very tastefully but it's a shame they couldn't have a pool or similar outside where they have their seating area. If they had this, I might have given it 6 stars!
One other small grumble would be that breakfast was not included in the room price and from what I gather isn't include in any standard room price. It was an additional charge of 20 Euros per person which we though extraordinarily high so didn't bother investigating it further. We usually miss breakfast anyway but would have been good to have had the option.
Small issues aside, we found on the whole this hotel to be exceptionally good quality and value for money. Our nights stay was very comfortable and enjoyable.
Other key information:
Check in 3pm
Check out 12pm
Off street parking available (at a charge)
Summary: 5 Star luxury at an affordable price. Highly recommended.