“Stylish mansion makeover in Valencia's boutique shopping district of L'Eixample”
Despite having 48 double rooms in the original mansions and another 18 in a modern garden extension, Palau de la Mar feels like an intimate city hotel. There's never that pile-up of suitcases at reception (a discreet black desk by the sweeping hall stairs) and the lounge areas are calm and uncluttered. A soothing creamy beige-and-brown theme is consistent throughout, with camel-coloured sofas, gleaming chocolate-coloured floorboards and double beds piled high with crisp white Egyptian cotton. Rooms face either the street or the quieter garden courtyard.
The Dreamer's (standard) Rooms and the slightly larger Deluxe Rooms are airy and minimalist in style, with WiFi, plasma TVs, bathrobes, cordless phones, CD players and air conditioning. Those located around the central ground-floor patio are a little darker, however, and lack some privacy as they open out onto communal areas.
Some of the 5 spacious Junior suites have sloping ceilings with skylights above beds and retro free-standing tubs. The impressive Presidential Suite has 2 bedrooms, each with a queensize bed, plus a large living space.
Nice touches in all rooms include pillow menus, fresh-fruit energy drinks in the minibars and full-length mirrors - not all hotels remember how important these can be when dressing for a night out! Bathrooms have double sinks, baths, showers, bathrobes, slippers, hairdryers and Korres toiletries in funky test-tube bottles.
A buffet breakfast is set up each morning for guests in the hotel's Senzone restaurant on the ground floor - it's a good quality spread of cereals, fruits, meats and cheeses; hot dishes include yummy scrambled eggs with basil oil. If you find this too pricey head to a local café for the less expensive coffee and bocadillo option.
Senzone serves modern Mediterranean cuisine, with an imaginative twist on traditional Spanish fare, and is open to the public for lunch and dinner. Recommended is the 5-course menu degustación in the evenings; there's an excellent wine list too. Fresh fish and herbs from the courtyard garden are used to create unusual dishes like black squid-ink paella and cherry gazpacho.
Room service is available round the clock, and the trendy lounge and bar serves cocktails, coffee and tea, and innovative light meals (chilled soups poured from teapots, open sandwiches of manchego and chorizo, and tasty salads).
Children are welcome and extra beds and baby cots are available, however this smart city hotel may not be the best choice for families.
Teens (over 12)
The Presidential Suite has 2 double bedrooms, plus 2 sofabeds. The Junior Suite has a double room and a single sofabed.