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Palau de la Mar, Valencia 

14–16 Calle Navarro Reverter
Spain 46004
Tel: 34 96 316 2884
view web site ›'s insider take:

At long last, Valencia has a real luxury boutique hotel to call its own. The Palau de la Mar occupies two handsome late-19th-century palacetes (town houses) just off Plaza Porta de la Mar, on the eastern edge of the historic center. The 66 rooms are cool Zen refuges: spacious and airy, with unadorned white walls, recessed lighting, dark hardwood floors, and streamlined modern furniture. All have cordless phones, plasma TVs, and free high-speed Internet access. If you want a view of the street, or a room overlooking the inner courtyard with its beds of bonsai-style shrubs, ask when you book (a few of the top-floor rooms have no view at all). Public spaces are beautiful, with white vaulted ceilings and archways, and cream-and-chocolate furnishings; the spa area has gym equipment, a Jacuzzi, and Turkish baths.

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Located in a bourgeois residential district on the edge of the old town, this 66-room hotel was created from an elegant nineteenth-century town house to which a substantial modern annex has been added. Despite its classical façade, the Palau's visual signature is monastic minimalism—the library, lounge, restaurant, and reception area are all hidden from view off a stone-paved central staircase with elaborately carved wooden railings. Upstairs, rooms are spacious, stark, and comfortable, with black-stained plank floors, built-in furniture, oyster-gray walls, and large marble-accented baths with deep tubs and separate showers. There's also a sun terrace, a pool, and a fitness center, as well as a restaurant that serves contemporary Spanish cuisine.—2005 Hot List

When to go: Mid-March, during the city's annual fallas, a weeklong frenzy of parades and parties.

Which room to book: Fifth-floor junior suites, for their spaciousness and shaded skylights

Amenities: Bar/lounge, Gym, Pool, 24-hour Room Service

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