One of the hotels I’ve stayed in this week is the Caro in Valencia. I was in room 15, one wall of which is a vestige of a 12th-century tower that was part of the Moorish wall which surrounded Valencia. There is even a discreet plaque explaining what it is. But there isn’t anything remotely museumy about the room, which is vast, with the bed on a mezzanine level under a pitched ceiling with 19th-century beams.
The bathroom is open plan – well, the bath and washbasins are part of the main space; the loo has a door and the shower is only visible if you’re lying in the bath. Toiletries are by Bulgari – shampoo, shower gel and body lotion – with a nice citrussy scent, and there’s a salon-style hairdryer. Francesc Rifé, a renowned designer from Barcelona, has gone for neutral tones for just about everything, with all the emphasis on the original features.
It’s a good room for working as there’s a desk and fast, free wifi with no password or faffing about to get online. The bed is really comfortable, and my only gripe is that the bedside lamps are too dim for reading. Apparently they are adjustable, but unfortunately I am too dim to work out how.The hotel occupies the elegant Palacio del Marqués de Caro, which was built in the 15th century but had been substantially altered and extended over the following 500 years.
As soon as renovation work began to turn the building into the hotel, all sorts of archaeological remains started to appear, including fragments of a Roman mosaic dating back to 2 BC – which is now on display on the floor of the lobby. There are bits of Roman pillars and other chunks of stone all over the hotel, as well as the vestiges of the Arab wall, fragments of Gothic arches and lots of decorative tiles.
There are 26 rooms, which are all different, a bar with a terrace and a good restaurant. It’s right in the centre of the city, near the cathedral, so you can walk to a lot of the sights and the shops. Rates start from around €130, and my room, called the Arab Tower, is around the €250 mark.