The third largest city of Spain, Valencia has the River Turia flowing on one side and the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea lapping at its other end. Starting of as a Roman settlement, the city has changed many hands in its 2000 plus years of existence. Valencia’s numerous historical and cultural attractions have made it one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations in recent years.
The festivity of the city’s patron St. Hose signals the start of the spring season. The cafes spill onto the street and the restaurants open their terraces. This is the best season to visit Valencia. Winter is mild, yet not amiable enough to enjoy the outdoors and summer drives up the temperature and the humidity.
With the Cathedral, the Torres de Serano, the Llotja de la Seda and the likes that speak of the city’s rich heritage on one side and the avant-garde City of Arts and Sciences on the other, Valencia’s skyline boasts of a wide spectrum of attractions. The art galleries and the vibrant festivals through the year add to the city’s charm.
History In The Making
The restoration and renovation of the Palace of the Marquis of Caro started in 2005. The breaking down and the building up went on for seven long years within the old mansion and it was only in 2012 that its doors were thrown open and the red carpet was rolled out to welcome the first guests at Caro Hotel.
A walk through the Hotel is a trip through Valencia’s past. Great care has been taken to preserve the little bits of history that were uncovered during restoration, and to integrate them into the current design of the Hotel. An ancient Roman mural, the old Arabic defense wall, Gothic arches, column bases are in perfect harmony with the contemporary design elements.
The guest rooms are categorised based on the purpose they served in the 19th century. The room called ‘The Palace Kitchen’ still has the stone steps that led to the larder. The room ‘Old Tower’ is in the erstwhile Arabic watchtower; the arches, leading to the tower are a part of the décor of the room.
The inclusion of some of the erstwhile architectural features of the original palace in the décor has brought in an element of drama to this independent boutique hotel. The design approach stands out in its endeavour to not replicate the historic elements, but instead to leave them to exist with the hotel’s new personality.
Around The World
Is it possible to see the London Eye, Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Sydney Opera House, and the Tokyo Skytree all in the span of one evening? Yes, it is, at the Mon Gastro bar of Valencia. This tapas bar cum fine dining venue is designed to appeal to citizens of the world.
Murals of the most iconic buildings from across the globe take up the wall space and extend all the way to the ceiling. A classic Chesterfield sofa, a chair made of recycled corrugated cardboard, leather bar stools and chairs from the 50’s all find their place and contribute to the restobar’s eclectic ambience.
The skyline that was once dominated by steeples, arches and spires underwent an alteration in 1998. A gigantic cement and glass structure, shaped like an eyelid, was unveiled to the citizens. It was the Hemisferic, the first building of the City of Science and Arts.
Over the next decade, more towering structures came up in the City that occupies a surface area of 350,000 square metres. Housing a science museum, an oceanographic aquarium, open-air art gallery, exhibition spaces, cinema, planetarium and many other spaces. The City has lived up to its role of a cultural entertainment centre and in a short span of time since its inception, become the most popular tourist attraction of Valencia.
Illustrations of children with fun call-outs greet the shopper at the entrance of Piccino, a boutique for children’s clothing in Valencia.
Butterflies in a burst of colours escape out of a painted birdcage and flit across the ceiling. Line drawings of vintage furniture serve as a backdrop for the shelves piled with clothes. Vivid-hued silhouettes of a clothes mannequin, scissors, mirrors and other tailoring accessories offset the monochromatic colour scheme.
The lines between reality and fantasy blur and the result is a picture perfect ambience that makes for a pleasing shopping experiece.
Text By Himali Kothari