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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Explore Old Traditions Amid New Architecture in Valencia

A revamped waterfront and revisionist seafood dishes are defining Spain’s fastest-evolving, yet still bargain, city.


1. Where to Stay

The opium bed at La Casa Azul.  

Hotel Neptuno (from $125) is a sleek enhancement to the city’s new waterfront, restored in preparation for Valencia’s role as host of the America’s Cup last year. There’s a beachfront lounge, the cream lobby is presided over by a mural of Audrey Hepburn in bright-red lipstick, and a glass elevator ascends quietly to minimalist rooms.

Enjoy the same stretch of beach for fewer euros next door at the no-frills, well-scrubbed Hostal El Globo (from $62).

Curl up on an opium bed at the new, three-room La Casa Azul (from $200), run by local jeweler Vicente Gracia. The queen of Spain wears his antiques brooches and necklaces, and the rooms are designed with the same flair as his jewelry.

Published on Dec 18, 2008 as a web exclusive.

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