In the historic centre of Valencia, the church of San Lorenzo seems to be leaning to one side, but unlike the good citizens of Pisa, the tourist authorities of Valencia haven’t managed to take advantage of this fact.
The church tower has in fact leant that way since an earthquake shook Valencia in 1822.
Perched at the very top of the church is a statue of the man himself, holding in his hand a griddle, which might seem to indicate that he was someone who enjoyed a nice barbecue, whereas in fact the utensil refers to his martyrdom, that of being roasted alive.
His real name was Saint Lawrence and he was from Huesca, although he was sentenced, imprisoned and then executed in three different place all called San Lorenzo, hence the confusion.
He is also believed to have whisked away the Holy Grail to Huesca, en route to Valencia where it now stands unchallenged.
Next to the church, not coincidentally, stands the Hotel San Lorenzo, a unique hotel in that it is not part of a chain but is simply owned by its Valencia owner and offers tasteful accomodation a stone’s throw from the Plaza de la Virgen and the cathedral where Lorenzon’s chalice can be viewed.
The moment you enter the hotel you are immediately struck (although not by an earthquake) but by the floors, which are made of of old fashioned mosaics from the original townhouse, which used to provide residence for visiting priests.
In reception you will enjoy the curves of the wrought iron stairs, and the receptionist can point out that the bicycle under the staircase is for hire, and the fridge around the corner offers a selection of wines that can be served in your room, as can breakfast, although the hotel doesn’t have a restaurant.
It does however have a garden at the back, which at the time of writing was being turned into a relaxing area away from the bustle of all the Holy Grail traffic outside.
Most of the clients at San Lorenzo are from Germany, Italy, Belgium, Britain, Holland and even Spain; and apart from the location, and the peaceful atmosphere that an old house with thick walls provides, the rooms themselves are much more interesting than the average hotel, with a variety of offer to satisfy the demand.
Of the 35 rooms, there are six with jacuzzi and three with French baths for those not ashamed to share their physique with their partners.
Three of the rooms have a kitchen included, and they all have courtesy tea making facilities and a mini bar available.
14 of the rooms have a sofa bed available for families, and all of them have street views on all 4 floors of the building, which is located in front of the Valencian parliament, and has been open since Fallas 2015.